DEI Toolkit: A Q&A with Executive Director Kris Kewitsch

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Toolkit – launched this spring! – is an affordable tool that helps organizations understand its internal diversity as compared to the community it serves. Not just an assessment, this toolkit also provides guided analysis of assessment results and support in creating action-oriented goals that enhance DEI work. To read more about the nuts and bolts of the toolkit, check out our FAQ.

For perspective on the philosophy behind the new toolkit, we sat down with Executive Director Kris Kewitsch, to learn more.

Why a toolkit?

86% of nonprofit organizations undergoing our review process have difficulty meeting the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Accountability Standard®. That’s a significant percentage. And it’s not just the organizations we support who experience this – according to BoardSource, the problem is widespread. Findings in their 2017 Leading With Intent report indicate that white board members fill 90% of nonprofit leadership and that more than 25% of boards are all-white.

“Those numbers have varied little since the organization began surveying board chairs and top nonprofit executives in 1994,” writes Drew Lindsay for The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“And … they aren’t likely to change, because recruitment, at least at the board level, typically doesn’t focus on diversity. Only about a quarter of board chairs and chief executives rate demographic diversity as a high priority in recruiting.”

Things need to change, and we wanted to help. So, we worked with focus groups to determine how we could best support organizations with increasing diversity in their leadership.

After listening to nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, we learned that what they needed was some kind of assessment – something that could help them understand where they are currently, and assist them in creating tangible goals for the future. Just an assessment by itself wouldn’t cut it though. To really make a difference, we knew it needed an educational component and a data-collecting component as well.

But… isn’t that what consultants are for?

We wanted to assist our nonprofits in building a more effective and reflective organization — without sending them to a for-profit consultant who they often couldn’t afford. So, the Council designed an easy to use and easy to understand toolkit that’s powered by the organization itself, lead in part by an internal Project Champion. Participating organizations receive the tools necessary to be successful in this process, including a detailed user guide, sample communication templates, facilitation guides, and technical assistance built in for every question.

Well, my organization would love to use the Toolkit, but we’re not currently undergoing your Accountability Wizard® review process. Do we need to start the review process first?

No, and that’s the beauty of it: you can use the toolkit before you even start the review process! Actually, it can even help the review go faster once you do start it.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion ToolkitIn fact, not only do you not have to be undergoing the review process, you don’t even need to be a nonprofit! 

While our toolkit was created to help our partner organizations improve their DEI, there’s no reason other governance structures, foundations, coalitions, corporate entities, you name it, couldn’t use the toolkit. We’ve already received multiple inquiries from corporations interested in utilizing the toolkit as a resource.

Build a more effective and reflective organization from the inside out with our new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolkit. Click here to get started!

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