LIFT’s work to break generational cycles of poverty is rooted in a long and painful history of injustices – from slavery to Jim Crow to redlining – built into systems and policies that have effectively marginalized and stripped access to wealth building for communities of color (Black, Indigenous, Latinx/a/o/e and AAPI). As we seek to reduce barriers to success for the parents we partner with, we are compelled to address these root causes of structural racism and the growing racial wealth gap.
LIFT has intentionally chosen to put a Race, Equity, and Inclusion (RE&I) lens at the center of our work. Our evolution is over a decade long including an equity audit, board and staff trainings and retreats, analysis of talent practices, organizational assessments, thought leadership and publications on our learnings, and the formation of our Race, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. With a strong foundation in place, we also acknowledge that the more progress is made, the more we uncover the work still needed.
We promise to continue learning to bring healing and justice as a necessary function of our efforts to bring economic mobility to LIFT members. Externally, we will elevate LIFT members’ voices and experiences to dismantle economic systems rooted in racist practices and ideologies that perpetuate poverty. To advance racial equity within the organization, we are dedicated to becoming more introspective about implicit biases and white dominant cultural norms that impact the lives of staff- especially staff of color – and the members with whom we work, and prioritizing changes to improve as we learn.
We recognize that other forms of oppression in this country have been patterned after racial oppression, and that there is intersectionality among our identities that impact power dynamics in a significant way. As such, while we focus on race, our work will include learnings and discussions representing other identity groups while establishing the foundational understanding of race inequity.
We will apply a race equity lens to overall business operations
- Finance, Technology and Talent: We use an REI lens in our work to support LIFT staff in disrupting white dominant systems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty and contribute to persistent inequity. We do this by providing services that are kind, flexible, equitable, and ensure that LIFT’s partners, vendors, and employees reflect LIFT’s REI expectations. Our goals highlight the foremost importance of REI work in our daily activities.
- Development and Communications: Using community-centric fundraising principles, we intentionally create opportunities for equitable exchange and mutually beneficial experiences between LIFT families and external supporters. In addition, we are committed to sharing the stories of our member families with dignity and integrity. By centering our storytelling in the strength and self-efficacy of our members, we disrupt harmful narratives that frame low-income families as weak and non-profits as saviors.
- Program: we approach our programming with parents and caregivers holistically and with humility. We understand that trust is an earned privilege, and building strong relationships helps us work alongside parents and caregivers as experts on what is best for themselves and their families. We elevate their strengths while we partner with them in defining and achieving their goals to disrupt generational cycles of poverty. We recognize that historical systems have unjustly worked against the economic mobility of Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and thus, we are intentional in building our internal team as well as external partnerships; we are committed to ensuring the people and organizations we collaborate with are representative of and invested in supporting our members. We celebrate our dedicated coaches, who are the foundation of our program, for their investment in disrupting systems to create transformative change.
- National and Regional board: We understand that LIFT’s REI work is integral to strengthening our mission and overall business operations. We acknowledge the privilege we bring and will engage in active learning on how to lend that privilege to dismantle structures of inequity in support of leadership, to better serve LIFT members, and in strategic decisions regarding LIFT’s impact and growth.
To ensure that our actions, policies, and decisions fully align with LIFT values of equity, diversity, relationships, excellence, and hope, we will remain steadfast and examine all the places where we are missing the mark. We will hold ourselves accountable with love providing brave spaces where inclusion and a sense of belonging become the norm, where diversity is embraced, and equity is the result of all we do.