Baker Family Foundation values organizations that reflect and promote diversity in Oregon, organizations that disrupt systems of privilege or exclusion, and organizations that ensure services are delivered to people who have historically experienced discrimination or have been underserved.
We regard a nondiscrimination statement as a “screening in” policy. The idea is to encourage partnership with nonprofits that incorporate inclusion into their work, create diverse governance boards and staff, and value the role equity plays in serving their constituents. The ultimate goal is to determine common ground between an organization’s practices and Baker Family Foundation’s equity vision of ensuring a flourishing and equitable Oregon/Washington where all residents can reach their full potential.
But in issues of equity, there are tensions.
Often those tensions reveal themselves when our values collide with dire need for certain services. For instance, we may occasionally consider funding organizations that don't exactly meet our requirements but whose work is either extremely valuable to those who have been underserved or will reach marginalized communities that are not otherwise being served. In such cases, we will evaluate whether equity will on balance be best served by making an exception to our own policy.
In all cases, we will be transparent about our reasoning for supporting such organizations.
We ask all applicants to confirm and self-certify to the following: "Our policies and practices provide equal opportunity to all qualified individuals in leadership, staffing and service, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion and any status protected by law."
If an organization self-certifies to be in compliance, then their application will be considered. If upon further consideration/due diligence it comes to our attention that the organization’s policies or practices may not reflect our values of inclusivity, we will take the following steps:
- Engage leadership of the organization in a conversation around our concerns of perceived discriminatory policies or practices, and determine their ability and interest in eliminating or ameliorating such policies or practices.
- Evaluate and weigh the benefits to be delivered to the population to be served and the form and extent of perceived discrimination. For example, we will consider where organizational policies are not inclusive but practices and service delivery appear to be or where a literal or strict interpretation of the nondiscrimination clause may negatively impact disadvantaged and marginalized populations, such as where there is no other viable service provider.
- Document our concerns with the organization’s board chair and executive director, including the fact that they may not receive future Meyer funding, and where applicable, establish a shared timeline for change or markers of progress to be made against the perceived discrimination.
- If an award is to be made, Baker Family Foundation will be transparent and publicly recognize our dilemma in our grants announcement and explain why we are funding even though the organization does not appear to comply with a literal interpretation of our nondiscrimination statement.
We adopt this approach at Baker Family Foundation to ensure a level of integrity, consistency and transparency as we apply our evolving equity lens in service to our mission. We encourage policies and practices that promote inclusivity, and values of equity and humbleness will guide the application and interpretation of our nondiscrimination policy. In all instances, accountability and transparency regarding our process and conclusions are essential.