Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The Chesapeake Bay Trust has a mission to promote the public awareness and participation of all local residents in the restoration and protection of our region’s natural resources through its grant making. In order to achieve its mission and fully perform as an organization, the Trust commits to:

  • Fostering the inclusion of individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to, age, gender, race, creed, ethnicity, national origin, religious beliefs, physical abilities, sexual orientation, military service, citizenship, and socioeconomic status in all of the endeavors of the Trust.
  • Expanding the dialogue between diverse communities that lead to new collaborations and identify co-benefits of environmental and community projects.
  • Partnering with grantees, donors, vendors, and others who also recognize the importance of increasing diversity in efforts to restore and protect our natural resources and seek new ways to promote inclusion.
  • Learning and sharing best practices that increase the inclusion of all local residents in the ongoing effort to restore our natural resources and our communities.

The grant award from the Trust’s Watershed Assistance Grant Program allowed our organization to build excitement in our community of Forest Park for green spaces. The residents now have enthusiasm to become better environmental stewards. The process of sustaining the environmental stewardship sentiment is contingent upon many factors, not the least of which is visible investment in neighborhoods.

Laurence CampbellPresident WBC Community Development Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland

The Family Tree Adoption Program planted trees and engaged citizens in Riverdale, Bladensburg, Landover, Glendale, Hyattsville, and Mount Rainier. The Prince George’s Stormwater Stewardship grant program funding allowed us to extend our nonprofit’s reach and to learn more about tree planting and the maintenance needed to keep trees healthy. We will build on this work and continue to engage citizens with a recent award to Global Health Education Projects, Inc.

Romuladus E. Azuine, Ph.D.Executive Director, Global Health Education Projects, Inc.

The Trust’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

In order to meet these goals, the Trust’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative was launched in 2008. Our efforts to engage diverse communities are overseen by our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a subcommittee of our Board of Trustees along with 10 outside diversity experts.

We take the following steps to ensure engagement with diverse communities:

  • Maintain a tracking system to quantify key demographics of our grantees and the audiences they serve.
  • Require all grant program Technical Review Committees to include members from diverse communities.
  • Hire “connector” groups to carry our message and relay what our opportunities can do for key communities.  We have hired connector groups to engage predominantly African-American groups, Latino audiences, faith-based communities, and groups within the human health sector.
  • Include language on all of our grant program Requests for Proposals (RFPs) encouraging applicants of color and those working with communities of color to apply.
  • Follow a procurement policy for our non-grant work which requires outreach to MBE/WBE/DBE firms that is more stringent than that of the federal government.
  • Provide incentives for seasoned grantees to serve as mentors to new applicants.
  • Restructure grant programs as appropriate to ensure that we continue to serve diverse communities. For example, we transformed our Community Engagement Mini Grant Program to be only accessible to new applicants. We also changed the language of this opportunity to prioritize community improvements, a recommendation from our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

These efforts have proven to be effective. In FY08 when our initiative began, only 10% of our awards engaged people of color.  Today, 59% of the K-12 students engaged by its grants are students of color, slightly higher than the percentage of students of color in Maryland (57%).   Thirty-one percent of teachers engaged by Trust grants are people of color, while only 18% of the region’s teachers are of color.  Forty-nine percent of volunteers engaged in Trust grants are people of color, compared to the demographics of Maryland indicating that 41% of Marylanders are people of color.  While we do not have target percentages or specific goals, we have a general goal of ensuring that our grants serve the demographics of our region.

Next Steps

In 2015, our Diversity and Inclusion Committee identified three under-engaged audiences the Trust should engage more in grant-making:

  • communities of color,
  • faith-based communities, and
  • human health sector.

The Trust is devoted to maintaining our diversity in grant-making and identifying audiences who should be more engaged.  Our position is that ALL residents benefit from healthy natural resources, and, in turn, all residents have the opportunity to benefit natural resources.  For these two reasons, the Trust will continue to reach out to a wide range of audiences.

EcoLatinos is proud to be an Outreach Consultant for the Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement Mini-Grant program. As participants of the CBT Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, we are reaching out to applicants, organizations and congregations from Spanish speaking, under-resourced communities, and communities of color to make CBT funding available to all. Access to this program fulfills our mission to empower our communities by creating culturally sensitive and equitable connections founded on the principle that a clean environment is a universal right.

Ruby StemmleFounder and CEO, EcoLatinos