We have made an intentional commitment to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in everything we do. In 2019, we designed our Strategic Framework with these three values in mind: Innovative | Inclusive | Collaborative. We seek and embrace the participation and perspective of people and communities that reflect who we are as a region. This is our journey, and we invite you to grow and learn with us.
Innovia Foundation serves a 20-county region and six tribal communities with a vision to support vibrant and sustainable communities where every person has the opportunity to thrive. At the center of this vision lies our commitment to DEI work that will expand opportunities and reduce inequities. We recognize that persistent and systemic disparities create visible fractures in our communities. We will work to bridge that divide. We approach our work to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with both humility and determination, recognizing that our practice of anti-racism efforts must speak louder than well-written statements.
Our journey to integrate DEI with community philanthropy began in 2017 when the board was faced with a donor advisor who made a grant recommendation to a 501 c (3) organization that is affiliated with white supremacy and white nationalism. The situation exposed the need to move beyond what had been common community foundation practice of simply processing donor wishes. To establish a new direction and implement necessary changes, the board sought out a new CEO who would be a strong leader and advocate for change in philanthropy. Shelly O’Quinn, a former Spokane County commissioner with a passion to bring people together for meaningful civic dialogue, was hired as the CEO of Innovia Foundation. She immediately set about creating an organizational culture and climate that elevates all voices. Her catalytic thinking and energetic spirit have allowed the Foundation not only to grow in assets but to also grow in ways that push the status quo of philanthropy. This new way of thinking set us on the path to begin a systematic transformation of the foundation that had served the community for nearly 50 years.
We adopted a new mission, vision and values that for the first time included diversity, equity and inclusion as stated priorities. We actively participated in shared trainings and retreats and facilitated conversation around racial justice and social inequities all of which continue today. In 2020, Innovia Foundation became one of only a handful among more than 800 community foundations across the country to adopt an anti-hate policy, providing the legal framework and clear proclamation that no funding will be directed to organizations that engage in hateful speech or activities.
Our hope at Innovia Foundation is that you will join us on this journey toward a more equitable and inclusive region where everyone can see themselves represented in the work we do together. Sometimes we stumble. But every time, we commit to picking ourselves back up, learning from our mistakes and moving forward.
Diversity is the inclusion within a community or organization where a variety of social and cultural characteristics and differences such as race, gender, ethnicity, personality, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, political perspective and more exist.
Equity, simply put, levels the playing field by promoting justice through practices that promote access, opportunity and fair treatment of all while working to identify and eliminate barriers within institutions or systems.
Inclusion ensures that everyone feels welcome and safe.
At Innovia Foundation we strive to weave DEI into the fabric of all of the work we do every day in our efforts to support vibrant and sustainable communities where every person has the opportunity to thrive.
Innovia Foundation will not make grants to organizations that Innovia knows or has reason to believe support or engage in hateful activities. Innovia will implement this policy through due diligence to ensure that hateful activities are identified, and steps are taken to avoid any Innovia support for them.
Hateful activities are defined to mean activities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. These activities are contrary to Innovia’s mission and its charitable purpose. Innovia Foundation relies on data crosschecked from various sources to determine if a nonprofit falls into one of these categories.
Our commitment is reflected in our actions and activities. Early on in this journey, it became clear that meaningful change is not the result of simply adopting a new policy. In order to do this work authentically, we knew we had to increase our cultural competency within our staff, board and volunteers. Visit the links below for just a few examples of steps along the way: