I am very proud of the steps our Board of Directors and the leadership of JFS have taken this past year to adopt a Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statement for our organization, and to apply the covenants of this commitment every day at JFS.
We believe it is our responsibility to promote an inclusive community and foster a supportive and respectful culture. We service the entire community and strive to provide a safe place for all who come through our doors. We value the well-being and mental health of every person, including those who have experienced discrimination based on their race, religion, gender, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, age or ethnicity.
JFS is in a strong position to advance racial equity within our organization and in our surrounding community. Our mission directs our actions: Inspired by the Jewish tradition to make the world a better place, JFS helps and supports people in need to meet their challenges.
Our leadership recognizes that institutions can create equity through its policies and practices – and we will give distinct, specific and sufficient attention to disparities that exist, and put policies in place to address them.
Over the past 12 months, JFS has taken several significant steps towards furthering diversity, equity and inclusion within our organization and in the surrounding community. Our top executive staff completed extensive training in 2019 through United Way’s “Building a Framework for Advancing Racial Equity” program with Dr. Kira Banks. Dr. Banks also conducted an educational session titled “A Path to Racial Equity” for our entire Board.
JFS established our first racial equity theory of change goal in early 2020, “To reduce racial disparities in our program performance outcomes.” To achieve this goal, JFS disaggregated all client data so that we can analyze if all clients are equally achieving their desired goals and the goals of our services/programs. Disaggregated data means that our data is sub-categorized in detail so we can review the data based on race, gender and other categories that will show if our outcomes are different based on specific characteristics. Analyzing and reviewing our outcomes allows us the opportunity to determine why and if there are inequities and to address them by adjusting our staff hiring and training practices, making behavioral and organizational changes, adapting our testing/measurement tools, or other practical changes.
Over the next year, we will facilitate more board and staff conversations that offer a space for self-reflection and increase knowledge on topics related to equity and inclusion. We will further integrate racial equity training into our staff and board onboarding and training plans, establish staff performance expectations regarding client goal achievement, and determine best client outcome measurement approaches. We also look forward to establishing additional racial equity theory of change goals to be achieved in the next three to five years.
Our staff, volunteers and our Board are eager to continue an active role in promoting a culture that reduces barriers and promotes equity in our society – and we welcome your participation and input.
JFS Board President