DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION AT BBBSKC
Our Statement and Commitments
If you’ve followed Big Brothers Big Sisters for many years, you are likely aware that in 2018 we went through a national rebrand and came out of it with a new core belief: Together, We are Defenders of Potential. It’s this renewed focus and the acknowledgement of all that has happened in the last 12 months that we are joining many other organizations in re-thinking how our values and actions are contributing to true diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The past year, we’ve watched and experienced violence, racial inequities, and a global pandemic. These events have changed us and our history forever. It is our responsibility to create the positive change we want to see in the world. As an organization, we want to examine what we can do differently, how we can evolve, and how we can do even more for our Littles, Bigs, staff, and community supporters, specifically our communities of color and culture.
In the summer of 2020, we began conversations with our staff and Board members regarding our plan to examine our work and put together an extensive DEI strategic plan. We quickly brought on a national expert to help guide us through our DEI process and began our contract with Cultural Strategist, Dionne King, in 2020. With Dionne’s leadership and the input from our DEI Advisory Board, staff, Board of Directors, Big Impact Group, and Donation Center Board, we are rolling out a new statement and set of commitments to hold us accountable to this important work. Through our initial in-depth DEI assessment, we learned that some of the work had already been started and just needed a renewed focus, while other work hadn’t been given the attention it deserves.
We are still in the beginning stages of this work, and it will be an on-going, evolving process. After the completion of our DEI Strategic plan, we hope to roll out Phase 2 of these commitments that will have measurable goals attached to each action. We aren’t there yet, but it is a priority. We would like to share our Phase 1 statement and commitments with you now and pledge to you that this is and will continue to be a part of our mission and everyday work at BBBSKC.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City (BBBSKC) believes that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential parts of our mission to defend potential for kids in our community. We strive to embrace true representation in our brand, diversity of people and perspectives, and inclusion in all areas of our organization so we can make a generational impact on our community through life-changing friendships.
Genuine diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts come from not just words, but actions. In an effort to hold ourselves and others accountable, we are announcing new and ongoing commitments to create an inclusive culture and pledge to do more to support our staff, Littles, families and the greater community.
We recognize that we can do more and that change won’t happen overnight, but we’re in this for the long haul — we want the work we do to create a lasting, positive impact. We welcome feedback on how we can be better. Please reach out to anyone on our Executive Leadership Team (contact info below) to share your thoughts.
Our commitments and work to-date include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Carrying out our mission of matching Bigs and Littles in long term, life-changing friendships.
- Continue to bridge gaps and bring people of different backgrounds together.
- Supporting Matches with conversations, education, resources, and training from the moment of acceptance into the program until the conclusion of the Match.
- Welcoming and intentionally recruiting volunteers and children of all races, gender identities and sexual orientations into our program.
- Commitment of the BBBSKC Executive Team, Leadership Team, and entire staff to be intentional about infusing and prioritizing DEI in every project and interaction that our teams carry out.
- Partner with DEI consultant Dionne King for a full assessment and the development of a long-term DEI strategic plan.
- Regularly seek out new perspectives on our DEI efforts through surveys, listening sessions, small groups, etc.
- Intentionally and strategically recruit and promote diverse staff and board members.
- Empower three full-time Brand Ambassadors dedicated to cultivating our reputation and relationships in all communities.
- Prioritize establishing long-term partnerships with female and minority-owned businesses and organizations including providing them with paid interns at no cost to them.
- Prioritize working with vendors that are minority and women owned.
- Designate funds to assess, inform, and strengthen our DEI efforts through training, events, and community engagement.
- Partner with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board and reaffirm its central role in the work that we do and aspire to do.
- Research and implement additional policies focused on diversity, inclusion and belonging to create a more inclusive workplace culture.
- Steward and enhance our staff mentorship program among staff to cultivate talent and create a safe space for all employees to be heard and developed.
- Develop and execute ongoing DEI education curriculum for staff.
- Continue to provide a staff hotline to express concerns safely and confidentially.
- Promote our system to provide on-going anonymous feedback and questions to our CEO.
- Commit to exceptional representation and inclusion in marketing materials through feedback sessions, inclusive design, and ongoing evaluation.
- Engage in professional, local, and national DEI programs to learn and evolve as an agency.
- Ensure that the sponsors, partners, and donors that we work with are aligned with our core values.
- Utilize internal “Allies” staff committee to produce innovative ways to support, educate, and involve our staff in DEI efforts.
- Hold ourselves accountable to make progress, track that progress, and communicate that progress to our staff, board, and community.
Contact Information of Executive Staff:
Micheal Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer, 816.777.2888
Erica Ostroski, Chief Operating Officer, 816.777.2880
Tiffany Stuck, Chief Development Officer, 816.777.2872
Tonya Jackson, Chief Program Officer, 816.777.2875
Kristi Hutchison, Chief Marketing Officer, 816.777.2871
BBBSKC does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member), or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.