A Holistic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (2021)

We believe that education opportunity is essential to a fair and just society.
Education is the key to transforming lives and communities, but education opportunity is not distributed equally. For this reason, creating education opportunities is the mission of the Foundation.

Many of us have achieved success through hard work coupled with talent, but many Americans are born with just as much talent, and work just as hard, and yet don’t achieve the same levels of success because of systemic barriers to opportunity.

We have a responsibility.
People with power and privilege have a responsibility to create a more just world by changing inequitable policies and practices.

Meaningful change requires learning, risk-taking, and community building.
We believe that individual, organizational and cultural transformation comes from an exchange of ideas, allowance for mistakes, and respect for a diversity of viewpoints. We encourage organizations to develop systems and practices that enable constructive disagreement and that intentionally foster a sense of belonging and authentic engagement among their diverse constituents.

To identify and address inequities, and to change hearts and minds, we must:
●  Build trust by encouraging open discussion.
●  Practice critical thinking and invite dissension and debate.
●  Provide direct, respectful feedback so we understand each other better.
●  Accept that we are all on a learning journey and will make mistakes.
We support DEI initiatives that seek to unite rather than divide.

The Webber Family Foundation is also committed to the Philanthropy Roundtable’s holistic approach to diversity and its five key principles guiding this work:

1. Value each individual. Each person is a unique individual worthy of dignity and respect. It is only by taking the time to know and understand them, their challenges and their circumstances, rather than simply making assumptions based on how they look, that we can best support them.

2. Advance the mission. Excellent results are best achieved by bringing together people with diverse skill sets, backgrounds and perspectives to further a common mission. Each organization is in the best position to know what types of diversity in leadership and staffing will best support its mission—and thus strengthen the communities it serves.

3. Seek diverse perspectives. Good ideas can come from anywhere, and there are many ways to address social challenges. Bringing together people with diverse views is the key to encouraging a robust competition of ideas, experimentation with different approaches and ultimately better answers and outcomes.

4. Embrace conversation. Discussion and debate open the door to progress. Direct, honest and respectful conversation may take courage, but it is the antidote to division, resentment and stagnation.

5. Cultivate empowerment. The best way to uplift individuals and strengthen communities is to foster the sense of agency that only comes when everyone is empowered to reach their full potential.

What we ask of grantees
Talk with us about your organizational values and practices.
Examine your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practices and policies, and let us know what you are doing to make them more equitable and inclusive.
Promote tolerance for differing views, allow for good-faith mistakes and disagreements, and practice non-punitive conflict resolution; this is critical for workplace culture and policies.

What grantees can expect of us
We will offer suggestions and explore forward paths if we are not aligned.
We will view this issue as part of a grantee’s overall effectiveness and fit with our mission and expectations; it’s not a litmus test.
We will do our own DEI audit and support grantees who wish to do the same.
We will listen, engage with you, bring open minds and open hearts, and strive to balance the urgency of these issues with the patience change sometimes takes. By working together, we can accomplish so much more.