An Equity Framework: Our Commitment To Change

Today, I want to share with you the Equity Framework we have been developing at the Foundation over the past year. In this document you’ll find what we mean by equity, and how we seek to translate words into action, including employing a set of questions to guide and learn from our decisions.

The Equity Framework was born out of our recognition and acknowledgment of a painful truth. Our country’s history of policies and practices that marginalize, exclude, exploit, and discriminate – based on multiple identities but especially on race — cannot be ignored. Those policies and practices have shaped this country, and too-similar policies and practices still exist. Racism continues today to perpetuate disparities and inequities.

However simply acknowledging inequities and the societal forces that created and perpetuate them is not enough. As a grantmaker, our responsibility is to make change for the better.

Over the last few years, we have sought to learn about equity, inclusion, and power. Our learning journey started in 2017. Since then, we’ve been schooled by our grantees and by those in movements across the country, and we’ve had discussions among ourselves about power, equity, and values. We realize that the more we learn, the more we don’t know. Our view of how to effect change continues to evolve.

Although we have said before that we believe in and seek equity, we are sharpening that focus. We must actively work toward better social outcomes for those affected by persistent inequity and injustice, including BIPOC, women, those identifying as gender non-conforming, those with disabilities, and other marginalized identities.

These aren’t entirely new areas of focus for us, as exemplified by our Human Rights program, an equity focus in our Education program, and our Women in Physics and Astronomy work, but we can do more to integrate equity throughout our work.

We will also look inward and evolve our Foundation’s culture so that staff, who bring a broad range of lived experiences, use that breadth to reimagine our practices, develop new and more equitable ways of engaging with our partners and stakeholders, and make our grantmaking processes more accessible. The diversity of our staff and leadership should better reflect the communities our grantees serve. Our work and our institution will be the better for it.

All these ideas are reflected in the Equity Framework. We offer the framework with both humility and determination. Our explorations over the past years have shown us that we are not yet where we need to be. The Equity Framework is both a roadmap for a journey and a commitment to continued learning and change.

This is a living document, and we want to hear from you how we can make it better.

Please contact Karina Rivera with questions and comments.

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