Making a Case for Small and Rural DEI in Today’s Multicultural Funding Environment
with Lee Mozena, Zena Consulting LLC
Meeting the bar for DEI may seem like an impossible mission for small, rural, and coastal non-profits, given the field’s current emphasis on racial/ethnic and gender identity. The first category favors multicultural, urban areas and the second requires a metric that’s hard to capture in non-urban communities, (where publicly ‘outing’ LGBTQ residents can increase their vulnerability or result in discrimination).
Adding to the confusion and challenge, funders in all sectors are increasingly asking that outcomes meet ill-defined and hard to measure factors, such as ‘Accessibility’, ‘Respect’, and ‘Belonging’. Each acronym in the DEI equation can be a barrier that impacts your ability to compete for resources, meet already limited capacity, serve those most in need, and fulfill your mission.
- Define what DEI (and other acronyms) means to your organization, program recipients, and realistic capacity, versus sector standards that may not align directly with your geographic and socioeconomic realities.
- Be more comfortable talking about your DEI (and other acronyms) strengths, so you can pursue realistic and measurable goals.
- Find four part strategy and other tools, data, and resources for further learning, or finding potential partners (locally and beyond).