We will pop in the updated statement from Larissa when ready!
As an organization, we are proud to center inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and liberation (IDEAL) principles in all that we do. This work could not have happened without a commitment to representation - at the staff level, board level, and through intentional community-building efforts. As a result of this commitment to prioritizing diverse leadership, we have made great gains in all areas of our business, almost tripling our budget since 2017, and have profoundly deepened our impact. Our services are better, our solutions are better, our culture is better, and we are more effectively delivering on mission to a much larger number of people. Like all of you, we are not perfect and have made mistakes, but one of the most valuable pieces of any lesson we learn at CEN is that we get to pass that knowledge on to other nonprofit leaders so they can use this evolving IDEAL framework to further their own missions and empower our communities.
Historically, diversity efforts in organizations (if any) consisted of only a few hours of training and fell drastically short. Often, work in this area is limited to "DEI" content, whereas CEN expands our focus to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, andLiberation (IDEAL) principles. The added element- Access- exemplifies a commitment to foster attitudes, behaviors, and procedures that facilitate access; it promotes equity and diversity, advances inclusion, and allows people to maximize their contributions. The second element - Liberation - is the gaining of full social or economic opportunities for a particular group and is ultimately freedom from oppression, allowing one to be their whole self.Liberation and Access are integral steps that are often overlooked and excluded which tends to undermine DEI efforts. Below we further define each of the IDEAL principles:
Inclusion CEN believes it is a universal human right. It moves beyond diversity and toward creating an equitable environment, where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are harnessed. Inclusion is the act of creating space where each person is authentically valued, respected, and supported.
Diversity Our different identities such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, physical/mental ability, sexual orientation, spiritual practice/beliefs, employment status, geographic location, or other characteristics.
Equity When a person or group receives the unique opportunities needed to reduce or eliminate barriers, equity is demonstrated. It is a process that begins by acknowledging an unequal starting place and works to correct and address imbalance. Equity ensure that people have the opportunity to grow, contribute, and develop, regardless of their identity.
Access Also referred to as accessibility, this refers to the equitable right, engagement, or entry for everyone, regardless of human ability and experience. For organizations, it refers to how they encompass and celebrate characteristics and talents that each individual brings. It is about representation for all. Liberation The gaining of equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group, including the protection from abuse or exploitation. It is ultimately freedom from oppression, allowing one to be their whole self.