At The Colorado Health Foundation, we are relentlessly committed to advancing health equity and believe it exists when there are no avoidable, unfair or systemically-caused differences in health status. To live into this, we have implemented principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into our vision and cornerstones, and our daily operations.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving equity, we are learning that all our staff must use situational analysis to ensure decisions, tools, and methods address the issues and contexts in which we work. For example, foundation staff often think about the intentional and unintentional assumptions, beliefs and behaviors we individually exhibit about race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, socioeconomic status and religious beliefs. We strive to be mindful of how systemic biases manifest at an organizational level through collective decision-making, practices, policies, and cultural norms.

We are paying attention to practices that occur among institutions and systems that exclude and harm members of groups based on one or more of their identities. As we have worked to center equity, we have shifted to a network- and systems-thinking mindset, requiring critical thinking to understand the complex and changing contexts in which we operate, and the impact of our mental models on our ability to understand and apply information to our work. Using information from the external environment and an understanding of our own biases cultivates stronger discernment.

While we are not experts, we can offer a glimpse of what some of this experimentation looks like in practice in our grantmaking, evaluation, and communications functions.

Read the full article about DEI practices at a foundation by Jehan Benton-Clark, Taryn Fort, and Kelci Price at Grantmakers In Health.