Valley Community Foundation Releases Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Landscape Report
DERBY, CT (August 24, 2021) – The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) recently released a report on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Landscape of the Valley. The findings, which are available at www.valleyfoundation.org, include a compilation of the comments and perceptions of 32 Valley stakeholders who were each surveyed during spring of 2021. While only scratching the surface on the topic, the data will be used as a starting point for future Board discussions about where VCF’s work on DE&I issues should be directed, what priorities to fund, and where to provide capacity building assistance.
Sharon Closius, VCF President & CEO, said, “We have embarked on a listening journey because the more that we know about the Valley’s needs and opportunities, the better we will be able to work with our community partners to nurture an equitable and inclusive Valley. The VCF Board of Directors is committed to supporting difficult but necessary conversations and examining what strategies can be implemented in our community.”
The VCF Board is exploring how a DE&I lens could impact the Foundation’s work and its role in the Valley region. As part of its five-year strategic plan (2019-2023), one of VCF’s goals is to build a DE&I awareness and education plan for Board, staff, and nonprofit organizations serving the Valley. With all of the disparities that became evident during the pandemic, as well as the unrest following George Floyd’s death, this meaningful work has served as both an internal and external focus for VCF.
VCF is coordinating efforts in 2021 and beyond with its partner The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF) in a commitment called Stepping Forward to help the Valley recover from COVID-19 and to expand equitable opportunities. An integrated plan is evolving as community needs change in response to the changing dynamics of COVID-19 and racial equity. Strategies are being created to help close existing equity gaps by being more inclusive of people of color and individuals from other under-represented groups.
To further operationalize this work, VCF sought the assistance of consultant, Kristen Runk, to survey the landscape of DE&I efforts in the Lower Naugatuck Valley. This work included but has not been limited to determining what is currently underway, who is involved, and what plans for the future might entail. The data was collected by surveying local community leaders about their awareness of DE&I issues, reviewing areas of common ground, and identifying gaps in knowledge and awareness as well as determining what work needs to be done to address these gaps.
About The Valley Community Foundation
Established in 2004, the Valley Community Foundation distributes over $1.9 million in grants each year to support the local nonprofit sector and the people it serves. In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (TCF), to promote philanthropy in Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton and receives funding from The Gates Fund and other preference funds at TCF that benefit the Valley. For more information, visit www.valleyfoundation.org.