Heritage Fund Board United in Taking Steps for Racial Equality
Recent national discussions and protests have highlighted the unresolved racial issues that continue to divide our country. Corporations and local and state government, including police departments, have stepped forward to make changes that demonstrate that the status quo should not stand when it comes to racism.
Heritage Fund's leadership is adding its full support to the call for change. The foundation is proud to join and acknowledge the many other organizations in Bartholomew County that also have efforts underway to study, understand and take actions to create a more equitable community. A partial list of these organizations includes United Way of Bartholomew County, Community Education Coalition, Bartholomew County Juvenile Court, Bartholomew County NAACP, African American Pastors Alliance, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation and Columbus Regional Health.
At its recent August meeting, Heritage Fund's Board of Directors shared touching stories of their personal experiences confronting racial issues in their lives. The pain of some of those memories opened doors for others to want to pursue issues further, and the board came together with one voice to continue the journey of learning and seeking opportunities to make a positive difference.
The Heritage Fund Board unanimously approved a motion to "spend the next 24 months studying and reflecting on the issues of racial equality and equity and determining how Heritage Fund can make a positive impact on the community."
The Board will:
- Prioritize Progress over Comfort
- Engage in Courageous and Respectful Discussions
- Learn before Acting and Share the Journey with Others
- Identify Areas for Action
The board will spend the next two years reviewing materials and exploring ways to eliminate prejudice, discrimination and systemic barriers in Bartholomew County. With the board's consent, areas identified for action will be executed within these two years. The board believes that in order for Bartholomew County to become the welcoming community it is striving for, the entire community must be proactive in addressing racism and equity. It is important to first learn, then reflect, then act. It is the board's hope that Bartholomew County can be used as an example and encourage other communities to take a similar journey.
Heritage Fund has a long history of investing in the growth and well-being of our community. Through this initiative, we are seeking to help catalyze courageous conversations within our board and eventually with the larger community to recognize and address racial inequities. As one board member put it, "In order to discover new oceans, we need to lose sight of our familiar shores."