Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our Commitment:

Create and Sustain a Culture of Belonging

At Friends of Karen, we are committed to fostering a tangible, sustainable and measurable culture of belonging. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are integral to our mission.  We strive to ensure those we serve and our colleagues feel supported, seen, heard, respected, and empowered.  Our goal is to foster a dynamic, welcoming culture that embraces everyone.

We believe in the power of diverse perspectives.  Friends of Karen prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our operations and demonstrates accountability for this commitment through word and action. We call on our supporters and community to help us combat social injustice, hate, and bias.

We provide equal opportunities for people of all races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, ability levels, socioeconomic backgrounds, countries of origin, and all other backgrounds and identities in our staff and governance. At Friends of Karen, we will lead by example and provide our services in an inclusive and equitable way, promoting diversity, equity, inclusivity and belonging from within and ensuring it is a core component of our vision and values. The families whom we serve vastly represent diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.  We believe that having a team that reflects such diversity will strengthen our organization and enable us to better serve our community.

We are committed to focusing on equity in access to healthcare, an area that is central to Friends of Karen’s mission. We affirm that every child and family we serve deserves to be treated with kindness, respect and compassion, regardless of any other characteristic. We recognize that hate and bias can cause significant harm and suffering to those targeted, and that they have no place in our organization or in our society as a whole. We will continue to work to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusivity, and a strong sense of belonging are core components of our strategy and values at all levels of our organization.

We lead by example, serving our community inclusively and equitably.  We are committed to creating a safe, discrimination-free environment for all.

Our Actions / Initiatives

Implement comprehensive DEI training for staff and the Board of Directors

Advance and expand our culture to be one of true belonging, attracting individuals from all backgrounds and diversifying our workforce, committees and Board.

Recognize and celebrate the diversity of our families, supporters, and staff at events, on our website, on social media, and in our communications.

Working Definitions

Diversity is about people. This includes their demographic differences, backgrounds, identities, and their unique experiences, perspectives, knowledge, abilities, ideas and more.  Diversity is not referencing specific characteristics of only “a minority” within a group of people or society.  Diversity is referencing all people and differences among us. 

Equity is about ensuring that all people have equal access to opportunities, fair treatment, the elimination of discriminatory practices, systems, policies, social norms, and cultural traditions. Equity encompasses a balancing of power and correcting where inequality exists.  It is also about patterns of behavior and processes developed to stop inequality. The intent of equity is fairness to all.

Belonging focuses on the person’s experience within a setting in which they are welcomed, structures ensure fairness, and they feel they can be their full, authentic self.  They do not have to cover who they are or downplay personal traits. Belonging is when people feel seen and heard, that they naturally belong to a group, feel safe, and are valued.  This is a result of having equitable and inclusive practices, norms, cultures, and systems. When diversity, equity and inclusion are done well, then belonging prevails.

Inclusion is focused on fostering the structure, system, processes, culture, behavior and mindset that embraces and respects all people and our diversity.  It embraces all people and ensures that diversity of knowledge, perspectives, information and ideas are welcomed and being considered. Inclusion is when we seek out diversity when we challenge excluding norms and stereotypes, when we are open to others, and when we speak up. Inclusion is when all people are valued and able to participate and contribute to their fullest.