Definition of equity
Equity is an approach whereby all people – including those who bear the burden of historic and contemporary forms of marginalization, whether intentional or unintentional – have equal access to opportunities to define and achieve goals. Equity is more than an outcome; it is an on-going process that seeks to correct systemic barriers and create a more just and fair society for all.
Equity is different from diversity and inclusion. Diversity is the presence of difference within a certain context. Inclusion is about people with diverse identities being valued and welcomed. Equity acknowledges unequal starting places and addresses unequal needs, conditions, and positions of people and communities that are created by institutional and structural barriers.
Definition of equity-seeking communities
For the purposes of this document, we use the term “equity-seeking communities” to include groups which are marginalized by societal structures. Equity-seeking communities often experience social and financial disadvantages as a result of systems of oppression. Oppression takes many forms including but not limited to racism, sexism, and ableism. Therefore, examples of equity-seeking communities include: Indigenous people; ethnic or linguistic minorities; sexual and gender minorities; and people with mental illness or physical or intellectual disabilities. This list is not exhaustive and is always evolving. People who belong to multiple equity-seeking communities often experience overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
Why is an equity statement important?
The greater Edmonton area is a region with tremendous assets, full of creativity, vibrancy, and resiliency. At the same time, many of these assets are not fully realized because of inequality. Solving these problems and creating a better future will require shifting the status quo.
As a community foundation, we strive to be strategic and responsive to the changing needs of our residents and communities. We recognize that foundations have access to forms of power, such as capital, networks, and influence. As such, it is important for us to be explicit in our commitment to equity. We hope this statement will:
- Instigate conversations about equity;
- Be a tool for change;
- Keep our organization accountable; and
- Invite others to consider their own equity processes.
Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) is proud of its track record in addressing inequality since its inception. We also recognize there is more to do both within and beyond our walls. We are a learning organization and this is a living document. We invite you to share your thoughts, feedback, concerns, and questions about our journey to equity, and your own. Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECF will be responsive to the changing needs of the Edmonton area and the many people and socio-cultural communities that add to the vibrancy and resiliency of our region. We acknowledge that systemic barriers to equity exist. [See Action 1]
Equity can only be achieved by actively pursuing it as a goal and understanding that it is an on-going process with no completion date. We strive to ensure we are supporting and creating inclusive and equitable communities. We value diversity and inclusion and are committed to helping achieve equity. We recognize that treating all groups equally will not result in equity. We recognize that this might create discomfort, but we acknowledge that change is rarely comfortable. [See Action 2]
We will continue and increase our work with diverse people and communities towards shared goals, engaging diverse voices to ensure all communities within the Edmonton area see themselves reflected in the Foundation. [See Action 3]
We see elevating the voice and power of communities as a key way we can help achieve equity. We want to ensure that people can thrive and reach their full potential by amplifying community voice and power. [See Action 4]
We commit to reporting back and communicating about our successes and challenges in our equity journey. [See Action 5]
Action 1: ECF will continue to make grants available for a wide range of community purposes, to be able to respond to needs as they emerge. We will consider how we can best address systemic barriers.
Action 2: ECF will provide equity training opportunities for staff and volunteers and will seek to make similar opportunities available to partners, such as grant recipients. We will seek ways to provide additional supports to communities which may have less experience with grant and award application processes. We will commit resources to supporting equity as a process and outcome. We will continue to review policies and processes (formal and informal) through an equity lens and will review processes to identify unconscious bias.
Action 3: ECF will track grant and award requests from equity-seeking communities and will determine whether to take additional action to reach these communities or prioritize these requests. We will encourage people of all backgrounds to apply for employment and other opportunities and will engage diverse people in our work at all levels.
Action 4: ECF will actively recruit so that our board, staff, and volunteers are broadly reflective of the community, and will strive to engage similarly diverse donors. Working with equity communities, we will together consider whether to establish new programs that situate the decision-making power within those communities. We will review our communication processes to ensure equitable promotion of our grant programs, donor opportunities and events and to engage diverse voices in telling our shared stories.
Action 5: We will seek community feedback on the equity statement. ECF will review this statement annually. ECF will release a yearly report on our progress towards increasing equity.