Giving Compass' Take:

• Chantal Forster and Satonya Fair discuss how the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion training for operations staff can negatively impact a foundation.

• How can DEI training improve your grantmaking process?

• Read more about the beginning of meaningful DEI efforts.

Not every foundation has shifted toward a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), but fortunately, many have. That said, there seems to be a glaring miss amidst all this DEI work.

Of those who work in technology-related departments of philanthropic organizations, forty percent of respondents acknowledged not having any DEI training, nearly 70 percent of IT departments have not been offered training on unconscious bias, and 51 percent of IT departments don’t have DEI programs in place.

Clearly, there is often more DEI training within program teams that are frequently deployed in diverse communities. But DEI training also needs to be emphasized for operations staff to ensure they can fully contribute potential solutions for those we serve.

The nation has witnessed the humiliation and distress at companies that ensues when a lack of diversity on a technology project leads to an AI or IT blunder. For example, an Apple Watch would not initially work on the skin of African Americans; a Microsoft Uber facial recognition system couldn’t recognize the faces of transgender people; and a Google Photos program erroneously identified black people as gorillas. Is philanthropy unwittingly incurring similar biases in its systems, processes and interfaces by not prioritizing DEI within its operations teams?

While the DEI journey is long, we urge foundation leadership to intentionally expand the focus of their internal work to include IT teams and the broader operations side of the house. Let’s ensure that digital systems, data and technology-driven innovation are the best they can be. Let’s develop them in partnership with the communities we serve. Let’s ensure they’re approachable for all education levels, available in multiple languages, and accessible in a variety of ways by a variety of people at all income levels, backgrounds and ableness.

Read the full article about how foundations should increase DEI training in operations by Chantal Forster and Satonya Fair at Peak Grantmaking.