Apr 18, 2022

Over the past several years, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) have increasingly been topics of conversation and risen to be among SFEI’s highest priorities. In our work, we have highlighted inequities in access to nature, exposure to pollutants, and risk of harm from climate change impacts. Meanwhile, we realize that our organization and the environmental field as a whole has internal work to do in the DEIJ space. We have also identified ways that we must adjust our workplace and practices to ensure that we are part of the solution. As such, SFEI staff and leadership have expressed a desire to contribute to the creation of more just environmental outcomes.

SFEI is proud to share significant changes that are underway. A committee was formed in 2018 to select and initiate work with a DEIJ consultant. In 2019, some of the SFEI team were trained by the Movement Strategy Center and Urban Permaculture Institute to increase SFEI’s capacity to serve frontline communities. Despite economic uncertainty during the COVID pandemic and ongoing reductions in allowable overhead costs from state, federal, and philanthropic funding sources, SFEI committed funds to work with a DEIJ consultant in 2021 to conduct trainings for all staff.

The trainings were not the end-goal, but the foundation. Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor, we are able to start translating our deepened knowledge into real change. This initiative is led by Stephanie Panlasigui, whom SFEI has promoted to the role of the Equity and Inclusion Manager. She is working with our DEIJ Committee and senior staff to coordinate both our internal and external efforts. As a critical first step, SFEI crafted and adopted the following DEIJ mission statement:

“SFEI is taking immediate actions to more deeply integrate DEIJ principles into our internal policies and culture, as well as to build and implement a long-term strategy for forging authentic partnerships with diverse organizations and communities, with a particular focus on historically underserved communities.”

Additionally, a new DEIJ action plan is in the works, which will steer better integration of DEIJ principles into our internal operations, partnerships, and projects. A few high-priority items were selected for immediate action in 2022.

We look forward to providing more updates throughout our journey towards being a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just organization.

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Environmental Informatics Program
Resilient Landscapes Program