Beyond Race and Ethnicity: Organizational Culture, Board of Directors, and Personnel
It can be challenging to assess organizational culture from multiple viewpoints unless you already have an especially diverse organization. In order to get a handle on how diverse communities respond to your organization's written materials, language, and physical environment, it might be worthwhile to host a conversation with people from different groups. Begin by providing them with samples of your publications, then ask them to drop by your facility and assess how they felt when they visited; or take them on a tour of your facility, then ask them to respond to some basic questions. For example, ask questions such as "Do you see your community reflected in our materials?" "Does the language we are using resonate with you?" "How do you feel when you enter the facility?" Bringing people from various groups together, such as from different age groups, disabilities and abilities, and sexual orientations, for this dialogue may be very illuminating, as you should be able to see how different groups can respond to the same stimulus quite differently.
Board of Directors
The rationale for expanding a board of directors to be more inclusive of people of color can be expanded if you are focusing on multiple identity groups. For example, having other diverse populations on your board of directors can help ensure that your organization develops policies and programs with awareness of the needs and assets of other diverse communities. It can also open up more opportunities for strategic partnerships and it can create additional openings to develop relationships with prospective donors. Before proceeding, give some thought to other ways that creating a more diverse and inclusive board of directors could help your organization.
In the late 1990s the federal government estimated that the cost of sexual harassment lawsuits to federal government agencies was approximately $133 million per year. Additional harassment-related lawsuits related to age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability are also costly. (See Bibliography: Cox)