In 1990, a group of Boston-area funders established the Diversity Initiative. The program, today called the Inclusion Initiative, provides technical assistance and funding to Greater Boston nonprofits committed to increasing their capacity to meet their mission more effectively through:
- Greater racial, ethnic and cultural diversity within their staff and boards
- Inclusion of diverse perspectives reflected in the development of programs and delivery of services
- Affecting shifts in their institutional cultures through strategic planning and application of inclusive practices
In 2001, the program became part of Third Sector New England. Today, more than 100 organizations have received more than 1.5 million dollars in grant support from the Inclusion Initiative. Countless others have benefited from the program’s work with grant recipients to document the personal and institutional knowledge gained through diversity work as evidenced in 4 formal program evaluations.
Since the first diversity grants were given, the program has held collaborative learning as a core value. Fundamental to the work of the diversity and inclusion is an acknowledgement that as in society, institutional racism exists within non-profit organizations.
Organizations can be transformed to be more reflective of the populations being served racially and ethnically. They can develop a greater respect for and appreciation of cultural, gender, ability, class, religious and orientation differences.
When this is the case, organizations expand their capacities to reach out to their communities in authentic ways that embrace difference. This kind of skill development is capacity building that enables non-profit organizations to retain relevance and effectiveness.
Inclusion Initiative grantees identified significant benefits to the process of becoming more diverse and inclusive such as strengthened communication skills, a more stimulating work environment, and enhanced programs and services. There was a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for individual staff and board members, and for the organization as a whole.
Learn more about the Inclusion Initiative.