The Racial Equity Task Force - An Introduction

At The Foundation for Delaware County we believe that understanding the truth of each others’ experiences offers us the opportunity to grow into our better selves, and to write a better story together. One quality that makes our community – The Foundation for Delaware County, Delaware County, and our country – strong is our human capacity to embrace truth, learn from it, take responsibility, and choose to rethink and correct our course when necessary.

Racism is a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Embedded in our laws, systems, and structures, racism creates profound inequities that have negative impacts so pervasive that our nation’s scientific and public health experts now recognize it threatens the health of individuals and in fact the public health of our communities and nation. Even as we do not absolve individuals of the atrocities they have committed, we recognize that the manifestations of a system of racism are deeply woven into our nation’s history and therefore not always obvious to all. We recognize and declare that racism is a public health crisis that we must all confront and work to address.

At this point, distrust is generational. Without trust in each other and our institutions, we will not be able to build the community and democracy that we envision and know to be possible. We need to commit to creating a foundational shift so great that each individual regardless of race trusts that they are and will be treated with humanity and dignity. Individuals deserve to be their whole, healthy, and thriving selves.

No one group can achieve equity for this country. We all must save ourselves and each other. We can all be better, and we will all be better for it.

The Foundation for Delaware County embraces and commits to the work of racial equity with patience, humility, determination, vulnerability, and hope. bell hooks defines love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” The Foundation for Delaware County courageously commits to the work of racial equity with deep love for this community, its citizenry, and our collective potential. It is our right and our responsibility.

The Vision and Goals

The Racial Equity Task Force of The Foundation for Delaware County envisions a community in which justice and equity are experienced by every individual and within every organization. To accomplish this Vision, the task force will:

  1. Identify and offer opportunities for individuals to grow their own understanding of what it will take to achieve equity and the role they can choose to play personally.
  2. Review, assess, and create organizational policies and practices to achieve equity within the programs and operations of the foundation.
  3. Convene individuals and entities throughout Delaware County and engage the community in conversations about what it will take to achieve and sustain equity and justice.

The History

On July 28, 2020, the Board of Directors and Staff of The Foundation for Delaware County met, via Zoom, to discuss racial equity. There were three primary goals for the discussion:

  • Start a conversation that will continue beyond today.
  • Begin to vision who we want to be individually and as an organization.
  • Begin to vision the community we want to work to create.

79 individuals, including a facilitator, participated in that Zoom discussion, which was followed up by a survey, rooted in two key questions:

  • What will it take to create a Board and Staff community that is actively engaged in the pursuit of racial equity within The Foundation for Delaware County?
  • In what ways might The Foundation for Delaware County play a role in strengthening Delaware County by driving and supporting efforts to achieve greater racial equity?

That frank and honest discussion captured the urgent need for action and launched the Racial Equity Task Force. Made up of five board members and five staff members from across departments, the Task Force is eager to hear your suggestions of how you think the foundation can play a role in creating a racially equitable Delaware County.

Many people may rightly say, “I had nothing to do with how this all started. I have nothing to do with the sins of the past. My ancestors never attacked indigenous people, never owned slaves.” And, yes. Not one of us was here when this house was built. Our immediate ancestors may have had nothing to do with it, but here we are, the current occupants of a property with stress cracks and bowed walls and fissures built into the foundation. We are the heirs to whatever is right or wrong with it. We did not erect the uneven pillars or joists, but they are ours to deal with now. And any further deterioration is, in fact, on our hands.

Isabel Wilkerson Author of Caste: The Origins of our Discontents