WHAT TO EXPECT
In 2019 the Ed & Nancy Hanenburg Children’s Advocacy Center of Ottawa County officially launched the first-ever internal Diversity Team, consisting of self-selected staff and board members from the CAC who want to ensure that we provide a space that is equitable and inclusive for staff and clients. The decision to create this team came from the Executive Director and has been highly supported by staff members.
The CAC already provides excellent, best-practice services to individuals and families in the community. However, we recognize that there is always more to learn. Therefore, we are striving towards an environment in which every community member who interacts with the CAC knows that their opinions, ideas, and identities are included and welcomed, that they are safe and respected, and that we consistently provide equitable services for all clients.
Internally, we are working to build a team that more accurately reflects the clients we work with. To do this sustainably, we are building an environment that values and actively works towards diversity, equity, and inclusion for all staff, board, and MDT members.
Recently, new practices have been implemented around recruitment and hiring to work towards these goals. Blind hiring practices, which are used by a variety of businesses and organizations in the West Michigan area and around the nation, have been shown to reduce implicit bias in the hiring process, and overall increase staff diversity in the long-term.
Other recent initiatives include translating the entire CAC website into Spanish, becoming members of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, supporting and attending the Holland Hispanic Festival and PRIDE Festival, providing internal staff training around diversity, equity and inclusion both on-site and in the community, creating an internal Diversity Resource Library, and more.
Funding for these initiatives began when the Executive Director and board agreed to hire a part-time Diversity Director to lead these efforts. Additionally, Herman Miller has provided generous grant funding to support the Diversity Team’s first-year efforts, which was bolstered by an additional private donation.