Reflections: Helping Organizations Enhance DEI

Colby Cyrus explains how a new grant opportunity was designed to help organizations enhance diversity, equity & inclusion.

Reflections: Our Personal & Professional Efforts Toward Racial Equity is a monthly blog. Each month, we will reflect on what we are doing either personally or professionally to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in our work. View more

View our Equity Values & Commitment


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) means different things to different people. I have given considerable thought recently to not only how I define DEI, but how I can become better at talking about it. I think it comes down to this: true DEI encompasses intentional efforts to create and sustain the conditions for everyone to thrive. The key word here is intentional. It is purposefully doing everything we can to elevate the voices of the historically marginalized, and to translate their perspectives into action. At the Central New York Community Foundation, we are developing grant opportunities for organizations to do just that.

Key to our vision of a Central New York with opportunity for everyone are deliberate efforts to address structural racism and other inequities. This commitment is infused into our strategic plan, programmatic design, and workplace culture. With this in mind, the Community Foundation encourages organizations to take the next steps in their DEI journeys through our new Internal Diversity Equity & Action (IDEA) grant opportunity. This new program is ideal for organizations that are already on the path to creating and sustaining an equitable and inclusive workplace and service delivery. IDEA is centered around encouraging organizations to take the next step in putting their DEI efforts into action.

Eligible organizations can apply for a grant up to $10,000 to engage in activities that will build on their initial DEI work. This could include cultural competency work with the staff or board, leadership consultation, training for managers, and a variety of other activities. Organizations applying should describe their initial staff and/or board training around structural racism, engagements in efforts to diversify their staff and/or board, participation in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) at the staff and/or board levels, or completion of a similar assessment.

We encourage you to speak with us if you feel your organization is ready to operationalize DEI. Give us a call at 315-883-5554 or send us an email at grants@cnycf.org to discuss. We look forward to working with you to help fulfill your organization’s DEI goals and to help us meet our mission of fostering a thriving Central New York community.

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