SAMPLE: Colorado Center for Law and Policy Inclusiveness Blueprint

SAMPLE DOCUMENT

 

Colorado Center on Law and Policy Inclusiveness Blueprint    

Introduction

Purpose

The mission of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy is to secure justice and promote economic security for all Coloradans especially lower income Coloradans and to provide the critical advocacy formerly provided by the federally funded Legal Services Programs in Colorado.

We decided that as an organization we wanted to achieve the following goals:

  • Learn more about what it means to be an inclusive organization.
  • Conduct an honest assessment of our organization and programs.
  • Develop a more inclusive Board, Staff, and Advisory Committee focusing particularly on bringing more racially and ethnically diverse people and lower income people into our organization.
  • Develop policies and processes that foster and institutionalize inclusiveness within each of our program areas and administration.

 

We believe that by committing the organization to Inclusiveness Work over the long-term we will be able to accomplish the following:

  • Allow CCLP to better achieve our mission and better serve all lower income Coloradans.
  • Enhance the relevance and usefulness of our work products and services.
  • Create feedback loops to better evaluate our successes and failures on an ongoing basis.
  • Increase creativity at every level of our organization.
  • Improve our ability to find solutions to difficult problems both internally and in our work.
  • Help us as individuals and as an organization be more reflective and aware.

Focus

Given the amount of time needed to develop a blueprint for our organization, the limited duration of the grant, and the need to achieve certain grant related goals, we determined that the Blueprint will focus initially on race and ethnicity. However as an Organization we have committed to addressing inclusiveness as it relates to class and to disabilities/health status and will amend the document accordingly.

We determined that gender is another important issue for us to consider as we do our work given what we do and who it impacts (mostly lower income women and their children). However we decided that gender will not be a major focus area of the Initiative as we assumed it will be addressed as we work on the major focus areas.

We also decided that we would address race and ethnicity in three different categories: Personnel, Board of Directors, and Programs/Constituents. We will also focus on these same categories when we address issues of class and health status/disabilities.  

Definition of Inclusiveness

CCLP seeks to create a climate and culture that embraces all people because each person's perspective is vital to the whole.

Diversity Definition

Diversity is the representation of a broad spectrum of people and perspectives.

CCLP Case Statement

CCLP Staff and Board value our common humanity. We want and will strive to be a compassionate, reflective, learning community, which actively reaches out to bridge differences and strives for equity through the transformation of ourselves, our organization, and ultimately our world.

Process used to create the Inclusiveness Blueprint

In order to develop a Blueprint for our organization, CCLP first created an Inclusiveness Committee that consisted of three Board members and six staff members. The Committee was led by the Executive Director. We also hired a consultant, Carolyn Love, to assist and guide us through the process. She facilitated most of our meetings over the last year as well as in 2007. Her facilitation was instrumental in helping us create the Blueprint we are currently submitting.

The Inclusiveness Committee has held over fourteen three-hour meetings. We utilized the work-book as a guide. Although we did not complete every workbook exercise, we completed many of them. The information in the various modules helped to stimulate our discussions.

We have also hired a consultant, Pam Hennessey, to assist us in the information gathering process. However she is still in the process of gathering needed information. She will be utilizing a variety of information gathering techniques with both internal and external stakeholders. Our Blueprint will be amended accordingly.  

Methodology

Category

Field-Wide Data

Community Wide Data

Organization Data- Internal

Stakeholder Data

Personnel;

Board of Directors

Interviewing 4 or 5 organizations with similar missions

(advocacy and policy organizations)

Review of Literature

Utilized census data and demographic data provided to ENII Groups by Community Resource Center

Organizational assessment of where we are and where we want to be- occurred in our regular   meetings with our facilitator.

Staff and Board surveys are being conducted by a consultant we have hired to accomplish this for us.

Also participated in OMNI's Org Survey of ENII Groups

Anonymous staff surveys being conducted at this time as are Board surveys

External stakeholders - consultant will be conducting several focus groups and/or interviews with constituent groups.

Programs & Constituents

Interviewing 4or 5 organizations  with similar mission

Review of Lit.

Being gathered

Being gathered

Same as above

Key Findings from Information Gathered Pertaining to the Organization as a Whole

Some key findings are articulated throughout this document. However we will complete this section once all information gathering is completed.

Key Findings from Information Gathered in Each Prioritized Category and a plan for each Prioritized Category.

Personnel Available Facts

In what ways is CCLP more or less diverse than our community?

CCLP is a statewide organization that engages in education, policy development /advocacy as well as legal advocacy with and on behalf of all residents in the State, particularly lower-income Coloradans and their families. According to a Community Resource Center (CRC) analysis of state demographic information that included race and ethnicity, the state's racial and ethnic breakdowns are as follows; Blacks / African Americans total 4%; Asians total 3%; Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders total less than .5%; Native American Indians or Alaska Natives total 1%; Hispanics/ Latinos total 19% (people of Hispanic origin may be of any race); White-Non-Hispanics total 73%; Multiracial individuals total 2%.

There are approximately 1,500,000 people of color in Colorado who total approximately 30% of our statewide population (4,500,000 people).

See Action Plan below for more information.

Staff

Race and Ethnicity

We have eleven employees, seven of whom are racially and/or ethnically diverse (63%- Asian Hispanic/Spanish, and African American). Hispanics represent 19% of Colorado's population and our Hispanic employees total 36% of our entire staff. Asians total 3% of the statewide population and our Asian employees total 18%% of our entire staff. African Americans represent 4% of Colorado's population and our African American/Black employees total 9% of our staff. We do not have any employees who are American Indian / Alaskan Native at this time.  36% of our staff are Caucasian.

Language

Approximately 15% of all Coloradans over 5 years of age speak a language other than English.

71% of that 15% speak Spanish. So most Coloradans (approx. 11%) who speak a language other than English, speak Spanish. We have two employees (18% of our staff) who are bilingual in Spanish and English. We also have one staff person who speaks Sinhalese and another who speaks Japanese. Therefore 36% of our staff speak English and another language.

Gender

Men in Colorado represent about 49 % of the population while women represent approximately

51%. Two employees are male (20%) and eight are female (80%). Men are under-represented in our organization as compared to the overall population in Colorado.

Class

We have no lower-income persons on staff. In order to ensure that we have the necessary  connections to and relationships with those who primarily benefit from the work we do, actions to address this issue will be identified when we address class/income.

Health Status/ Persons with Disabilities

Inclusiveness issues related to health status/disabilities will be addressed as we move forward.

Board of Directors Available Facts

Race and Ethnicity

We have eleven Board members: nine are white and two are racially/ethnically diverse. One member is African American/Black and one is Asian. These members comprise approximately 18% of our Board while racially and ethnically diverse populations living in Colorado total 30% of the state's population. Thus racially/ethnically diverse persons are under-represented on our board as compared to the overall population in Colorado.

Gender

We have seven women and four men on our Board. The ratio of men to women is 36% compared  to 64%. In Colorado the percentage of men to women is roughly comparable thus a slight gender imbalance exists.

Class / Income

CCLP does not have any lower income individuals on its Board. That is an issue of concern given that the work we do primarily benefits lower income Coloradans.

Health Status / Persons with Disabilities

The Board does have members with disabilities. We do not have any comparable data for the state as whole as yet.  

In what ways is CCLP ‘s staff more or less diverse than other organizations in our field.

We are in the process of determining this however our best assessment at this time is that we are more diverse than some and less diverse than other organizations in our fields leaving us some where in the middle.

 

Stakeholder Perceptions

We are in the process of gathering information from outside stakeholders as well as internal stakeholders.

What salient themes regarding personnel were identified by a majority of stakeholders?

We are in the process of doing surveys, focus groups and interviews to determine answer to this question.

Do stakeholders believe that the organization has a system identifying and recruiting prospective staff members of color?  If so is it effective?

To be determined through the information-gathering process.

Is there any additional information related to personnel that currently isn't available to you would like to collect in the future?

To be determined through the information-gathering process.

Action Plan to Achieve a Racially and Ethnically Diverse Workforce and Board

Personnel Focus

Issue:

Our data shows that certain racial/ethnic groups are underrepresented or not represented at all on our staff.  We believe that if the organization develops specific policies and engages in specific practices that encourage diversity and inclusiveness, such policies and practices will assist CCLP in becoming an organization that more effectively serves and advocates for lower income Coloradans, most of whom are women and children. Many of these women and children are racially and /or ethnically diverse.

Personnel policies and practices should address recruitment, hiring, and staff retention.

Goal #1:  Develop and /or improve recruitment policies and practices in order to ensure our staff more closely reflects the racially/ethnically diverse populations in our state, becomes more inclusive of diverse perspectives, and becomes more culturally competent.

Outcomes: Our staff will be more reflective of the racially/ethnically diverse populations in our state, will reflect diverse perspectives and will be more culturally competent.

Success Indicators:

  • Adequate representation of various racial and ethnic groups on staff so that CCLP reflects as closely as possible the communities it serves. Purpose is to ensure that our education and advocacy efforts are effective and take into consideration the unique needs of those diverse communities.
  • New hires are willing to bring their perspectives and talents to the organization, willing to embrace inclusiveness, and willing to actively work with other staff to create and maintain a work place environment that is racially and ethnically sensitive and diverse.

Tasks/Actions:

Job Descriptions

  • Include in all job descriptions that "knowledge of communities served" and/or the ability to help CCLP build strategic alliances with racially and ethnically diverse organizations are important qualifications and include positive statements regarding commitment to inclusiveness and that inclusiveness is an agency priority.
  • Develop and disseminate electronic job descriptions and ask contacts to distribute them. Such contacts include but are not limited to the specialty bar associations, Urban League, Law Schools, non-profit organizations especially those focused on serving Communities of Color, CANPO, ENII group, and to individuals known for broad community connections.

Advertising

  • Identify ethnic and community oriented papers to advertise for new hires as well as traditional papers.
  • Track where we advertise, which racially and/or ethnically diverse communities we reach and costs of advertising.
  • Research non-traditional networks and organizations that will agree to advertise for us.
  • Develop a method for obtaining information that would enable us to track the effectiveness of advertising and reaching out to racially and ethnicity diverse communities.
  • Formalize systems used for recruitment and hiring.
  • Test assumption that men do not gravitate to non-profit jobs especially since large nonprofits are often led by men and then develop actions after doing so. (For ex. we might want to work towards professionalizing salaries in the non-profit sector in order to attract diverse people including more men as well as racially/ethnically diverse persons to serve in all types of non-profits).  

 

Goal #2: Develop and/or improve hiring policies and practices for same reason as stated in # 1 above.

Outcomes: Will be successful in hiring a diverse workforce that reflects the diversity of the state's population and will enable us to more effectively represent those we work with and serve.

Success Indicators: See #1 above

Tasks/Actions

  • a. Have diverse groups of people review resumes and participate in the interview process. Get feedback when the interview process is over.
  • b. Consider a policy that affords the flexibility of holding a position open until we are able to hire a racially or ethnically diverse person whose skills will enable us to attain our programmatic goals.
  • c. Consider incentive policies that would allow wage flexibility based on specific skill sets.

 

Goal #3:  Develop and /or improve retention policies and practices for same reasons as set out in #1 above.

Outcomes:

 Will maintain a racially and ethnically diverse workforce without high turnover rate as people will experience an organizational culture and climate of respect. They will also be afforded opportunities to grow and develop professionally and personally.

Success Indicators:

The organization will have a reputation for being a good place to work and to feel valued in part because of its commitment to diversity/inclusiveness; will attract persons including racially/ethnically diverse persons committed to working in a diverse/inclusive work environment and to maintaining that environment over time.

Tasks/Actions:

  • Provide more formal opportunities for staff to develop professionally.
  • Develop good polices that will encourage retention, i.e. good management policies.
  • Establish Affirmative Action Policies without specific numerical goals.
  • Assess staff during evaluations, in part, on how they engage in conduct that builds inclusiveness in the organization, for example by participating on Inclusiveness Committee, active participation in inclusiveness training, and/or demonstrating a welcoming and respectful attitude toward all Staff, Board Members, and Constituents including those with different backgrounds.
  • Commit to identifying disrespectful behavior and address as soon as noticed.
  • Create shared experiences in the workplace. Examples of such shared experiences are as follows: brownbag lunches that enable staff to share and to discuss racial and ethnic issues; potlucks where staff share cultural foods and customs; read books and discuss implications on a topic related to inclusiveness; offer Spanish classes at noon time, etc...
  • Take the time necessary at staff meetings to address issues that impact staff for example where we have not valued or respected culture /race/ethnicity etc.
  • Ensure exit interviews are required and that they address issues related to culture f the organization and practices of the organization.
  • Ensure ongoing Inclusiveness efforts to avoid tokenism, etc...

Board of Directors Focus

Issue:  

Our data demonstrates that racial/ethnic groups are under-represented on our Board of Directors.

Goal #1: To recruit a racially and ethnically diverse Board of Directors for reasons already stated in this document.

Outcomes: Board membership will generally reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of Colorado's population.

Success Indicators:

  • Racially and ethnically diverse persons will be more interested in joining the Board because of its commitment to inclusiveness and to improving the lives of all lower income Coloradans.
  • All Board members including racially and ethnically diverse members will feel valued as individuals for the skills they bring to the Board and for their unique perspectives.
  • Organization will develop better and more strategic alliances with all the communities we serve.
  • Organization will better serve all of its constituents.

Tasks/Actions:

  1. Regularly update the Grid of Board Members that includes list of skills, interests, contacts and demographic data including economic status (lower, middle, upper-income).
  2. Track dissemination of Board job descriptions (to be created) when recruiting new members to determine who we are reaching.
  3. Create job descriptions for Board members keeping in mind the 3 Ws: wisdom, wealth, and workers, and identify the organization's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
  4. Develop a formal process for recruiting Board members including but not limited to the following: create a pool of diverse candidates for board membership; create a selection process that includes identifying potential Board members, as well as creating a screening process for those identified; develop a list of interview questions to be used by all interviewers when interviewing potential Board members including questions related to the organization's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness; create a final selection process.
  5. Develop an Affirmative Action Plan for Board recruitment, retention and succession planning.
  6. Review and improve Orientation Packet for new Board members.
  7. Create a standing Committee of the Board to deal with recruitment and retention as well as training for Board Members.

 

Goal # 2: To retain racially and ethnically diverse Board members.

Outcomes: 

  • Board membership will be diverse over time without significant turnover of members including racially and ethnically diverse members.

Success Indicators:

  • Members regularly attend Board meetings.
  • Members are involved on Board Committees.
  • Members feel valued and respected for who they are and for the contributions they make to the Board.

Tasks/Actions:

  • Evaluate current survey regarding inclusiveness and determine next steps
  • Resurrect Personnel Committee to oversee inclusiveness and diversity efforts.

Consider creating incentives that will help us achieve our goals of increasing diversity          and inclusiveness on our staff / organization. Also identify an EEO Officer for staff to             utilize when the need arises along with an official Grievance Procedure.

  • Develop a plan to increase utilization of Board members as spokespersons for the organization in the various communities we serve. Also develop materials they will need to be good spokespersons.
  • Ensure Board training opportunities including regular training on diversity and inclusiveness issues.
  • Hold retreats for Board and /or Staff at least once every two years. Board Development Committee and staff representatives will set agendas. Inclusiveness will be a topic considered and reviewed at retreats.
  • Ensure racially/ethnically diverse Board members have an opportunity to serve in leadership positions on the Board.

Programs/Constituents Focus

Issues:

Programs

Our education and advocacy work, including our legal advocacy, will be done in a way that deliberately and regularly takes into account the unique needs and problems/issues experienced by lower income people of color and ethnically diverse persons living in our State. Currently our work is not regularly done in this manner. We consistently view our work through economic and legal lenses. The Inclusiveness Committee concluded that we must also view all that we do through the lens of race and ethnicity. Regularly approaching our work in this manner will enable us to advocate for appropriate policies and issues as well as possible solutions that will most effectively serve the needs of all lower income Coloradans including diverse lower income Coloradans.

 

Constituents

While we have good relationships with many organizations and community leaders, we have few relationships with organizations that primarily serve racially/ethnically diverse people and / or that are led by racially/ethnically diverse people. Meaningful connections with those groups and community leaders are lacking. Such relationships would enable us to listen and learn about how problems and issues of poverty are impacting these particular communities and the possible solutions to those problems. The advocacy and education we do would subsequently be more effective and more relevant to those we serve. We would also be able to lend support to such organizations in their efforts to promote public policies that benefit our mutual constituents if they so desire.

We do not get direct regular input and feedback about priorities from lower income persons including racially and ethnically diverse lower income Coloradans. We do seek out and do get indirect input and feedback from some organizations that serve them. For example COFPI has an Advisory Board that provides feedback and guidance to the staff about issues that are important to their constituents. Similarly Colorado Legal Services staff are a source of feedback and act as advisors regarding legal issues impacting their clients. However we hope to establish a more formal process that will enable us to obtain more direct feedback from those most impacted by our work on a regular basis to ensure that the work we do is meaningful, relevant, and effective for those we serve including racially and ethnically diverse communities.       

Goals: 

  • Ensure that our education and advocacy as well as our work products appropriately address the unique needs and issues of lower income racially and ethnically diverse Coloradans.
  • Develop meaningful connections and relationships with community leaders of color and with organizations that primarily serve racially and ethnically diverse lower income Coloradans.
  • Develop formal as well as informal processes that allow us to obtain periodic feedback and input from those who benefit most directly from our work.

Outcomes:

  • Will better address in our education and advocacy efforts, the unique needs and issues of racially and ethnically diverse lower income Coloradans.
  • Will have increased connections with organizations and community leaders who serve lower income Coloradans.
  • Will obtain more regular feedback and input from those most impacted by our work as well as other constituents.

Success Indicators:

  • Increased connections, with community leaders and organizations that primarily serve diverse lower income Coloradans, result in more effective and more relevant education and advocacy as well as more relevant public policy solutions for all lower income Coloradans
  • A formal feedback and input process results in better and increased input and feedback that serves to inform all of our education and advocacy efforts.
  • Staff better understand how lower income racially and ethnically diverse Coloradans are impacted by health, welfare and other poverty related policies and issues as well as by state fiscal policies and issues.

Tasks/Actions

  • Identify and research organizations and community leaders who are racially and ethnically diverse and address issues related to poverty. We will use that information to create a data base of community leaders and organizations that contains important contact information as well as information about the work of the individuals and organizations. Will develop a plan to connect with those identified above and then will implement the Plan.
  • Staff will periodically schedule face to face meetings with the identified individuals and organizations to discuss organizational work, to learn more about what they do, and to determine if there is any potential for us to work together or to provide support for the benefit our mutual clients. Staff will be allocated a budget to meet with those they will be contacting. The idea behind this effort is to build relationships of trust between our organizations and our staff that might lead to working relationships over time. This will at a minimum help us better understand the communities/individuals we serve through our education and advocacy efforts.
  • Improve outreach to those mentioned above to join our Advisory Board which provides some guidance and feedback to fiscal policy staff. Also clarify roles of Advisory Board.
  • Segregate data by race/ethnicity, income, (as well as gender and health status) as much as possible and when appropriate. Thus data will highlight the differing impacts on diverse groups of lower income persons.
  • Appropriately disseminate reports and issue briefs as well as other products to diverse communities.
  • Seek input and feedback about our health care and welfare work as well as our legal advocacy from diverse communities. Utilize this information to inform our advocacy and educational work.
  • Utilize the database as a resource to help us identify potential new Board members and to create a pool of diverse candidates.
  • Ensure data base includes legal resources like the Specialty Bar Associations including the Sam Carey Bar, the Asian-Pacific Bar, the Hispanic Bar, and the Women's Bar, the Gay and Lesbian Bar, etc. More formal relationships with these bar associations can serve a variety of goals articulated in this Blueprint.

Other Miscellaneous Tasks / Actions:

  • Incorporate Blueprint into the Strategic Plan and planning process we will be undertaking in the Fall of 2007.
  • Accountability Plan

The organization's Inclusiveness Committee and Executive Director will monitor progress toward meeting our goals through the action items set out in the Blueprint.

  • Inclusiveness Committee will review on a quarterly basis, the progress achieved on each of the actions identified in the Blueprint. Quarterly reports will be prepared in writing and disseminated to Board and staff.
  • At least twice a year, the Inclusiveness Committee will determine if action plans should be adjusted.
  • CCLP will formally evaluate its progress by periodically conducting anonymous staff and Board surveys as well as constituent focus groups and/or interviews commencing two years after implementing this Blueprint. .
  • As we move forward on these action items, we will meet over the next year to address the issues of class and health status/ disabilities.
  • Board will have an opportunity to comment on the Blueprint at our June Board meeting and adjustments will be made as appropriate. We will be moving forward with implementation within the next month.

 

Conclusion

CCLP is excited about moving forward with its Action Plan/Blueprint on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. We also look forward toward making progress over the next two years. The Evaluation we plan to do will enable us to formally document our progress.

In addition we will continue to do periodic trainings on diversity and inclusiveness for Staff and Board.  

Action Plans as to Class/Income and Health Status/Disabilities will be addressed in our ongoing work.

 

Colorado Center on Law and Policy website