Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Update on FGC Institutional Assessment on Racism

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Please Note: The following emails are from Sharon Lane-Getaz, who is a member of CVFM and co-clerk of the Friends General Conference Institutional Assessment on Racism Working Group:

Email update from April 22, 2017:

Dear FGC 16 Petition Supporters,

We are pleased to offer an update regarding the institutional assessment on racism requested by petition last summer at Gathering. There are three goals of this assessment:

1) Build the institutional capacity of FGC to see and overcome structural racism and name the barriers to full participation in FGC at all of its levels;

2) Develop a strategic plan that names a vision for inclusion and provides clear next steps;

3) Share the experience and learning with yearly and monthly meetings.

 

Last October, Central Committee agreed to seek the funding to initiate an institutional assessment. Our Development office asked Friends to contribute above their usual giving to the FGC general fund. Friends and meetings have given generously. If lead, please give before the end of April. Our aim is to meet our fundraising goal before the May Executive Committee Meeting to enable signing a formal contract to move forward.

 

An institutional assessment working group was formed under the care of the Committee for Nurturing Ministries. This group includes: Justin Connor, Sharon Lane-Getaz, Marvin Barnes and Carolyn Lejuste. FGC staff members on the committee include: Vanessa Julye, Barry Crossno, and Lena Glickman. Frank Barch, as FGC clerk, serves in an ex-officio capacity. This group is meeting bi-monthly via conference call.

 

Thus far the working group has:

·      Decided to recommend the Crossroads consulting firm as our guiding partner in this initiative. Vanessa Julye agreed to serve as the project coordinator and point of contact for contract negotiations.

·      Worked with one of our Crossroads consultants via conference call to further clarify terms of the proposal and focus our early planning work.

·      Begun to prepare for the 2½ day Crossroads workshop: identifying dates and potential locations, and establishing a process to identify and invite volunteers to attend. A subset of attendees will implement the institutional assessment survey, interviews and power analysis as learned in the workshop.

·      Planned to create opportunities for Gathering participants to learn about the assessment this summer.

·      Agreed to provide an ongoing occasional communication similar to this report to keep Friends informed.

We invite Friends to hold this leading in prayer that we all may have new insights and learn new ways to build and live into the Blessed Community.

 

In warm Friendship,

Institutional Assessment Working Group

Sharon Lane-Getaz and Justin Connor (co-chairs)

***************************

Earlier email from 10/31/2016 regarding initial efforts to form the FGC Institutional Assessment on Racism:

Dear FGC 16 Petition Supporters,

The FGC Central Committee approved going forward with an institutional assessment on racism at their fall meeting this past weekend. Along with a cover letter from our work group, the verbiage of the Petition was read to the Central Committee. We did not read the 359 names of those who had signed the petition. But it felt as though the chorus of our voices echoed in the room. It was clear that Friends were being asked to “take a leap of faith” as not all questions would be answered at this point in the process. Friends were able to approve taking this next step. Some Friends of Color met after the Central Committee's decision was made. We were led to turn our attention to getting the word out to Friends who signed the Petition and to ask that Friends make a designated contribution to FGC, specifically for funding the institutional assessment on racism.

 

Spirit visibly moved the hearts of Friends at the Central Committee meeting. The informational packet prepared by the Diversity Committee had emphasized the goals of the institutional assessment on racism: 

  • Build institutional capacity for FGC to see and overcome structural racism.
  • Name the barriers of full participation in FGC at all levels.
  • Develop a vision for inclusion and articulate change goals that are broadly owned by staff, governance, and our member bodies. Clear goals to which we can be accountable for the next 3-5 years.
  • Provide clear next steps--both content and direction towards those achievable goals.
  • Share our experience and learnings with yearly and monthly meetings, with the hopes of strengthening the will and capacity for change throughout the Religious Society of Friends.
  • That FGC as an institution and, we pray, Quaker communities in general become more meaningful and inviting environments for People of Color.


The Diversity Committee also outlined issues to be addressed, the request for proposals process, a timeline, impacts on staff, and an estimated maximum cost of the proposed institutional assessment. Three attachments provided (1) greater detail on personnel and committee time commitments, (2) ten Monthly Meeting minutes in support of the FGC Institutional Assessment, and  (3) three Yearly Meeting 2016 statements concerning racism and inclusivity in the Religious Society of Friends. 

    Now that the first step has been made to move forward with an institutional assessment, we ask that Friends make a contribution to FGC, as they are led, with a designation for the "Institutional Assessment on Racism" written on the memo line. 

     

    In the Spirit,

    Sharon Lane-Getaz & Paul Ricketts, co-clerks for the

    Friends of FGC: Spiritual and Institutional Accountability Work Group

     

    P.S. The "audit" terminology was laid down as it conjures images of a financial audit.

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