DEI Update Oct 30, 2020: Mission Review, Recruiting and Outreach Practices Review, and External Audit of Governance Policies
Dear Gift of Adoption Friends,
We are glad to share this update on the actions we are taking to continue living into the inclusiveness of the Gift of Adoption mission. Since August we have conducted a Mission Review, Recruiting and Outreach Practices Review, and an External Audit of our Governance Policies.
An overview of the findings and opportunities is below.
As you read these notes, we hope you will feel good about our sincere interest in growing our impact by engaging all who believe that having a loving family is a basic necessity and right for children, everywhere.
Action: Mission Review.
The National Board, during its September Board meeting, reviewed the Gift of Adoption Mission with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to determine if the mission statement properly reflects our priorities and commitments.
Finding: The National Board confirmed GOA’s mission statement
Gift of Adoption provides grants to complete the adoptions of vulnerable children – giving them a permanent family and the chance to thrive.
Finding: The National Board confirmed GOA’s Grant Program Priorities to serve children for whom this may be their last or only chance to become adopted into a forever family:
- Older children at-risk of aging out of an orphanage
- Biological Siblings
- Children at-risk of entering or aging out of foster care, and
- Children with critical or rare medical conditions
Action: Outreach and Recruiting Practices Review.
Gift of Adoption is committed to broadening and dedicating resources to outreach efforts that will increase the diversity of our volunteer, staff, donor, and grant family communities – with the goal of reflecting the diversity within the communities in which we operate and the inclusive foundation upon which our mission was founded 25 years ago.
Finding: This summer we started compiling demographic data on GOA staff and volunteer team members (voluntarily provided) for the purpose of comparing our people demographics with the demographics of the communities in which we operate. We will do a comparative analysis to identify opportunities and gaps by calendar year-end and incorporate diversity and inclusion best practices into annual national and chapter operating plans going forward, starting in 2021. We have already incorporated several best practices in our recruiting efforts and are excited to learn about and implement additional practices to grow our reach and engage more diverse leaders in furthering the GOA cause.
Finding: GOA has been gathering demographic data on the families (since 2009) and children (since 2019) we serve to understand the population we are serving from a race, age, special medical conditions perspective – information standardly asked for by donors/funders and by charity rating agencies.
A preliminary review of the demographic data on children served with a GOA grant compared to children adopted in the U.S. using a public agency. We recognize the quality of data comparison information is limited and something we want to improve. *See notes below about NCFA.
Finding: Since 2009 we have invited GOA grant applicant parents to share their demographic information on a voluntary basis (5-10% opt-out). A preliminary review of the racial diversity data of parents served by GOA grants compared to parents who adopted (U.S. 2011) identifies not only how critical it is for GOA to work with outside sources* to identify or generate relevant comparator data, but more so, it points to a significant opportunity to expand our grant program outreach within the Black and Latino/Latina communities – as we want all families to know about Gift of Adoption as an option and our commitment to awarding grants without considering a parents age, race, ethnicity, marital status, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.
*Gift of Adoption has begun conversations with the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) about collaborating and investing in research opportunities to gather the demographic data of adoptive families and adoptive children (in/into the U.S. in any given year or period of years.) NCFA has the capacity to partner with us and we are working closely with members of the GOA Metro D.C. Chapter to build this relationship and begin working on research initiatives that would benefit GOA’s DEI efforts and also provide meaningful information to the adoption industry as a whole.
Finding: A comparison of racial demographics of families applying for compared to those receiving GOA grants is consistent. This removes a concern that there is an unconscious bias or disparate impact in our grant selection processes.
Action: Governance Document Review. In September we reviewed external audit proposals from three outside firms and selected Diversity Decoders, https://www.diversitydecoder.com/, to complete a review of our governance documents in October.
Finding: We received a preliminary report from Diversity Decoders on October 29, and our Task Force will be working with them to understand the findings and practice recommendations in order to integrate DEI improvements into our ongoing operating plans beginning in 2021.
Future Action: GOA Communications Review. Our plan is to engage a small volunteer task team of communications and marketing professionals to review a broad sampling of our social media posts, press releases, and other marketing communications to identify opportunities to make them more reflective of our inclusive mission. This includes an opportunity to listen and share more directly the voice and perspective of the (now) young adults whose families received a Gift of Adoption grant.
We look forward to continuing this work and communicating our continued progress in January 2021. As always, we welcome your ideas. Please contact Tom Southall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Board | DEI Task Force
Lukas (California), Sean (China), Adelaine (California), Emma (India), James (Ethiopia)