Today we are delighted to release our Reconciliation, Equity and Anti-Racism Statement, affectionately known as REARS. This Statement has been under development for more than a year and has benefitted from the input of many community members. We are grateful to all of the stakeholders who shared their insights and expertise to make this a document we can hopefully all see ourselves reflected in.
While we took our time to ensure the Statement represented our vision of A Community Where No One Is Left Behind and our Strategic Plan priority “to reduce inequities in our operations and our community,” we did not wait to begin the necessary changes to our work.
In the past year we have undertaken a number of initiatives to meet the objectives of REARS, notably:
- The launch of our online course on reconciliation, equity and anti-racism to help local charities gain an understanding of these issues. We are indebted to Enable Education for the donation of their talent in creating online education and our subject matter experts, Elder Peter Schuler (Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation), Andrea Dicks (Community Foundations of Canada) and Leena Sharma-Seth (Mending the Chasm).
- The participation in the Equality Fund grants and our first gender lens investment in Impact Bonds in Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund.
- A new additional top-up match fund during GIVEOakville to charities that are led by Black, Indigenous or People of Colour or gender diverse community members.
- The launch of Debwewin: The Oakville Truth Project in partnership with the Mississauagas of the Credit First Nation and the virtual mapping of Oakville’s treaties and related signage across the Town.
- Community Classroom has on boarded more diverse programming with even more to come.
We encourage you to read our Action Plan and the related results on pages 13-15.
Why is this work necessary?
This Statement comes from a place of love for our neighbours and our community and the desire to create a welcoming and safe place for everyone. It’s about the future of our community and the next generation of philanthropists.
The most recent data from 2016 on age and racial diversity in Oakville is shared on page six of the Statement. In 2016, 40% of Oakville youth 0-14 years-old identified as racialized — a visible minority or Indigenous — and at the same time almost 38% of 25-44 year olds identified as racialized. We will not be surprised if demographics for racialized children and for adults with young families increase closer to 50% of their age group when the 2021 census data is released.
In addition, the recent Halton District School Board (HDSB) student census reported that the greatest share of Oakville’s elementary students identified their faith as Muslim (27%). These are significant shifts that are happening not only in Oakville but across the Greater Toronto Area and Canada.
Oakville is changing and The Foundation, as a reflection of the community, is changing with it.
We recognize that this statement is not a one-time check mark but a process of learning and adapting.
As the Board Chair and the Chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee, respectively, we are committed to sharing our annual update and learning from our community as Oakville grows and changes.
Bindu Cudjoe and Rob Budhwa