Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are important values of the foundation and one of our Community Impact grant priority areas. This summer, when events of racial injustice spurred national conversation, we joined forces with local partners to support the LEDA pledge, a commitment to dismantling racism. Additionally, we invited key for-impact organizations to partner with us in their work to foster community conversation and address systemic racism through a summer DEI grantmaking initiative.
This work must be an ongoing effort from all of us. As we move forward, we must look both inward and at our community, look at our own biases and prejudices, and work to eradicate them on all levels. We must listen to people of color about their experiences and amplify their voices. It’s only through working together and enacting widespread and deep change that we can truly heal and become better individuals, a better community, a better nation, and a better people.
This work takes time, and we are committed to continuing these efforts. The following grants are just a snapshot of where we are in this work, what we’re doing internally, and what we’re working toward.
$65,000 for DEI Workshops, Calling All Colors, and Adult Education Programming
LEDA has committed to updating their portfolio of workshop programming to include current events and the ongoing national/social conversation. This grant award will allow the Diversity Education Workshops to be offered to local, Northwest Ottawa County organizations’ staff and board of directors, without charge, in an effort to remove financial barriers.
Additionally, LEDA is providing Calling All Colors (CAC) to six schools in Northwest Ottawa County: Spring Lake middle and high schools, Grand Haven Area middle and high schools, and West Michigan Academy of Arts & Academics. CAC provides students an opportunity to participate in open, honest and constructive conversation regarding issues of race within the school setting. As areas of concern are identified by the students, they work together to develop and implement action plans to make meaningful change within their school community. Due to COVID-19, the program will meet virtually throughout the fall, with the hopes of an in-person event in the spring, ultimately connecting students and teachers throughout the region.
Finally, LEDA plans to develop a virtual, self-led curriculum for adults that focuses on the inequities that racism creates in our communities and our places of work. These virtual education opportunities for groups of diverse adults will enable the exchange of ideas and action items. The basis of this curriculum is focused on the Pledge – A Call to Action: Our Commitment to Dismantling Racism, which is on LEDA’s website.
$15,000 for “Anti-Racism Training for Nonprofits”
In response to the need for nonprofits to address how racism impacts both their missions and our communities, the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance (LNA) will add three new programs/services for its nonprofit members in the coming year, including ongoing anti-racism training. LNA will partner with regional and national firms that specialize in anti-racism to host a series of trainings for local nonprofits over the next 18-months, with the goal of helping nonprofit organizations become educated on structural racism, analyze how racism impacts their missions, and modify or add new anti-racist programs and strategies.
In an effort to better understand our country’s history, the trainings will include an introduction to systemic racism, as well as a deeper dive that includes an analysis to help understand these systems. These trainings will be followed by a facilitated dialogue led by the LNA and other partners to help determine what steps we can collectively take to actively address racism in our community.
$13,000 for “Community Conversations on Race and Racism”
The Momentum Center has launched The Town Hall Series on Racism to create a safe space for people to share honest experiences and observations so that they may bring more people into the conversation and respectfully listen to each other. The Town Halls are not just a series of presentations but a platform for engaging in a true community conversation between leaders and people at the grassroots.
The goals are to engage residents and leaders from the community monthly in thoughtful conversations regarding various aspects of race and racism, while providing educational information and resources, as well as opportunities for action.
The Town Halls will be planned, facilitated, and responded to by a new Racism Task Force (RTF), a collaborative that includes the Momentum Center, Grand Haven’s Human Relations Commission, Loutit District Library, Tri-Cities YMCA, North Ottawa Community Healthcare System, Ottawa County Community Mental Health, Hope College, Ottawa County Schools Network, Mosaic, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, and a diverse group of individuals from in and around the immediate community.
For more information about DEI grants, or our community impact grantmaking program, contact Holly Cole, VP of Grants & Program, at email@example.com.