Over the summer, the Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) collaborated with CommonHealth ACTION (CHA) to host focus groups with HIF grantees as part of our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) assessment. We had originally hoped to launch this in the spring, but the COVID pandemic derailed these plans and we felt it imperative that we wait until our valued community partners could breathe and fully engage.
As summer fell upon us recovery remained out of sight and the disproportionate impact of the crisis on our black and brown residents was abundantly clear further exemplifying the structural inequities already present in our community. HIF knew that before we could move forward with our fiscal year 2021 funding, we needed to hear from our community partners and decided to forge ahead virtually with the EDI work. We thank and extend our gratitude to the (17) seventeen nonprofits that gave of their time this summer and are excited to share what we learned and how we are responding to the assessment.
EDI Strengths Identified by Partners:
- Supports nonprofits and their missions.
- Offers capacity building, provides guidance, support, understanding, and listens to objectives and plans.
- Furthers EDI work and directs investments to historically underinvested communities.
- Offers and funds learning opportunities including EDI trainings and webinars.
- Supports partnerships, innovation, and collaboration.
- Believes in the power of community supported convenings to give voice to challenges and solutions.
EDI Opportunities Identified by Partners:
- Provide greater opportunities for grantees to share their perspectives during decision-making processes.
- Data deadlines and reporting requirements are too demanding.
- Sustainability policies negatively impact organizations who offer free programs and services.
- General operating support is needed and the restricted funding prevents nonprofits from adapting and responding to the community.
- Greater focus needs to be placed on cross sectoral responses to address the social determinants of health.
- Supports are needed for the health, safety, healing, and restoration of staff.
HIF is proud of the work that has been done and recognizes that our EDI journey continues and initiated some key strategies this fall to further our EDI work. We remain committed to this ongoing internal reflection and evolution so that our investments are not perpetuating the systemic inequities but driving the change we want to see in pursuit of our mission.
HIF’s Fall EDI Journey:
- Revamped and streamlined our application and reporting processes to better reflect the priorities identified by our grantees and create better efficiencies and less burden on grantees.
- Convened monthly meetings with the Grants Advisory Committee to continue to keep them informed of the opportunities and challenges faced by our community partners.
- Planned for grantee panel discussions with the Foundation staff and board to lend greater voice and share priorities.
- Surveyed grantees on how they prioritized funding for both their organization and for the community and plan to utilize these results in the grant review.
- Relaunched our equity webinars to offer opportunities for grantees to share how they are breaking down barriers to ensure access to programs and services.
- Volunteered in the field with our nonprofits and community to connect and learn how to better support efforts through the Foundation’s investments.
- Met with all our grantees virtually to revisit where they are and how we can support them in their work and make adaptations to better serve together our community.
We know this journey is not complete and our learning is not done, but with grace, empathy, and persistence we take steps each day towards building stronger and more mutually accountable relationships with our partners and community. Thank you for all that you do each day to support the health and wellness for all in Montgomery County.
Crystal Carr Townsend
President and CEO
Healthcare Initiative Foundation