ACDI/VOCA is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not new concepts to ACDI/VOCA. One of our core corporate values is RESPECT, which to us means promoting diversity, transparency, and collaboration by respecting the dignity, contributions, and interests of people inside and outside our organization. But we know it’s not enough to just talk about respect. We have to live it. We have to act on it.
ACDI/VOCA is a learning organization at its core. We don’t provide one-size-fits-all solutions to our projects. We learn about each of them and provide solutions based on what we learn about their systems and culture. Learning often begins with admitting that we don’t know what we don’t know. We knew when it came to issues of the impact of injustice and inequity on our people and our culture that we didn’t know nearly enough. To do better, we need to know better. Building on previous efforts to recruit more diverse employees, add Respect as a core corporate value, and strive toward pay equity, we held a town hall meeting in May 2020 at which we openly engaged staff in conversation about racial inequity. We invited staff to submit questions and comments ahead of time for those who felt more comfortable doing that. We listened for more than two hours to our staff members’ feelings, experiences, and concerns. As a result, we hired a consulting firm to help us shape our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program (this is a program – not a project – as it will be a part of our DNA from now on). We have a diverse, staff-led team from across the organization working together to provide leadership with recommendations.
Things aren’t changing fast. But we are making progress and are committed to this effort. We want to get this right, and as we know from our work in our projects that making effective, sustainable changes to an established system takes time. As our DEI consultant wisely advised, this is "forever" work.