Commitment to Equity



We recognize that achieving a healthy, sustainable environment requires the participation and engagement of all people and that all people deserve a healthy, sustainable environment. Because of this, we are focused on advancing educational approaches that increase collective understanding and stewardship of the environment and that empower action that leads to greater environmental health, a sustainable future, and social and ecological well being for all.


To do our work effectively, our programs and actions must be relevant, responsive, and accountable to the places and people we serve. This requires humility and an authentic commitment to our own continual learning and growth as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also calls for us to acknowledge and address the different ways that people and communities are affected by systemic inequities.


Our staff and board have made the following commitments:

  • Ensure culturally responsive and inclusive practices across our organization, including in our programs, services, and policies.
  • Provide equitable access to our programs, to employment opportunities within our organization, and to vendor and contract opportunities.
  • Promote equity in our organization and field.
  • Serve students and prepare educators who reflect the socioeconomic and cultural diversity of the region/s in which we operate.
  • Be an authentic community partner and
  • Be a learning organization.


The pace of progress towards being an inclusive organization is accelerating at IslandWood. Our plan for fiscal year 2019 includes the following five organization-wide goals for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Being able to articulate why equity work is a strategic imperative for achieving our mission is a critical next step for us. This effort is underway now and should be ready to share publicly in the Spring 2019.

Recognizing the abundance of resources already in existence to support organizations like ours, our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Council recommended Awake to Woke to Work for adoption. This toolkit is designed to help nonprofits build a race equity culture. Our Leadership Team will now undertake the work of adapting the toolkit to IslandWood.

Since 2015, all teams at IslandWood have completed annual Cultural Capacity Professional Growth Plans. While this process has led to growth, it has largely been completed in isolation from operational goal setting. By integrating equity goals with operational goals, we will build in greater accountability.

We’ve noticed that the teams that are effectively reducing bias and advancing equitable practices are led by directors and senior leaders who are prioritizing this work for themselves and their teams. We want to ensure our leadership team has a shared understanding and commitment to equity work, and that they are on personal journeys to examine their biases, assumptions, and role in systems of inequity and oppression.

Like many nonprofits who are trying to get a lot done with limited resources, our hiring practices are largely decentralized. Because of this, it’s possible that equity is a focus for one position, while not for another. This year we will establish norms that will include changes to the recruitment, interview, selection, and onboarding processes to ensure equity is operationalized throughout and across all teams.


IslandWood’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (JEDI) Council is a staff committee that focuses on the advancement of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the organization. The Council supports and advises leadership, teams, and staff members in operationalizing DEI work at IslandWood.

IslandWood’s JEDI Council was formed in 2007 by 15 staff members to focus on recruiting staff that better reflect the communities that our organization serves, and to break the cycle of exclusion that is so prevalent in the environmental and education fields. Throughout the last decade, the Council’s advocacy and action have led to professional growth for staff and teams and the creation of culturally responsive and inclusive policies and processes.

The Council offers expertise and insight critical to supporting the progress of DEI priorities at IslandWood. This includes resource finding and sharing, informal training/gatherings, responsive brown bag lunches, and overall guidance/problem-solving on issues relevant to operationalizing DEI work at IslandWood.


IslandWood does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all guests, students, members of staff, clients, volunteers, and vendors.

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IslandWood needs to be here for our region’s children, educators, and community.