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Mutually Inclusive
A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

How women of color are changing the dynamics at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation

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Grand Rapids Community Foundation
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Erika VanDyke, is in her fourth week as the first Latina program officer at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

“I think for me, the most important thing, the perspective that I hope I can continue to bring, is making sure we are keeping people most affected by injustices in our community at the center of the conversation, always.” 

Diana Seiger, President of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, says fostering safe spaces and listening is a key step in creating a philanthropic sector  that reflects the local community at large. 

“But the experience for a staff/person of color is different than mine, and not just being president, but the fact that I am white. It just takes listening and understanding and asking questions and how do we create a safe space so that people can say their truth without getting all exercised about it.” 

Today, Vandyke is part of the Foundation’s 25% percent of employees considered people of color; ten years ago, people of color were only 4 percent. According to the 2018 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report from the Council on Foundations, people of color accounted for 26% percent of reported full time staff, and 10% of CEOS. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.