In March 2016, CommunityWise received funding to undertake an Anti-Racist Organizational Change (AROC) project to strengthen our capacity and increase support for member organizations to address structural racism and create greater equity, diversity and inclusion. The goal of the project is to create an Equity Framework that will inform CommunityWise's policies and serve as a resource for other nonprofits interested in anti-racist organizational change.
Why are we doing AROC?
There is a well-documented lack of diversity in Canada's non-profit sector, at both board and staff levels. CommunityWise seeks to strengthen our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion by addressing the structural roots of this disparity within our own policies and providing support to other nonprofits interested in doing the same.
Anti-racism is our entry point, as it is difficult to effectively address all forms of discrimination at once. Thus the AROC project represents the beginning of an on-going effort to building an inclusive Equity Framework at CommunityWise.
How are we approaching AROC and who will be involved?
The AROC project is rooted in a consultative process that seeks to center the voices of those who are most impacted by institutional and organizational racism within Calgary's non-profit sector, while providing opportunities for all interested members of the community to participate and be informed. The process will be an emergent one that reflects and responds to the needs of the community.
-An Advisory Group of those who identify as racialized or Indigenous (First Nations, Metis or Inuit) will be convened as a space to discuss racism in Calgary’s non-profit sector and directly inform the AROC project.
-A broader Working Group will be convened to collaboratively develop a process for anti-racist -organizational change that involves the staff, board and community of CommunityWise.
-The project will offer other opportunities for members of CommunityWise and the broader community to participate in AROC, as well as stay informed of the project as it develops.
-The project will engage with organizations and people in Calgary and elsewhere that have undertaken similar processes and build on their experience of addressing structural racism in the non-profit sector.
-Members of the Working Group, CommunityWise Staff Collective and Board will work together to develop an Equity Framework and update CommunityWise policy accordingly.
What is the AROC timeline?
Mar-Aug 2016: Growing support for AROC, outreach and gathering information
Sep-Dec 2016: Outreach and gathering information (continued), identifying and prioritizing opportunities for organizational change
Jan-Apr 2017: Designing changes (e.g., policy, capacity building tools, etc.)
May-Aug 2017: Dissemination of changes
CommunityWise recognizes the long-term nature of organizational change and is seeking funding to continue this work beyond August 2017.
Definitions and FAQs
If you are interested in AROC and would like to learn more about it, please contact Thulasy Lettner, the Equity Framework Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn more about anti-racism, check out CARED (Calgary Anti-Racism Education), a fantastic local resource that has supported the AROC project.
If you would like to learn more about anti-racist organizational change, we highly recommend the book "Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations" by Tina Lopes and Barb Thomas.
You can find more information on how to get involved with the AROC Working Group here.
Do you have any thoughts on anti-racist organizational change at CommunityWise?
Please submit your comments in this short survey.
And email email@example.com to join the CommmunityWise newsletter to stay informed about other opportunities to get involved in AROC.
This project was made possible by funding from the Alberta Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund and The Calgary Foundation.