Be a Problem-Solver: On a Journey of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By Jinny Jeong Associate Manager, Company Services, CECP

Ask yourself: how are you contributing to solving today’s problem? It could be something small, specific to just today, or conceptual and large with a longer time frame. While the answer may sometimes be elusive, CECP is proud to have been a trusted advisor to leading companies for over two decades, helping share best practices and insights to tackle society’s challenging problems. In the past few years, CECP has been advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices for, and with, our companies. We know the timing is right, as more and more companies are stepping up with bold, public-facing commitments to support employees, communities, and a range of stakeholders vis-à-vis the Business Roundtable Statement, Sustainable Development Goals, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, amongst the many other initiatives.

CECP has taken a global stage (in this specific case, in Israel) to advance the business case for a diverse and inclusive company, and released a research paper identifying actionable steps that can help corporate societal engagement professionals harness the intersection of diversity and inclusion in their work. The CECP team stays apprised of trends and company examples and focuses on the way diversity and inclusion impacts specific sectors such as tech. As previously noted, CECP has also been focusing on advancing equity through organizational culture and strategy.

In partnership with subject matter expert and consultant Jeannine K. Brown, CECP has launched its second year of an Accelerate Community— a closed group of companies opting in for a series of intimate and honest conversations— related to Diversity and Inclusion, though this year’s community has a particular focus on Equity. Already halfway through the year, the community has been learning and discussing the components of equity and how it can be incorporated into the work of corporate societal engagement, answering questions such as: what it is equity?; how does it impact the business world?; and how can funders consider the role of equity in their grantmaking and philanthropy?

Importantly, the discussion has been focused on why and how funders must look at philanthropy as a way to solve problems, rather than providing funds to support people facing these problems.

The biggest takeaways thus far have stemmed from discussions around how to identify and apply an equity framework – a proactive, strategic approach to improving outcomes that accounts for structural differences in opportunities, burdens, and needs to advance targeted solutions that fulfill the promise of true equality for all[1].

We’ve had guest speakers such as the Nonprofit Finance Fund, who challenged funders to think twice about the type of reporting they are asking for from their grantees – after all, organizations with the smallest budgets sometimes have the largest impact, but can be discounted and overlooked due to their limited resources. Applying different criteria for different grantees – the opposite of a color-blind financial analysis— is an example of applying an equity framework that can benefit all.

We’ve heard from leading companies such as 3M, who shared the work they do to ensure their corporate giving and partnerships are aligned with their corporate giving and focus in STEM. For example, they work to support non-tenured faculty of color in universities due to the underrepresentation of teachers of color and diversity at that level, let alone in the field of STEM.

The community has two more large topics to discuss as a group in this second year– how can we recruit and hire a diverse pipeline and identifying the right metrics and key performance indicators to understand where companies are in their DEI journey. We will be hearing from the National Organization on Disability on innovative disability employment solutions to meet companies’ workforce needs, as well as from other companies on what is being measured, tracked, and reported as it pertains to their DEI work.

And so, ask yourself: how can and are you solving today’s problems? Whether it is through the participation in an Accelerate Community, networking with peers at a CECP convening, or through a custom insights request, CECP is here to partner with you as your ongoing, trusted advisor.

 

 

[1] Source: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. “Power Moves: Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justice.”

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