In July we issued a statement to our stakeholder group of 14,000 regarding our position on diversity, equity and inclusion and our commitment to improve.

We invited your feedback and several individuals shared their thoughts directly with us. While the majority of comments expressed both support for Gift of Adoption taking action in this area and support for our longstanding nondiscriminatory grant program/practices, other feedback suggested more could be done to improve the diversity of our National and Chapter Boards and staff.

To address this feedback and live into our commitments, a Task Force has been created and is meeting regularly. The GOA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force serves as an advisory group to the National Board of Governors. Their role over the course of the coming 6 to 12 months is to provide recommendations to the National Board based on a review of current practices and policies, and a deep understanding of best practices in organizational performance in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The Task Force will make recommendations to the National Board regarding concerns and/or practices to change immediately, as well as areas for improvement and areas of best-in-class opportunity. Their work will be informed by diversity, equity, and inclusion audits from outside experts and by engaging volunteer leaders with relevant expertise as we move forward.

The Task Force has identified the following four areas for review:

  • National Board Governance and Policies
  • Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Grant Program

The Task Force has chosen Governance and Policy as the place to start. The reason for this is the belief that Governance and Policy form the foundation for all that we do. We believe moving forward in other areas without assessing, improving, and strengthening this area will not be optimal. Due to the important nature of this area of review, we have decided to partner with outside resources. We are currently looking for an outside resource to lead and guide our efforts in this critical area.

We invite you to share your ideas and feedback on this work and appreciate all that you do to further Gift of Adoption’s mission of serving families across the country.

Our next communication will be in October, at which time we expect to report on specific findings and detailed plans and actions.

Task Force members include:
Pam Devereux, CEO Gift of Adoption
Linda Dunbar, External Advisor
Shaneetra Gross, CAO Gift of Adoption
Ngozi Okorafor, Director of Employment Actions Cook County Sheriff’s Department, GOA grant recipient
Stefanie Shelley, Gift of Adoption National Board Member
Margie Smithe, External Advisor
Tom Southall, Gift of Adoption National Board Vice-President
Jim Vint, Gift of Adoption National Board President
Lucy Wyka, Gift of Adoption Co-Founder