How do CDFIs Organize their DEI initiatives?
How do CDFIs organize and make progress on their diversity, equity and inclusion initiaves? FUND Community Institute’s recently released report, Advancing Equity: Diversity and Inclusion at CDFIs (available at www.fundci.org ) suggests that one of the key drivers of this work is the formation and implementation of inclusive teams.
While most CDFIs leading in this area have some form of teams supporting this work, there are many differences in how these teams are structured.
- In terms of nomenclature, they might be called teams, groups, committees, etc. Other terms might be racial, equity, affinity, cultural, diversity, etc.
- The groups might be volunteer or assigned as part of job responsibilities.
- The leadership of the team could be at the Board level, management level, or staff level.
- Agendas and activities may be informal or formal or both however, the majority tends to include some formal elements.
Here are some CDFI staff describing teams in their own words:
“So that team is made up of myself, another employee who’s been with the organization about three years and then a newer employee who’s been here just over a year and so, we all work in different offices. You know, that team is kind of composed of different levels and tenures within the organization, because I really want to make sure when these ever get built out and after I’m gone, you know, there’s hopefully someone here who can continue to carry on that work and there’s systems in place that make sure that that’s just part of the fabric of our organization.”
“We have, I refer to it as an “Affinity Group”. It’s a volunteer group, some organizations, I know, have something very similar. Our group is called IDEA, which stands for Inclusion Diversity Equity and Awareness. And this is a committee of 5 to 10 staff. We strive to be able to represent all three of our offices, which in the current composition of this committee we have accomplished. We also try to represent at least three departments of the organization, we’ve also accomplished that.”
“We have a culture committee with representation from every department within the company, every location, different tenures. It’s kind of to gather feedback, and to promote our values. We also have a Values in Action award program that we started about six months ago. So each month, we highlight one of our six values, and we have employees kind of vote for coworkers, how are they representing and reflecting that particular value that month? And they’re presented with an award at the staff meeting each month.”
“we do have a sub-committee on our board called the Governance and Nomination Compensation Committee and they are focused on board recruitment that is diverse.”
“We established what we call EDITT, which is an acronym for equity, diversity, and inclusion transition team. So that team is a cross-function, cross-regional initiative and the participants are from all levels within the organization. It’s a non-hierarchical structure. And the idea is to… we’re at the very beginning stages of the work which is developing an institutional audit. Going through department by department, just to see where the effects of systemic racism have played out in our organization over time from the internal perspective as well as the external perspective.”
While there are many types of teams advancing the DEI work across the industry, there is significant agreement that an important driver is inclusive teams. Do you have teams supporting DEI initiatives at your CDFI?
FUND Community Institute (FUND CI)
FUND CI was founded in 2017 as part of the family of FUND Consulting organizations. In an effort to support the CDFI Industry, one of the main activities of the organization is to conduct and disseminate research on CDFIs and related topics. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.