InDEEP stands for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Environmental Philanthropy, and it was launched in 2017 under the auspices of my organization, Keecha Harris and Associates, Inc. of Birmingham, Ala.

Today, it is a professional development series that engages a network of foundation staff, including senior leaders, who are committed to integrating racial equity and social justice throughout their environmental philanthropy.

Research shows that climate change will disproportionately impact people of color and people living in poverty (often the same demographic group) in communities around the world. It is imperative that funders working to bring about environmental stability and resilience do so with an explicit racial equity lens and vocabulary.

It is also crucial that these organizations be well prepared to work with the people and places that are at the center of environmental justice.

Galvanized by the data, our organization hosted a one-day Peer Learning Exchange (PLE) in January 2017, coupled with a People of Color Convening. We brought together 30 environmental funders from 22 environmental foundations to begin a conversation. In the ensuing (nearly) three years, InDEEP has reached nearly 400 leaders and staff at 129 foundations.

For 2019, the InDEEP Initiative has focused much of its programming on working with the Embedding Equity Community of Practice (EECoP). While we continue to offer other learning opportunities to the field such as webinars, one-day DEI intensives, online engagement through our equity truthteller series, and the ongoing evaluation of the initiative, the EECoP has honed its in-person offerings to create an experience wherein participants are engaged for two years on a deep level of personal, professional, and organizational exploration relative to diversity, racial equity, and inclusion.

Read the full article about racial equality in environmental justice by Vanessa Farrell at Johnson Center.