JEDI in our Communications Department


In 2017, through a review with the University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity and feedback sessions with IslandWood graduate students, it became clear that our communications were full of tokenism, saviorism, and we were perpetuating negative stereotypes. While our intentions may have been positive, the actual impact was not. We were causing harm to the very people we were seeking to serve. With this clarity, our communications team set out to change the course of our marketing, accurately representing, both in words and visuals, who our work seeks to serve, and why 


Our communications team works to respectfully, authentically, and transparently communicate about IslandWood’s work, our impact, and with each of the various groups that we serve. Some of the changes we’ve made since 2017 include: 

  • Creation of Inclusive Communication Guidelines 
  • Leading other internal departments through Inclusive Communication Guidelines 
  • Transparency on our website about our JEDI work, goals, and progress toward our goals 
  • Sharing the work of BIPOC environmental education leaders & organizations  
  • Sharing anti-racist resources  
  • Closed captioning of all videos on our website for people who are hearing impaired 
  • Photo descriptions on all images on our website and social media posts for those that are blind or visually impaired 
  • Addition of personal pronouns in staff bios on our website  
  • Acknowledging the Indigenous Nations our programs take place on, both on our website, and on our social media  
  • Increased visual representation of LGBTQ+ couples in our wedding communications 
  • Publishing staff and board demographics 
  • Revision of our campus trail map to more visibly highlight ADA accessibility  
  • Information about ADA accessibility listed for each community event open to the public  
  • Continued education via workshops, reading, community feedback surveys, and conversations with other staff 
  • Policies to compensate people for assets they create, that in turn, we use for communications or marketing purposes, such as photos or blog posts by graduate students  
  • Following a previously identified growth area, we now purposefully reach out to BIPOC vendors (content creators, consultants, photographers, etc.) when we have a need for external communications partners. In 2021, we had identified that while the communications team worked with many external partners, we had not been consciously seeking out BIPOC partners and had almost exclusively been working with white partners. We have been thrilled to work with many talented BIPOC partners in 2022!


We have been working hard over the past few years to build our capacity to create authentic communications about IslandWood’s work, our programs, and our need for fundraising that are founded in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles.


We feel that our current work has come very far from our past mistakes of tokenizing, over-representing people of color, and perpetuating negative stereotypes and saviorism. That said, we realize that bias is real and often you can’t see what you can’t see.


It is one of our fiscal year 2023 goals to have an external audit of our communications done with a particular lens for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.