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Commitment to a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Culture Starts at Home
Vice President, Education Kauffman Foundation

Commitment to a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Culture Starts at Home

Success in our nation's economy is inextricably linked to the equitable access and advancement in our nation's classrooms, and philanthropy plays an essential role in propelling social sector change. The Kauffman Foundation's partnership with Promise54 requires us to look at our own data, our strengths and weaknesses, and develop an internal plan to embrace a diversity, equity and inclusion framework throughout our whole organization.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Promise54; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Education remains the great equalizer. Success in our nation’s economy is inextricably linked to the equitable access and advancement in our nation’s classrooms.

Philanthropy plays an essential role in propelling social sector change.

Many foundations and non-profit organizations are passionate about changing lives through education; ensuring that children of every creed and color, language and background have equitable access to opportunity. This desire is not only morally just but an economic imperative.

In a recent study, “Unrealized Impact: The Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI),” Promise54 reveals that the education sector is far from reflecting the communities and students served, is losing talent due to low perceptions of inclusion and equity, is inconsistent in implementing promising practices, and is lacking accountability structures around diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Partnering with Promise54

To address this issue head-on, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is one of 54 education-focused organizations from across the country participating in the DEI Accelerator, which Promise54 launched this year in an effort to support education organizations to put data to work for accelerated forward progress.

"Our hope was to create an experience that builds community, capacity, and accountability. By supporting leaders to reflect inward on their own consciousness and the current state of DEI at their organizations and to implement a responsive DEI plan with clear metrics and strategies, we hope to propel participants further, with more intentionality, toward living out their DEI beliefs. The DEI Accelerator experience will be driven by data and structured around actionable recommendations and practices. At the same time, we will lean into the personal, adaptive, interpersonal work of engaging hearts and minds as we examine the role we play in our current and desired organizational cultures, behaviors, and structures. Through this journey, we strive to move from data, to action, to impact because the students we serve can’t afford for us to wait."

—Xiomara Padamsee, founder and CEO, Promise54

Our partnership with Promise54 requires us to look at our own data, our strengths and weaknesses, and develop an internal plan to embrace a diversity, equity and inclusion framework throughout our whole organization. This journey began Jan. 23-24 when the DEI Accelerator participants came together at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center for a summit. The year-long commitment will continue with coaching, skill building and progress monitoring to support us alongside a growing network within the public sector that is building the internal infrastructure to reflect the values and intentionality of its work.

By holding ourselves accountable to model the diverse and inclusive reality organizations are attempting to develop, we can shift the barriers to opportunity, taking a stand for an inclusive future.