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IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) at WVCS 

At West Valley Community Services (WVCS), diversity is one of our core agency values.  We engage with a diverse community of clients, staff, volunteers, and donors, and believe diversity makes us stronger. 

 

As a community of staff, board, volunteers, and clients, we are multicultural, multiracial, and diverse. We represent different economic backgrounds, speak different languages, and call different places home.   But we are united in our mission of fighting hunger and homelessness and committed to celebrating and recognizing the importance of diversity across our WVCS community.

 

We recognize that deepening our commitment to IDEA is an ongoing process, and we strive to develop our capacity for learning and growth as we work to implement strategies that promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and access throughout all aspects of our organization.

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At WVCS, we use the following definitions of inclusion, diversity, equity and access to guide our work:

Inclusion

We create a space where each person is valued, respected, and supported.

Diversity

Our community includes but is not limited to a broad range of people of different ages, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, spiritual practices/beliefs, income levels, and employment statuses. 

Equity

We treat everyone equally and eliminate barriers that prevent everyone’s full participation. 

Access

We ensure our processes, policies, and culture do not create barriers to inclusion, diversity, and equity, so that everyone has a seat at the table and feels their contributions matter.

To advance our commitment to IDEA, we established a board IDEA Committee and a staff IDEA Committee in 2021. Both committees have implemented a variety of projects within the organization that are manifestations of our values and visions around inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Celebrating the diversity of different cultures and ethnicities

  • During monthly team meetings, our staff celebrates and learns about a wide variety of cultural and ethnic holidays and festivals.  An emphasis is placed on understanding the historical context and background of each event and learning about the symbols, clothing, and food. 

  • The WVCS Board voted to establish Juneteenth, the date that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, as a WVCS holiday.   In addition to closing the agency on that date, we host learning opportunities for staff and volunteers about the date and its significance.

Recruiting diverse board members and employees, and creating an environment where all clients, staff, and volunteers feel welcome.

Board Diversity

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All board demographic data is self-reported.

Staff Diversity

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All staff demographic data is self-reported.

Client Diversity

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All client demographic data is self-reported

at the time of registration for services.

Gender Identity
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Sexual Orientation
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  • Updated all agency job descriptions and qualifications to reflect our commitment to IDEA and eliminate barriers to hiring diverse candidates.

  • Created a Lived Experience Advisory Committee, engaging folks with lived experience to be active partners in program development and evaluation, as well as agency outreach and advocacy.

Participating in training and educational opportunities to develop our competencies around identifying and preventing bias, racism, sexism, ageism and ableism.

 

  • Conducted trainings on implicit bias for board, staff, and volunteers.

  • Participated in various diversity trainings offered by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, and the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits.

  • Required all managers to read and discuss Better Allies by Karen Catlin, a book that outlines strategies for developing allyship at work, and eliminating bias and discrimination at all levels of an organization.  

  • Launched the WVCS Social Justice Book Club in 2020, an open space where community members come together to read books about racism, systemic bias, the carceral system, immigration, sexism, diversity, ableism, housing discrimination, and interlocking systems of oppression, discuss the implications for our community, and explore ways we can play a role in positive change.

Conducting a vendor audit to ensure WVCS vendors have a commitment to diversity.

 

  • Reached out to key vendors to review diversity statements and diversity in leadership and hiring.

Communicating externally our commitment to racial equity and our stance against hate and bias.

 

  • Signed the Silicon Valley Equity Pledge authored by Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits. This pledge outlines a set of commitments to advancing equity across the nonprofit sector and establishes a collective community of social benefit organizations working together to “embed values and practices of diversity, inclusion, and equity” in the work we do every day.

  • Distributed letters to our community to condemn the murder of George Floyd, take a stand in support of Black Lives Matter, and end acts of hate directed toward the Asian American/Pacific Islander Community.

  • Joined the county-wide REAL (Race, Equity, Action, Leadership) coalition in partnership with nonprofit leaders representing organizations that serve communities throughout our region.

While we have made significant progress, we have a lot more to do. Below are additional projects and initiatives that are currently in progress:

 

  • Engaging in an agency-wide analysis of WVCS operations using the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization, a maturity model that allows for a global review of where an organization is on the journey to becoming more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist.  Using this tool, our team will measure where WVCS is on our journey, and identify ways to expand and deepen our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access at all levels of the organization.

  • Developing a plan to implement ongoing IDEA training for board, staff, and volunteers, including additional trainings on other dimensions of diversity, including gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability.

  • Conduct an accessibility audit of our physical and online spaces.

This work is never complete.  If you have any questions, ideas, or recommendations, please reach out to us at idea@wvcommunityservices.org.

 

IDEA Gallery

Celebrating Día de Muertos, Diwali and Hanukkah at WVCS

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WVCS Staff