Springfield Foundation formalizes commitment to diversity, inclusion

The Springfield Foundation has recently established a diversity statement, affirming its commitment and will require the same for nonprofit organizations it awards grants.

It is part of a larger effort by the foundation to place more emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. Representatives of the foundation said that the statement can serve as a base for future changes centered around those concepts.

“We felt that you can’t really go anywhere unless you have a statement internally stating what you are trying to accomplish,” said Ted Vander Roest, the foundation’s executive director.

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Vander Roest said that it was a concept that the foundation has been working on for several years. He said after sending it out to multiple community organizations as well as receiving feedback, the statement was approved by its board of directors last week.

The statement addresses the different forms of diversity and defines the concept as something encompassing all the differences that people bring to the conversation.

“The Springfield Foundation is committed to an active and ongoing process which affirms human diversity in its many forms,” a portion of the statement said.

In July, the foundation announced that it would be making changes to its grant process, making sure it reflects fairness and equity.

The Springfield Foundation’s mission is to, “improve quality of life for all residents of Clark County,” according to their website. The foundation awards grants and donations to a number of organizations in the county. It also provides scholarships to local students.

Vander Roest said they award roughly $3 million to $4 million in those grants and scholarships per year.

He said moving forward, the foundation would like to provide more diversity training for its organization as well as share that opportunity with the nonprofits it works with.

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Vander Roest said that the foundation in the past has made efforts to make sure it has diverse voices on its board. He said they want to encourage the nonprofits that they work with to do the same.

In terms of future diversity efforts, he said that they want to leave those options open. He said some could center on equity, including offering more internship opportunities for minority community members.

“Equity is about promoting justice, fairness and respect. Different from equality which allows for everything to be the same regardless of need, equity allows for things to be different depending on need. Equity leads to equality,” according to a portion of the foundation’s diversity statement.

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