Oakville Community Foundation Announces New DEI-Focused Funding

By: Rob V. Budhwa, Board Member and Chair, Governance and Nominating Committee

The Oakville Community Foundation has made it a priority to reduce inequalities in both our operations and in our community. To this end, we have embarked on a number of initiatives and operational changes to become more inclusive and supportive of diverse populations. The Foundation’s approach is the recognition that equity-deserving communities should lead the development and assessment of programs intended for them.

After all, “nothing for us, without us.” 

Over the last couple of years, The Foundation has been examining its operations, policies and practices to ensure that it meets new expectations to be equitable, anti-racist and an ally. The Foundation’s Governance and Nominating Committee is leading these policy discussions and development of the Foundation’s Reconciliation, Equity, Anti-Racism Statement.

In 2019, we signed on to participate in the Fund for Gender Equality, where we made the commitment to support and invest in women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people in our community. 

To support this approach, our Board of Directors took another step in its commitment to be equitable and approved that within any matched-funding program going forward, a pool of these funds will be earmarked specifically for gender equity and BIPOC-led charities. These funds will be used as top-up funding, and  will begin with this year’s GIVEOakville campaign. 

How will this top-up work?

The Foundation uses its community granting funds to amplify gifts from donors and Fundholders. For this year’s GIVEOakville campaign, The Foundation will be providing $150,000 in funding support. These funds will be allocated on a prorated basis to all organizations who received support prior to the GIVEOakville closing date of December 13, 2021. Organizations that receive their full funding request before the closing date will not be eligible for a top-up. 

Of this $150,000, the Board of Directors has determined that 15% of this total ($22,500) will be allocated as an additional top-up to only BIPOC-led and gender equity organizations found in the GIVEOakville Guide.

Gender equity organizations are those that have demonstrated a long-term commitment to empowering women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people through their mission, activities or partnerships. To be recognized as a BIPOC-led organization, two of the following three criteria must be met:

  • where a majority of senior staff positions are held by those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour (BIPOC);
  • where a majority of board positions are held by those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour;
  • where the Founder of the organization identifies as Black, Indigenous or Person of Colour

To support BIPOC-led charities and their role in self determination, we have also amended The Foundation’s granting policy to ensure that if a charity application is intended for a vulnerable population, it must be guided by members of those groups. At the same time, The Foundation will ensure these applications are reviewed by members of the same group.

With 2021 Census data expected to reveal a more diverse makeup of the Town, we know these steps are necessary to continue to build a more inclusive and supportive community.

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