Working toward diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Upper Valley nonprofit sector
What is the Upper Valley Equity Exchange?
The Upper Valley Equity Exchange (UVEX) will provide a space for the region’s nonprofit organizations to work toward being just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive in service to the community. The scope is multi-faceted and intersectional, including race, class, gender, LGBTQIA+, and ability, among others.
The project will be guided by a Community Advisory Group consisting of members including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, class, recovery, and educational diversity. Primary responsibilities of the CAG include:
- 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 is for participating nonprofits to create specific, substantive action plans to address internal operations, board culture and governance, and program implementation. These action plans will be informed by a multi-session orientation to systemic and institutional racism and best practices for institutional change.
While Vital Communities is facilitating the implementation of UVEX, we are not subject experts nor are we a model for this work. We recognize that Vital Communities is an institution that needs to learn and change fundamentally. We must integrate the feedback we’ve received, listen for more and act on what we learn. We hope to share this journey with other nonprofits.
Program duration for a first cohort: Winter through Spring 2023
About the Community Advisory Group
- The Community Advisory Group (CAG) consists 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 places an emphasis on emerging voices to ensure authentic representation.
- Vital Communities staff will work with consultants and partners whose work and networks will help us engage individuals who, as a group, meet the criteria above.
- Gathered CAG members also will determine who is not yet represented and how we might invite them into the group.
- Members of the CAG will be compensated at a professional consultant hourly rate
- The CAG’s primary responsibilities will be 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 will be determined by the CAG in coordination with Vital Communities staff and will be clearly articulated. The process will include:
- Announcement of the program and the application process
- Determination of the rubric by which applications will be evaluated
- Suggested criteria for the composition of each organization’s participating leadership team
- An application form that includes 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 will be determined by the CAG in coordination with Vital Communities staff and will be clearly articulated.
- The CAG, in coordination with Vital Communities staff, will determine the rubric by which consultants’ proposals will be evaluated
- The RFP will include:
- Emphasis on expertise on racial/intersectional equity and on organizational development. Successful applications can 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.