Injustice is not a new issue, and as we navigate through these disturbing times in our society, we know we have to work harder as an organization to reflect the rich diversity of the region we serve. For nearly 50 years, The Conservation Foundation has been committed to preserving open space and to the belief that everyone deserves to have equal access to Nature and its remarkable healing powers. We are elevating our efforts regarding inclusion and diversity in all of its forms, and we stand against racism and discrimination of any kind.
In June 2018, our Board of Trustees approved the following as a priority in our organization:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Goal
The Conservation Foundation will strive to be diverse, equitable and inclusive throughout the organization in order to stay relevant, effective, open to new and different perspectives, sensitive to the needs of the communities we serve, and able to develop and remain leaders in conservation into the future.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness, knowledge, skills, and practices are nurtured and demonstrated through a range of enhanced practices and learning opportunities.
Actions to date:
- We hired two Latinx student interns who worked with us for more than a year. One helped rewrite some of our brochures in Spanish.
- We are working toward more generational diversity in our staff and have recently hired several early careerists to complement the current team.
- We have reviewed our hiring practices and we have reached out to diverse communities and their networks to try to attract diverse applicants.
Diverse Leadership Development
- We have been implementing youth education programs in culturally diverse and under-served communities for more than 20 years.
- We have created a young Next Generation Advisory Council to help develop future leadership and attract younger, more diverse people to TCF.
- We have created a young staff Leadership Council to develop leadership skills and training early in their careers.
- For years, children from diverse communities have been visiting our McDonald Farm in Naperville to see a real farm and learn about how food is grown.
- We are consulting with the Midwest SOARRING Foundation, a local Native American organization, to ensure our preservation and interpretation efforts at Dayton Bluffs Preserve are respectful of their beliefs and aligned with their cultural values.
- We are participating in Aurora’s Farmers Market where customers will be able to receive double their SNAP benefits at our GEH stand, and selling organic vegetable plants at a discount to Aurora residents at the Fox Valley Park District’s community center.
Diversity on Our Board of Trustees
- Our Board of Trustees is committed to increasing diversity on our board. We recently added two people of color (one a veteran) to our board and two to our Advisory Council.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is discussed at each staff and board meeting.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Awareness and Training
- We have created a DEI Authentic Actions Committee comprised of staff and board members, ad have conducted board/staff surveys. A draft plan was completed in April 2021 (will be finalized June 2021).
- Both staff and board participate in diversity and inclusion training to help us better understand our cultural biases and mange those better.
- Staff participate in regularly scheduled and facilitated conversations around various DEI topics to help create more awareness and self-reflection.
- A DEI Resource Folder has been created in Teams so staff can continue reading, watching and learning.
Strong, healthy and vibrant communities are places where people feel valued and have a sense of belonging. Through the lens of DEI, we want to foster a culture of community at TCF where everyone feels they belong; where everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole authentic selves.
This diagram explains the core elements of DEI and shows the power of where all three intersect- BELONGING.
We know we need to do more, and we will. We want to hear from members of our communities about how we can continue to improve. Please feel free to email us at email@example.com with your ideas!