FISCAL YEAR 2021 JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION (JEDI) GOALS

FISCAL YEAR 2021

JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION (JEDI) PRIORITIES

Fiscal year 2021 (July 2020 - June 2021) JEDI Priorities

While our JEDI work shows up throughout IslandWood in a variety of ways and each department has it’s own specific work and initiatives, we identified three organization-wide goals to focus on for this fiscal year. They are below:

 

#1 Develop and launch a staff JEDI training program.

 

#2 Ensure those we serve are stakeholders in the assessment of our JEDI work.

 

#3 Ensure JEDI culture is supported consistently across the organization.

Priority #1:
Develop and launch a staff JEDI training program.

This goal builds on work we’ve had in progress for several years now. In fiscal year 2018, we identified that teams that were effectively reducing bias and advancing equitable practices were led by directors and senior leaders who were prioritizing JEDI work for themselves and their teams. We understood that for this work to consistently be integrated throughout the entire organization, we needed to ensure our leadership team had a shared understanding and commitment to equity work. As a result, in fiscal year 2019, we held two half-day equity trainings led by Fleur Larson Facilitation for staff on our leadership team, as well as all staff in managerial or supervisory roles. In this fiscal year, to build on that shared understanding, we set out to expand JEDI training to all staff in the organization. We know that for IslandWood to truly be an anti-racist organization, it’s critical we provide these opportunities for everyone working at, and on behalf, of IslandWood.

Following an anonymous all-staff JEDI survey giving employees the opportunity to assess our progress against our JEDI vision, along with our commitment to providing a workplace that is safe for BIPOC employees, we identified microaggressions in the workplace as the first topic for all-staff training.

All staff participated in a series of training sessions focused on microaggressions. The series included several short videos selected by our staff-run JEDI Council that were watched and then discussed during departmental team meetings; an online training program through Traliant; and remote workshops dually led by external BIPOC and non-BIPOC facilitators Andrea Paull and Fleur Larson. In addition, we have been including board members in facilitated JEDI discussions with our leadership team.

This quarter, we planned a training series focused on unconscious bias that will happen in Q4. The series will include several short videos selected by our staff-run JEDI Council; an online training program through Traliant; and remote workshops dually led by external BIPOC and white facilitators Andrea Paull and Fleur Larson. In addition, we have been including board members in facilitated JEDI discussions with our leadership team.

This quarter, all staff participated in a training series focused on unconscious bias. The series included several short videos selected by our staff-run JEDI Council and an online training program through Traliant. While we had planned to host a remote workshop on unconscious bias led by external facilitators, we weren’t able to complete that portion of the series this quarter and will be looking to host that workshop at the beginning of Q1 fiscal year 2022 (July – September 2022).

Priority #2:
Ensure those we serve are stakeholders in the assessment of our JEDI work.

While within the organization we are working to continually assess our JEDI progress, we know that without authentic feedback from people that participate in our programs, we run the risk of blind spots, areas where good intentions may have resulted in negative impact, and potential bias on where and how we need to continue to push ourselves to grow and improve.

This quarter we designed a survey to engage a variety of community stakeholders in providing feedback and an assessment of our JEDI efforts. Stakeholders included alumni from our graduate program, school teachers, conference and wedding guests, docents, and donors.

The community stakeholder survey was sent in October and received 55 participant responses. Our key learnings and takeaways include the following:

  • 50% of respondents were aware of changes IslandWood had been making to prioritize JEDI in our work.
  • 88% of respondents felt that staff demonstrated racial sensitivity during the program they participated in and that the program was inclusive for all participants.
  • 95% of respondents felt communications such as emails, social media, printed pieces, and the IslandWood website were respectful of all audiences and 87% found the communications culturally responsive.
  • In addition, consistent themes from respondent comments included:
    • A desire to have more specific information and examples of how JEDI is informing programs, policies, and decisions at IslandWood. Respondents noted that the information we shared about how we’ve changed our hiring practices was helpful in its clarity and tangible examples.
    • An awareness that IslandWood has been working to increase hiring of BIPOC staff at all levels of the organization and the strong desire to see this continue.
    • Encouragement to continue to engage with community partners.
    • Hope that our JEDI efforts are sincere and lasting and not just a part of a current wave of racial awareness.
    • Recognition that this is hard work for the organization, particularly in admitting past harm and mistakes, and encouragement to continue being transparent and holding ourselves accountable.
  • Some respondents noted that as a white person, they weren’t sure they could truly speak to whether our programs and communications felt respectful and inclusive of all audiences. In future engagement and surveys, we recognize we need to ask respondents if they’d share their race so that we’re able to analyze answers to questions and any differences in those answers, by race.

This quarter, in response to feedback from the community survey, we began working on documenting and sharing tangible examples of how JEDI is showing up across the organization in a variety of departments. We worked to clearly outline how we’ve incorporated JEDI into our policies, instruction, curriculum, and more. While we had planned to share this information out by the end of this quarter, we realized what a critical, but lengthy process this was and didn’t reach our goal of sharing by the end of the quarter. We plan to share this work by the end of Quarter 4.

This quarter, in response to feedback from a community survey in the fall 0f 2020, we shared tangible examples of how JEDI is showing up across the organization in a variety of departments. We worked to clearly outline how we’ve incorporated JEDI into our policies, instruction, curriculum, and more. You can find that work here. 

Priority #3:
Ensure JEDI culture is supported consistently throughout the organization.

JEDI work at IslandWood has been happening for many years, led and carried by individual staff members. But it was often siloed within particular teams and small groups. In committing to ensuring that justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are at the forefront of our work, we recognized that the commitment to JEDI could not be held only by individual staff, but needed to held by, and supported consistently, throughout the entire organization.

It became apparent that we needed more organization-wide communication, understanding, and alignment on our JEDI commitments, goals, and the next steps we believed it would take to make progress toward our goals. In this quarter, we assessed where the gaps in staff communication were and developed plans to help ensure all staff would be working with the same understanding of IslandWood’s JEDI commitments and next steps.

This quarter we began to share organization-wide communication to all staff about our JEDI goals and work in multiple ways.

  • JEDI is now a separate agenda item at every monthly all-staff meeting.
  • Notes from our weekly leadership team meeting are emailed to all staff.
  • A leadership team newsletter that outlines, by department, key work and JEDI initiatives, will be sent to staff each quarter. Our first leadership newsletter was sent in October.

This is a work in progress that continues to evolve as we hear staff feedback about what’s working well and what needs improvement.

For many years, IslandWood has been an advocate for public policy solutions that advance environmental education. As we’ve committed to a JEDI lens throughout all our work, we’ve realized we need clarity and guardrails to help us make advocacy decisions around a variety of JEDI issues. This quarter we assembled a task force of staff and board members to create a decision-making lens for JEDI advocacy and public policy work.

This quarter, with a task force assembled by both staff and board members, we created clear guardrails to help us make decisions about advocacy and issues that IslandWood will take a public stance on. Our framework considered questions such as:

  • Does this issue or topic move the field of environmental education forward?
  • Does this issue or topic move our mission forward?
  • Does it align with our values?
  • Does it advance our Theory of Change?
  • What is the risk of acting?
  • What is the risk of not acting?

The work of the task force made clear that IslandWood will actively engage and publicly advocate for issues at the intersection of education, the environment, and social justice.