Introducing LIFT’s Diversity Initiative and Launching Our Cultural Audit
Last fall, LIFT kicked off an intensive diversity initiative to make diversity a core value and central part of our organizational culture. As part of this initiative, a cross-section of LIFT’s national office staff and Board of Directors developed a diversity statement that we feel embodies our core beliefs about why we value diversity and inclusion.
“At LIFT, our approach to achieving our mission is collaborative. Staff, clients, student leaders, and partners work together to find solutions to the complicated issue of poverty in our country. We believe that diversity in all dimensions of the organization supports and bolsters the innovative thinking essential to LIFT’s success.
To us, “diversity” is defined as the full participation, inclusion, engagement and empowerment of individuals from different races, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, national origins, socio-economic backgrounds, ages, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, ideologies, and other attributes that make each of us unique. We work mindfully and deliberately to create a culturally competent workplace to support the work we do as a team and as a model of the inclusive, equitable society that we strive to achieve.”
We see this statement as our “guiding light” for our diversity work, as it tells us why we believe this work is important. We encourage you to take a few minutes to read this statement and reflect on what it means to you.
Launching LIFT’s Cultural Audit
Furthermore, we are excited to announce the launch of the next major phase of this diversity work—an organization-wide cultural audit. The goal of this audit is to determine what the culture currently looks like at LIFT in regards to diversity and inclusion, so that we can use this information to create structures and systems which ensure our diversity statement is made a reality. Diversity consultant Leslie Traub, from the DC-based firm Cook Ross, has guided us throughout the development and now implementation of this audit. To conduct this audit, we’ve brought on Yetunde Afolabi, a doctoral student in sociology at UPenn, with the expectation that someone from outside of LIFT bring an objective lens to this process.
The audit will include both an online survey and a number of interviews and focus groups which Ms. Afolabi will be conducting with returning volunteers, Site Coordinators, National Office Staff, and Board Members. Once Ms. Afolabi completes the audit, she will create a detailed report to help us assess how well LIFT’s culture aligns with its diversity and inclusion values. We see this entire process as a major step towards LIFT more fully embodying its values of diversity and inclusion, and plan to keep you updated on our progress periodically through our website and social media outlets.
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