For the last year and a half, the Tower Foundation has focused on bringing an equity perspective to our work. Today I am excited to share new goals we have adopted.
At the Tower Foundation, we believe that young people with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental illness, and substance use disorders should have the chance to achieve their goals, regardless of the challenges they face. We also know that some young people face more challenges than others because of systemic inequalities. The convergence of our focus areas with racism, ableism, sexism, and other types of discrimination warrants the Foundation’s attention because as we know, people do not live single-issue lives.
The Board of Trustees has adopted five diversity, equity, and inclusion goals to advance our vision of achieving equitable communities where all young people are included, accepted, and valued, and are self-confident. Here are our goals, framed aspirationally as the grantmaker we want to be:
- We conduct our grantmaking with an equity perspective. Paying attention to systemic inequities that intersect with our four focus areas, makes us a more intentional and just funder.
- We advocate for equitable systems. We are explicit about advancing systemic equity for the populations we focus on, and we examine and experiment with ways to improve unjust systems.
- We closely resemble the communities that we fund. Our staff and board, and our culture of belonging, show that we value diverse voices.
- We meaningfully engage communities in our work. The Foundation engages and co-creates with community in convenings, feedback, and decision making.
- We prioritize learning about diversity, inclusion, and equity and apply what we learn. We are committed to learning and growing at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, and systemic levels to promote a culture of belonging, internally and externally.
While we have succeeded in getting these intentions down on paper, we are by no means done. The work of achieving these goals is just the beginning. Our next steps are to build out specific milestones for each, identify our most immediate priorities, and dig in. We are committed to updating you as we move forward and welcome your reactions, reflections, and partnership in our journey.