Ten Years into the Journey Toward Inclusiveness

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 12:00 am

by Adrienne Mansanares

Ten years ago, The Denver Foundation embarked upon an uncharted journey to help nonprofits and funders connect with communities of color. With the creation of the Expanding Nonprofit Inclusiveness Initiative (ENII) in 2001, and its evolution to the Inclusiveness Project in 2007, we quickly moved from focusing on diversity and numbers to supporting meaningful engagement through inclusiveness.  

With community guidance, we conducted countless conversations about race and inclusiveness, engaged in deep evaluation of our work, developed helpful resources and tools, provided grant dollars and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, launched a successful Nonprofit Internship Program, and received national recognition through the Council on Foundation's prestigious Critical Impact Award. Thanks to those who have partnered with us in this process during the past decade, we have made an impact on the Metro Denver philanthropic community and contributed to the national field.

As part of our celebration of the past decade's achievements, we recognize there is still much to learn and much more work to conduct. Just as our programming is evolving, so too are its language and purpose. Inclusiveness is about more than creating a welcoming environment; it is deeply tied to leadership and equity.

Results from our Listening Campaign confirm that profound racial and economic disparities still persist in our communities. While we don't have all the answers, we believe the Inclusiveness Project  will help us address these disparities.

We are currently examining the intersections of wealth and race. By educating ourselves about what lies beneath the disparities, we hope to create a platform that stimulates conversation and  examines possible next steps.

We know these issues are complicated, and we invite you to explore the complexities and share your thoughts about what the Inclusiveness Project can do moving forward. Please post a comment here or on our website.

Adrienne Mansanares is manager of the Inclusiveness Project at The Denver Foundation, a member of the Council on Foundations.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion