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The Sisters of Charity Foundation has a Superpower: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

By Ericka Wooten, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

I was in a webinar recently and the hosts had an icebreaker activity. They wanted everyone to share what their superpower would be and why. I said my superpower was being a single parent of a teenager.

sign language between woman and man

That icebreaker got me thinking. What is the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s superpower? There were quite a few choices — our grantmaking, our culture, our work in the policy and advocacy space, being a faith-based organization. However, I would have to say that the superpower of the Foundation is our commitment to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B). Why? Because DEI&B is a smart business decision and is also an important part of being a faith-based organization. Because I believe DEI&B to be our superpower doesn’t mean we are perfect in this area and have all the answers. Instead, it means that we know the power and benefits of DEI&B.

Over the past three years, the Foundation has been working hard to elevate DEI&B. This does not mean that the Foundation has not been doing work in this space throughout its 25-year-history; it just means that we are now doing this work with intentionality. By being intentional we are bringing a focus and attention to something that is important — to act with purpose, commitment and effort. This goes beyond “performative DEI&B” through commitments to real change and actual, specific outcomes.

Over the past three years, the Foundation has been working hard to elevate DEI&B. This does not mean that the Foundation has not been doing work in this space throughout its 25-year-history; it just means that we are now doing this work with intentionality.

Ericka Wooten, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, Sisters of Charity Foundation

In our DEI&B vision statement, we are bold and unrelenting in our aspirations.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is unwavering in our dedication to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and to being an anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization. Through intentionality, hard work, and tangible actions, the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging will be embedded in all parts of our work. We will continue to use our resources, influence, and statewide presence to encourage others to join us and to make South Carolina equitable for all people, especially for those experiencing poverty.

The board and staff of the Foundation are fully committed to our DEI&B work. We see this work as a journey for not only the organization but for each individual person. We acknowledge that work within the DEI&B space is very much internal and private work. Everyone is at a different place on this journey and that is to be expected and is okay. Through mutual respect, understanding, and trust we are all learning together. And most importantly, we are all eager to do better and be better as individuals and as an organization.

The point is this: we can learn from each other and in the process become more inclusive. We can become more informed, more welcoming and more understanding.

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