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CFO Stories

Enriching all through Inclusive Excellence

By Olive Thompson

Newly adapted program promotes community success by valuing and engaging richness of diversity

As Program Coordinator at the CFO, Krista Moncado plays a vital role in grantmaking administration for the Musgrave Foundation. At Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Tyree Davis IV serves in the relatively new role of Community Diversity and Equity Coordinator.

Before the two ever met in person — and despite working in offices only 400 feet apart — Moncado and Davis had already worked together to create a plan for nonprofits to implement diversity and equity practices in the workplace — no easy feat.

Communicating through virtual meetings, phone calls and text messages, Moncado and Davis adapted the Inclusive Excellence model, originally designed for colleges and universities, into a pilot program for nonprofit organizations.

In March, the two were finally able to meet in person for the first time.

Taking shape, taking action

Months earlier, following the murder of George Floyd, the CFO, CPO and United Way of the Ozarks issued a statement expressing each organization’s dedication to denounce and work to end systemic racism and discrimination in our community. For several years, the CFO has included diversity and inclusion efforts as part of its annual grantmaking focus, but had not taken concrete steps to examine its own organization for potential shortcomings. As part of its 2020 action plan, the CFO — along with CPO and UWO — would implement a form of the Inclusive Excellence model of diversity, equity and inclusion training for all staff members.

For both Moncado and Davis, striving towards diversity and inclusion has deep personal meaning that helped inform many facets of the program.

“It is important to me because I am a Black man in America. I cannot remove my blackness. In every facet of my life, I am Black. In my professional life, my personal life — there’s no separation of that,” Davis remarked. “Sometimes we think the Civil Rights era was so long ago, and it wasn’t. And I know what it is like to not see people that look like me in positions of power. And I think that this position allows us to get in and preach the importance of this work.”

Training starts with staff teams

As the test subjects for Moncado and Davis’ adaptation of Inclusive Excellence, CFO staff participated in three sessions of interactive diversity and equity training. Topics included identifying implicit biases, systemic racism and understanding issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.

A significant component of the training focused on setting and working towards both individual and departmental goals to help members of all identities feel welcome and valued. As a result, staff members had “accountability partners” to help each other participate in the difficult discussions surrounding discrimination and how to make strides to be more inclusive in and out of the workplace.

While the topics surrounding discrimination, implicit biases and racism are uncomfortable for most, Moncado was pleased to see significant productive conversations during the training.

“Our biggest win was several folks commenting they initially were dreading the training, but were surprised at how quickly the time went by,” Moncado says.

“Other feedback I was surprised by was that by intentionally creating a space to discuss uncomfortable topics, the awkwardness was lessened,” she added. “That allowed individuals to focus internally, letting go of worries about how they will be perceived by others, reaching the root of why and how they navigate the world in the way they do.”

CFO President and CEO Brian Fogle also found the training to be insightful, and appreciated the opportunity to contemplate opportunities for improvement within the CFO.

“Self-reflection is certainly part of our internal work on diversity, equity and inclusion,” Fogle said. “We bring our learned and lived experiences to all issues, and may not have the right toolkit for addressing other’s questions, too, about issues surrounding DEI work. The Inclusive Excellence model provides that framework.”

Moncado’s and Davis’ Inclusive Excellence adaptation for nonprofits is now ready to be implemented at the CFO’s nonprofit agencies partners across the region.

This story is featured in the summer 2021 edition of Passion & Purpose: The CFO Magazine.

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