This statement seeks to summarize the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s perspective on why racial and intersectional equity (RIE) and inclusion matter to our work; our commitment to challenging persistent inequities wherever and however they present in the U.S. and worldwide, including within domestic and international structures and systems; the values that guide our efforts to operationalize our commitment to RIE; what we have done thus far and how we plan to continue our efforts to become a fully inclusive, anti-racist organization.
Our RIE Vision
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s board and staff envision an anti-racist organization guided by values that promote and nurture racial justice, intersectional equity, and the empowerment of disenfranchised and marginalized people and communities in all the work we do.
Racism is persistent and entrenched. It has shaped the lived experience, life outcomes and disparities for people worldwide, and it remains present in our day-to-day lives.
CDP recognizes the systemic social, health, economic and political disparities and the harrowing injustices that are pervasive in all aspects of life for racialized or marginalized persons and communities.
We acknowledge that systems and institutions perpetuate racism and marginalization for specific populations that disasters exacerbate. We recognize these structural inequities are by design and need to be torn out by their very roots.
CDP recognizes that race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, nationality, immigration, socioeconomic status and other identities are complex and intersect in ways that can exacerbate or mitigate against unjust and inequitable outcomes.
In alignment with CDP’s vision and mission, we seek to uphold the following values. These values reflect who we are as individuals, how we do what we do in pursuit of our mission and our aspirations for doing better.
We value the expertise, experience, role and contributions of communities affected by disasters, grantee partners, collaborators, clients and team members. We believe that local populations – especially racialized or marginalized people – are best positioned to lead conversations and determine the path toward strengthening their communities and equitable recovery.
We are deeply committed to learning from communities, leaders and other experts and sharing their wisdom with the broader philanthropic community. We value honest feedback from each other and our community partners as we practice intentional self-reflection and organizational growth.
We passionately believe that vulnerability is often a social construct based on systemic and historical discriminatory policies, rules and regulations that reduce access to social capital.
We believe that the path toward stronger, vibrant communities requires us to call out the root causes of inequities and injustices that stand in the way of full equitable recovery while also supporting organizations leading social change.
Relationship Building & Collaboration
We cherish building and fostering relationships within our community of practice, recognizing the importance of collaboration, exchange and mutual learning.
Words and Images Matter
We believe that language and images can undermine or enhance the deeper analysis required to advance recovery and develop lasting solutions.
To achieve our vision and uphold the values of an RIE-centered organization in all that we do, including our funds, educational resources, consulting services, internal culture, collaborations and processes, CDP board and staff pledge to lead by example by:
- Continuing to learn from and following the lead of underrepresented and underserved communities for when, where and how we support our communities.
- Investing in the capacity, programs and advocacy efforts of organizations led by or accountable to Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities, and other marginalized groups.
- Using our voice and privilege to raise awareness of issues facing racialized or marginalized populations through public and private statements, through our storytelling, within our grantmaking and openly in our partnership and funder discussions.
- Encouraging grantee partners to provide access to culturally competent training and comprehensive information resources on racial intersectional equity approaches to their frontline workers.
- Being attentive to the words and images we use in our programming and advocacy.
- Creating an inclusive work environment that is open and receptive to individual expression, honest constructive feedback and uncomfortable conversations.
- Standing in solidarity with other allies against racism, white supremacy, gendered violence and violence against racialized and other marginalized communities.
- Acknowledging that to achieve this vision, we must lead by example, addressing systemic social and political disparities as part of a holistic and intersectional approach to securing long-term equitable recovery after disasters.
Our Journey So Far
Since its inception, CDP has understood that some individuals and communities are at greater risk and vulnerability in times of disasters and advocated for enhanced service priority. In 2018, we defined the importance of infusing a diversity, equity and inclusion approach into our culture and decision-making. Including this commitment in our Board-approved strategic plan in 2020, CDP adapted our recruitment process, reviewed our human resources policies, including compensation against industry peers, held staff trainings and engaged in courageous conversations about our culture. Externally, we amplified our voice as public allies against injustice and proactively explored how to adapt our grantmaking. In 2021, based on a staff survey, CDP adopted a race and intersectional equity lens.
Some of the specific steps that CDP is taking to operationalize its commitment to racial and intersectional equity, and be representative of the populations we serve are:
- Increasing staff, leadership and board diversity.
- Facilitating the learning of staff and board.
- Reviewing and developing a shared understanding of important terms we use in our work.
- Communicating our progress and reflections on our equity journey internally and with our community.
This public statement is to reinforce our long-term commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization. We look forward to working with you; we welcome your suggestions and invite you to keep us accountable.
 Recognizing that RIE may be perceived as a U.S.-centric frame, CDP’s commitment is to challenge persistent inequities and injustices wherever and however they present, including within the international structures and systems mandated to assist. This includes recognizing the challenges of differing tribal affiliations, ethnicities, and religions, as well as colorism or shadism within races.