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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Nonprofit Sector

As a proponent of continuous learning, San Diego Social Venture Partners has been seeking ways to increase our impact while approaching the root causes of the needs in our community. As a nonprofit organization, we recognize the importance of understanding the populations we aim to serve. As a funding organization, we take responsibility for being sensitive to power dynamics, a practice that we encapsulate in one of our core values, trust. Social Venture Partners International recently shared this article to help "executives and board members who say they are ready to work on diversity and want to know how to get started." The SDSVP Partnership is in the process of understanding and incorporating the important issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in nonprofit work.

To make sure that we are all using the same vocabulary, here are some key definitions and distinctions between these concepts:

Diversity: the ways in which people are different, encompassing characteristics that make individuals or groups different from one another; often refers to race or ethnicity, but also includes age, socioeconomic status, disability, education, national origin, religion, marital status, perspectives, and values.

Equality: the same treatment for everyone, regardless of their differences in background or need; aims to promote fairness, but can only work if everyone is starting from the same place with the same resources available to them.

Equity: the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people; uses an understanding of outcome disparities to adjust policy, procedure, and distribution of resources in order to eliminate barriers that have prevented full participation of disadvantaged groups; understands that different groups require different things in order to accomplish fairness

Inclusion: the act of creating environments in which any group or individual can be welcomed, respected, and empowered to fully participate

All of these concepts work hand-in-hand when aiming to address the needs of our community, but that does not necessarily mean that if a group makes an effort to change, others will follow. To put these concepts into practice, it may take difficult conversations and slow integration in correlation with one's own values. Nonprofits, including SDSVP, must re-examine their own practices, without assuming compliance, to begin approaching the root causes behind the needs we are addressing. San Diego Social Venture Partners is eager to learn more about these topics, and we hope you are too. Below are some resources to begin your personal learning:

Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter by Independent Sector (click here) Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter for Nonprofits on National Council of Nonprofits (click here)

Practical Ideas for Improving Equity and Inclusion at Nonprofits on Stanford Social Innovation Review (click here)

Diversity and Inclusion: Essential to All Non-Profits by Anika Rahman on Huffpost (click here) Nonprofit Boards Still Not Diverse, Report Finds on Philanthropy News Digest (click here) Beyond Political Correctness: Building a Diverse and Inclusive Board by Vernetta Walker on Board Source (click here) Vital Voices: Lessons Learned from Board Members of Color on Board Source (click here) 8 Ways People of Color are Tokenized in Nonprofits by Helen Kim Ho on Medium (click here) How Board Members Can Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Foundations on Philanthropy Network (click here)

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