Working toward diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Upper Valley nonprofit sector
This program operated from January to June 2023.
What is the Upper Valley Equity Exchange?
The Upper Valley Equity Exchange (UVEX) project took place in winter and spring 2023 and provided a space for the region’s nonprofit organizations to work toward being just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive in service to the community. The scope was multi-faceted and intersectional, including race, class, gender, LGBTQIA+, and ability, among others.
The project was guided by a Community Advisory Group consisting of members including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, class, recovery, and educational diversity. Primary responsibilities of the CAG included:
- The selection of the participating organizations committed to creating these action plans and creating a community of practice for collaborative accountability.
- The recruitment and selection of the consultants who will design and execute the program: BIPOC-owned and –led consultancies are strongly preferred.
The goal was for participating nonprofits to create specific, substantive action plans to address internal operations, board culture and governance, and program implementation. These action plans were informed by a multi-session orientation to systemic and institutional racism and best practices for institutional change.
About the Community Advisory Group
- The Community Advisory Group (CAG) consisted of five to seven people from the Upper Valley who have diverse backgrounds, including at least race, class, education level, age, gender, and sexual orientation. Recruitment for the group placed an emphasis on emerging voices to ensure authentic representation.
- Vital Communities staff worked with consultants and partners whose work and networks help them engage individuals who, as a group, met the criteria above.
- Gathered CAG members also determined who was not yet represented and how it might invite them into the group.
- Members of the CAG were compensated at a professional consultant hourly rate
- The CAG’s primary responsibilities were to:
- Determine the process and selection criteria of the nonprofit organizations to participate in the UVEX pilot in 2023
- Determine the process and selection criteria for the consultants who will run the learning sessions and action-planning sessions
- Participate in evaluating the program with an eye toward improving the model for the future
Selection of the Nonprofits
The application process and selection criteria were determined by the CAG in coordination with Vital Communities staff and were clearly articulated. The process included:
- Announcement of the program and the application process
- Determination of the rubric by which applications were evaluated
- Suggested criteria for the composition of each organization’s participating leadership team
- An application form that included at least the following information: the organization’s desire to engage in this work, the demographics of the populations with whom they work, and the anticipated/desired change in the organization.
Selection of the Consultants
The Request for Proposals (RFP) process for consultants and criteria for selecting them was determined by the CAG in coordination with Vital Communities staff and was clearly articulated.
- The CAG, in coordination with Vital Communities staff, determined the rubric by which consultants’ proposals were evaluated
- The RFP included:
- Emphasis on expertise on racial/intersectional equity and on organizational development. Successful applications could include either or both sets of skills and experience.
- The requirement that consultants articulate the desired outcome of this cohort with a few high-level bullet points defining success.