NCN Webinar – All Access: Inclusive Design for Shared Spaces
NCN Webinar I Space for All: Inclusivity in Building Communities
Centre for Social Innovation’s Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Discrimation Policy
See also Values Statements
From an Ask-NCN Conversation, 2/2/16
Katie Edwards, Nonprofit Centers Network
Hi NCN members,
Diversity, equity and inclusion are hot topics in the nonprofit sector, and it’s come up in several of my recent conversations around shared space. How are we trying to promote these principles in our spaces and make them welcoming to people from all walks of life?
I’m looking for examples of initiatives in your centers that intentionally bring in more people from socially diverse groups to use your spaces. I’m also interested in efforts that haven’t been so successful. Why do you think they failed? What could we do better? What resources do you need to make this happen?
Thanks for your feedback!
Pam Mauk, Together Center, 2/3/16
In some areas we have some results. We have programs directed at different groups:
- A “cultural navigator program” assists immigrants and others speaking Spanish and languages of India (and at a partner location Russian and Chinese).
- A senior program run by Indian Association of Western Washington is off our lobby.
- Our Advocate office by the lobby has a program for domestic violence survivors run by a major agency supporting the Spanish-speaking.
- We will soon have a Muslim Cultural Resource Center (information, referral and counseling) one day per week in our advocate office.
The staff members of these organizations participate in our campus meetings and social events.
A group that was designed to address needs of immigrants and refugees (ERIC) has operated as a network and discussion group for a decade, and come up with some good solutions, such as the cultural navigator program. It is now working to get its own IRS nonprofit status: in the meantime Together Center is its legal sponsor. Once relaunched, it hopes to advise widely to businesses, government and nonprofts on the issues you mention. I mention them because the loosely organized group has some impact, but did not greatly impact local nonprofits. We are hoping that a group invested in the cultural competency mission might have greater impact on us and the community (ours is a very diverse community in the area of immigration and language: over 1/3 speak another language in the largest nearby city). A suggestion is then to bring in an organization in some capacity that has this expertise and mission.
Angela Baldrige, The Plantory, 2/3/16
We believe that the best way to invite diversity in is to be diverse. So we intentionally build a diverse and inclusive community. We subsidize our membership with fundraising. When we realized prices were still too high for a lot of social justice activists, we began providing sponsorships for organizations that meet missing factors of diversity in our space, and then work with these orgs to connect them to opportunities to support their sustainability and continued use of our space. For example, we connect groups with free social media management, donors who sponsor their membership, and interns. We also have an advisory council that helps with our program development, and that group represents various factors of diversity including client bases served by our populations. We involve our members in developing programming. We have a values statement as part of our ethos, and it is shared with all members when they apply. We host panel discussions on controversial topics and feature people from various perspectives and micro and macro levels. And we facilitate regular community interactions that are fun to support the building of relationships. Our staff interacts intentionally with diverse community members in and outside of the center, taking walks, getting coffee, etc. to build the relationships that we believe make the difference in understanding each other. We also call on the experts in our center to advise us (we are home to groups that are experts and advocates in LGBTQ issues, violence, education, access for people with disabilities, and more). Their advice is invaluable in shaping our approaches. We have an anonymous feedback system in addition to open channels to encourage free feedback.
Philip, CommunityWise Center, 2/19/16
Hello (and sorry this is a bit of a ramble)
This is a really important topic/issue. CommunityWise is developing an equity framework taking into account multiple factors to determine everything from how much rent we charge to different groups, who has and needs access to the space (and why), and to address barriers to participation from members in the governance of the centre. The last bit kind of sounds like the classic “why don’t they come to my meeting/event” when really CommunityWise needs to be better in tune or relevant to the needs of our very diverse members (some more than others). It’s a problem of the Non-profit Industrial complex as well. At this stage we want to be transparent with our members and ensure that thier contributions have an impact on these decisions and that it isn’t tokenization.
Through research focusing on our centre and from developmental evaluation of our own community development programs to members we are exploring ways in which to support specific groups and communities wich face systemic challenges, oppression, and limits to access to resources where other perhaps more mainstream or charitable organizations do not. It’s been really interesting at the board, committee, and community level to have these conversations over the last little while.
One way that we can do this is through developing a rental equity policy. Right now we are reframing our office rental costs for all of our tenant members. It has, in the past, been based almost entirely on the size of the space. What we find though is that it is not groups that would benifit the most from space that get it but rather well resourced groups that can use greater amounts of time and social capital or existing relationships with communitywise administration staff/board to persure vacant or more desirable space in our centre. This is a social problem broadly that may also appear in other non profit centres as well. We are working to now take into account additional things like relative access to funding, what the group uses the sapce for, levels of inclusivity within their own organizations, need etc. when determining cost of rent and access to vacant space in the centre. Not directly related to rent but in other forms of support and services we provide this has been something of an informal practice but now, with staff and board succession planning in mind, we want to solidify this in a tansparent manner.
With Equity in mind are there things that others have tried or policies applied when deciding who gets space and how much they pay for it?
Alan Ziter, NTC Foundation, 2/19/16
I appreciate your inquiry and I hope this information will be helpful.
1. NTC Foundation has stewardship over 26 historic buildings. We renovate them and then lease them out to a range of nonprofit, for profit and sole proprietor tenants.
2. With regards to leasing:
a. First off, lease rates are established based on 1) how much money we need to collect to financially operate the buildings and have a maintenance reserve and
pay debt service. The rates are aligned with the current market for similar space.
b. Generally we have a nonprofit rate, and a commercial rate. Rates may vary based on the size of the lease space, just as in the commercial real estate market.
c. There are many groups – that are nonprofit and commercial – that we wish to have in the ARTS DISTRICT, however they cannot pay the rent that we must
charge to stay viable.
i. For those groups, we provide a Rental Subsidy from grant funds we have secured that will allow them to be in residence for the first two years at a subsidized rental rate, in the hopes their being here will help them to grow their earned income or better engage their donors. Of course there are some groups that we continue to subsidize with annual rental grant
ii. The lease is structured to show the “regular lease rate” we would normally charge, but allow for a “rental grant” rate from which they pay.
iii. This is a win-win because the NTC Foundation will then ‘pay itself’ from the grant funds for the differential.
iv. Each year we ‘grant out’ over $300,000 in rental subsidies, but we are a much more diverse and successful Arts District by doing this….and our building stay well maintained and secure and 100% occupied!