The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has announced that it intends to become “an anti-racist and anti-sexist organization by taking proactive and inclusive steps to achieve gender and racial equity internally.”
According to a revised statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion approved at the foundation’s November 2020 board meeting and posted on the RBF website in December, the foundation has committed itself “to becoming an anti-racist, anti-sexist institution where each person, in their uniqueness, knows they are valued and belong.”
The statement highlights the foundation’s commitment to recruiting, supporting, and retaining a diverse and inclusive board of trustees and staff; maintaining pay equity for all employees; actively redressing patterns of microaggressions, implicit bias, and discrimination; investing in grantee organizations with diverse leadership and supporting their leadership and development; and increasing the percentage of its endowment invested in firms that are majority-owned by women and/or people of color.
“This is not only a moral imperative but central to effectively realizing our mission of a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world,” wrote RBF president and CEO Stephen Heinz and Mark Adiedo, the foundation’s vice president for people and culture/chief diversity officer, in a blog post.
Women and people of color currently comprise 73 percent and 46 percent of RFB staff. But an organization-wide audit conducted in 2020 found that while more than 70 percent of staff report having a sense of “belonging,” more than half reported they had experienced microaggressions or other forms of bias at work.
To address such concerns, RBF is prioritizing “the creation of psychologically brave spaces that will allow for in-depth and transformative dialogue,” Heinz and Adiedo wrote, and is reviewing its management and leadership approaches “to align with the needs of a race- and gender-equitable workplace.
“This is demanding and deeply personal work, and yet it is not optional if we are to become an anti-racist and anti-sexist institution. We have shifted from seeing DEI efforts as additional work to seeing it as the paradigm that shapes how we work.”