NeighborWorks Umpqua Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement
At NeighborWorks Umpqua, we provide quality housing, community development, property management, financial services, education, and advocacy in order to attain economic, social and environmental sustainability, and equity. This is our mission, and equity is a part of it.
Historically, government policies, federal and state laws restricted people of color from buying homes in particular neighborhoods, regardless of their ability to pay, through practices such as racial covenants or redlining. As a result, they have been shut out of asset building and opportunities for transferable wealth generation. Today’s exclusions are less overt, but the impact of policies designed to sustain racial inequality in terms of housing, asset building and credit remain, thus limiting the opportunities of communities of color across the nation and also in our service area.
In order to fulfill our mission, we must address inequities in its many forms that disproportionately impact people who are socio-economically disadvantaged, communities of color, immigrant communities, indigenous people, women and LGBTQ+ communities, religious minorities, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Matter
Racism and other forms of discrimination are embedded in our culture and in how our institutions operate. People have varying degrees of understanding about the magnitude of disparities and the factors that contribute to them, but the data show that the legacy of racism and other forms of discrimination continue to influence public policies, institutional practices, and beliefs. The work of individuals and our organization is not to be defensive but to understand that systems of privilege and power work unconsciously. Without active, explicit intention, policies and practices that support and perpetuate racism and other forms of discrimination embedded in our collective cultures and institutions will continue to do so. NeighborWorks Umpqua must be part of the solution. By investing in dismantling these systems, we are investing in stronger communities and a brighter future for all.
We want our services to be open and welcoming for everyone. We commit to having the moral and ethical courage to continuously strive for equity and institute substantive social change through our work. As a community partner, we will be humble and open, so that we can learn with the community, and we will strive to be a beacon of excellence.
As an organization we will:
- Foster a culture that values principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity;
- Ensure our practices and processes align with advancing diversity, equity and inclusion;
- Intentionally cultivate an inclusive staff, management team, and board that value and represent diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences;
- Engage the people and communities most impacted by societal disparities in areas that are core to our mission — housing, community development, and financial sustainability;
- Work to identify systemic barriers and opportunities to strengthen our communities, and we will advocate for systems change.
Board Approved October 2019