In response to the racial injustices and calls in the field of philanthropy for foundations to hold themselves more accountable by putting into practice their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the DeKalb County Community Foundation created a DEI Roadmap in the summer of 2020.
“Taking an honest and comprehensive look in the mirror first has been our approach,” said Dan Templin, Community Foundation Executive Director. “We talked at length about whether we should make a public statement that summer about our commitment to DEI, but ultimately decided we needed to first do the work to focus on our actions in terms of our policies, procedures, and decisions as an organization and then communicate concrete actions we have taken. The goal of the roadmap is for the Foundation to be a more effective organization that practices diversity, equity, and inclusion in fulfilling its mission and services.”
The Foundation Board members, staff, and volunteers explored ways to improve ourselves through various standing and advisory committees. We learned that working through the roadmap is a long-term process.
The following are outcomes and key topics of focus to date:
Adopted compelling definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organization so we work from a common understanding of what we strive to achieve.
Each Foundation committee will continue to keep elements of the roadmap on their agendas and document action associated with such improvement.
Working with community partners and donors, the following outcomes have been achieved to date:
Promise Grants Enhancements – With a boost from the Howard & Mildred Eychaner Fund, the Promise Grants Committee grantmaking budget increased to a total of $10,000 annually. Grants were recently awarded to eleven organizations after receiving an unprecedented 16 applications totaling over $41,000 in funding requests. The committee is also being empowered to consider crafting a new strategy to implement the purpose of this grassroots grant program, which is to award grants to charitable organizations that build belonging and empower people in DeKalb County who are marginalized and labeled as ‘other’.
Learn more about Promise Grants >
“What an exciting and challenging time to be Board President,” said Joe Mitchell, Community Foundation Board President. “As a long-time member of this community and an African-American man, I was humbled by the Foundation’s willingness to engage in tough conversations, readiness to review our policies, and the tweaks we made to the Foundation’s mission statement and principles. Our DEI commitment is fluid, meaning it will continue to evolve. Needless to say, I’m delighted by the direction of the Foundation and what lays ahead for our philanthropic efforts.”
One of the best ways to financially partner with the Foundation is to help us grow The Promise Fund – El Fondo de La Promesa, a permanently endowed Field of Interest Fund at the Community Foundation. Donations can be made online or by mail to the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. For questions or to start your own charitable Fund that strengthens a culture of belonging in DeKalb County, please contact Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Donate to The Promise Fund – El Fondo de la Promesa >