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News from the Community: RVA Community Fund for Standing Together Launches with Mini Grants for Nonprofits

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities is pleased to announce a new resource for Richmond-area nonprofit organizations.  Thanks to initial funding from the Robins Foundation and fund management from the Richmond Jewish Foundation, the RVA COMMUNITY FUND FOR STANDING TOGETHER was launched on August 21st, 2017.

APPLY FOR FUNDING

This funding opportunity supports Richmond-area nonprofit organizations with financial support for rapid response services after incidents of bias, discrimination, or bullying. These incidents often require immediate interventions that are not covered by traditional funding mechanisms. As such, this fund ensures that nonprofit organizations will have greater capacity to meet needs that are increasingly urgent in today’s climate.  Nonprofit organizations are invited to apply for mini-grants of $500, $1,000, or $1,500 to support interventions including facilitating, convening, counseling, and coaching.

Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of VCIC, says that he encourages organizations to apply for funding to support community-wide solidarity events after incidents of bias or discrimination, schools that need professional development or student workshops after bullying etc.

The grant application form is can be found online at http://www.inclusiveva.org/standing-together-rva/fund/.  Completed application forms can be submitted at any time to communityfund@inclusiveVA.org.  Applications will be reviewed by an objective, diverse committee on a weekly basis, and approved requests will be funded within two weeks.

This RVA Community Fund for Standing Together will exist until all resources are expended.

WANT TO DONATE TO THIS FUND?

Individuals or foundations interested in donating to support this effort can go here http://tinyurl.com/rjf-donate and select “RVA Community Fund for Standing Together” in the “Fund Designation”.

Contact the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities by emailing jzur@inclusiveva.org with any questions and please spread the word about this opportunity!

To learn more about Standing Together RVA go here.

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Creating An Inclusive Environment at Your Nonprofit: Age

In March, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia gathered alumni of its Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP) and current members of its 10th class at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.   Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities led the group through a robust discussion and brainstorming session on ways local organizations and leaders can take action to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in their nonprofit organizations and across the sector.

In a recent blog post, we shared that diversity is the presence of difference generally related to one’s identity and might include ability status, age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or other factors that make a person unique.  Inclusion is the accepting, respecting, and valuing of this diversity.  Working to achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace should be a fundamental part of fulfilling the mission of any nonprofit. It creates an environment of involvement and connection and allows for the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives to be harnessed to create value for the organization, clients and the community.

To begin moving towards active inclusion in the workplace, nonprofit leaders must 1) examine their own lens to have a deeper understanding of their perspectives and perceptions to create a framework for approaching and addressing their own bias – whether that be conscious or unconscious.  Nonprofit leaders must 2) ask and encourage tough questions to create deeper dialogue within their organization, especially with staff who come from different backgrounds than them.  This will allow the leader to develop a clearer understanding of how experiences affect work styles, behavior, communications, and relationships and eventually form an atmosphere of greater trust.  Nonprofit leaders must 3) acknowledge institutional bias, which are the practices, policies, structures and traditions that push some people up and others down based solely on identity. It’s important leaders realize that institutional bias may exist in their own organization causing barriers towards inclusion and ultimately, equity and justice.

 

Local Barriers and Suggestions for Interventions

What are some of the barriers that organizations, leaders and staff create in local nonprofit organizations that prevent diversity and inclusion (in both the workplace itself and with clients and the community)? What are actions steps that they can take to intervene and overcome these barriers, leading to a more inclusive nonprofit environment?  The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders group analyzed several different “Identities” in relation to their own organization and below are the findings.  This week we focus on one of nine identities – “Age”.  In later posts, we will focus in on the others – ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or other factors that make a person unique.  Make sure to read our previous post on Ability Status.

Age

Ageism is the stereotyping or discrimination of a person or group of people because of their age.  Typically, ageism refers to older individuals but more recently, the definition has broadened to include “any prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of any age group.”

Local nonprofit leaders saw a few patterns and occurrences in the workplace – particularly relating to ageism perceptions and the negative implications they can have.   The group discovered that individuals are often grouped into categories related to interests and abilities based on age.  For example, younger staff were considered more tech savvy, while older staff were thought to be uninterested in technology and not willing to learn.

Other occurrences included assumptions and perceptions based on age related to one’s viewpoints, work styles and work ethics.  Younger participants reported having issues with their perspectives not being valued or taken seriously, as well as having a perceived “lack of experience” and not being given the opportunity to give input or perform.  Older participants reported that their perspectives were considered outdated, and therefore not valued, as well as feeling discriminated against in the hiring process – with assumptions being made that “an organization can’t afford to hire me”.

A recent article in Profiles in Diversity Journal confirmed many of these sentiments saying, “Within each generation is a relatively benign but present ageist view on the surrounding generations. Boomers think Millennials are careless and, although educated, only educated topically; they can do their jobs, but take away their computers and they won’t have a clue, unlike Boomers and Generation X. Millennials tend to think of Boomers and Generation X as behind the times as well as technology-resistant and inept. What all generations need to understand is that that everyone benefits from generational diversity in the workplace.”

The group had many great ideas on interventions to overcome some of these barriers to move towards generational diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  One of the most important tactics is education against stereotypes in the workplace.  Another suggestion is to create occasions (facilitated or not) for intergenerational conversation topics, or go a step further and create intentional intergenerational project teams.  Read this article by the Nonprofit Times on 8 Steps to Creating an Age Diverse Culture for tips to get started.

Other ideas included creating opportunities like mentorships and/or internships to promote intergenerational interaction and relationship building.  The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network RVA (YNPN RVA) has tips for mentors and mentees for Building Relationships, and this article by Next Avenue explains the concept of “Reverse Mentorships” where an older worker might seek out guidance from a much younger worker.  If you’re looking for advice for creating an internship, you can check out ConnectVA’s many articles on related topics, as well as our “Connect to Students” page which shares contact information from each local school/department for finding interns.

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Creating a More Inclusive Environment at Your Nonprofit: Barriers and Interventions for Ability Status

In March, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia gathered alumni of its Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP) and current members of its 10th class at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.   Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities led the group through a robust discussion and brainstorming session on ways local organizations and leaders can take action to create a culture of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their nonprofit organizations and across the sector.

In a recent blog post, we shared that diversity is the presence of difference generally related to one’s identity and might include ability status, age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or other factors that make a person unique.  Inclusion is the accepting, respecting, and valuing of this diversity.  Working to achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace should be a fundamental part of fulfilling the mission of any nonprofit. It creates an environment of involvement and connection and allows for the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives to be harnessed to create value for the organization, clients and the community.

To begin moving towards active inclusion in the workplace, nonprofit leaders must 1) examine their own lens to have a deeper understanding of their perspectives and perceptions to create a framework for approaching and addressing their own bias – whether that be conscious or unconscious.  Nonprofit leaders must 2) ask and encourage tough questions to create deeper dialogue within their organization, especially with staff who come from different backgrounds than them.  This will allow the leader to develop a clearer understanding of how experiences affect work styles, behavior, communications, and relationships and eventually form an atmosphere of greater trust.  Nonprofit leaders must 3) acknowledge institutional bias, which are the practices, policies, structures and traditions that push some people up and others down based solely on identity. It’s important leaders realize that institutional bias may exist in their own organization causing barriers towards inclusion and ultimately, equity and justice.

 

Local Barriers and Suggestions for Interventions

What are some of the barriers that organizations, leaders and staff create in local nonprofit organizations that prevent diversity and inclusion (in both the workplace itself and with clients and the community)? What are actions steps that they can take to intervene and overcome these barriers, leading to a more inclusive nonprofit environment?  The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders group analyzed several different “Identities” in relation to their own organization and below are the findings.  This week we focus on one of nine identities – Ability Status.  In later posts, we will focus in on the others – age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or other factors that make a person unique.  

Ability Status

Individuals with disabilities are often stigmatized, encountering attitudinal and physical barriers both in work and in daily life. Although federal legislation (i.e. The Americans With Disabilities Act) protects the inherent rights of individuals with disabilities, that legislation can’t always protect them from subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice. Some disabilities are more obvious but some may be hidden, known as invisible disability. There are many types of disabilities, including those that affect a person’s vision, hearing, thinking, learning, movement, mental health, communicating etc.

During the D&I session, participants reported a lack of physical accessibility in their workplace where there are no elevators, ramps or accessible restrooms.  They also mentioned the importance of considering the building and space accessibility when choosing an office location – for both staff and clients.  If you’re wondering if your older building is ADA Compliant, read this helpful article.   The nonprofit leaders also mentioned how physically demanding their roles often are, and they imagine that this could hinder someone with restrictions.  A common thread throughout the discussion was related to funding and support from grant makers.  To make physical organization changes, funding might be required, so grant makers need to be included in this conversation as well.

The participants reiterated that hiring practices within their organizations need to be adapted to accommodate individuals of all abilities, and policies must be established to address situations that might arise.  In general, there is a need for the organization and human resources to be more aware of legislation, as well as resources and assistance available to nonprofits to move them towards being proactive in this regard.  Furthermore, nonprofit leaders must cultivate an environment where staff feel comfortable asking for what they need or for help, particularly when it comes to mental health concerns.

The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) is a valuable resource that offers services to employers to help with recruiting, screening, training and retention efforts. Additionally, Virginia Business Leadership Network is a business-to-business (B2B) association focused on increasing workforce and marketplace diversity through the inclusion of individuals with disabilities.  They offer training and toolkits that include information like the Job Accommodation Network that provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.

This summer, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) is a hosting a session on “Including People with Disabilities” during their Workplace Inclusion Network (WIN).  WIN is a convening of professionals who support or lead diversity and inclusion efforts within their organizations. These gatherings provide a unique opportunity for D&I leaders to hear from experts in the field and share best practices with one another while networking with professionals from across the region.

Stay tuned for more findings on D&I in local nonprofits in the upcoming weeks!

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Creating a More Inclusive Environment at Your Nonprofit: An Introduction

In March, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia gathered alumni of its Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP) and current members of its 10th class at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities led the group through a robust discussion and brainstorming session on ways local organizations and leaders can take action to create a culture of inclusion in their nonprofit organizations and across the sector.

Read more →

 

Nonprofit Trends: Greater Diversity and New Generations of Leadership

Recently we highlighted local nonprofits who are combating inequality and environmental degredation - two areas that are expected to continue to impact the sector. This week, we tackle diversity and new generations of leadership. We've collected some examples of organizations in the Richmond and Tri-cities area who are working to make the sector more inclusive and to prepare new generations for leadership roles. Diversity and Inclusion According to the 2000 and 2010 census, data supports that our region, and the nation as a whole, is becoming more diverse. In the city of Richmond alone, persons of two or more races increased by 61%, and persons of Hispanic or Latino origin increased by 152%. As the general population becomes more diverse, the nonprofit sector must upgrade its inclusivity practices and reflect the face of the populations it serves.

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