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LWV Corvallis Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy

During the summer of 2020, LWV Corvallis held two retreats to discuss how Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) values live within the League of Women Voters and to discuss how the League will continue to be a thriving voter education resource over the next century. This led to a subcommittee being formed to explore ways in which our League may adapt in the near and long term, guided by these EDI values. Here we present our board-adopted EDI Policy and the Transformation Report that resulted from that process.
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LWV Corvallis Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy

Adopted July, 2021

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.

LWV Corvallis Transformation Report

LWV Corvallis 

Transformation Subcommittee

Connie Bozarth, Karyle Butcher, Jessica McDonald, Nancy Rosenberger

Background 

During the Summer, 2020, LWV Corvallis held 2 retreats to discuss how Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion  (EDI) values lives within the League of Women Voters and to discuss how the League will continue to be  a thriving voter education resource over the next century. This led to a subcommittee being formed to  explore ways in which our League may adapt in the near and long term, guided by these EDI values. 

The subcommittee met regularly between August and October, 2020 and their work included: ● Brainstorming of barriers to inclusivity within the current functioning of the League, both within  the governance structure and through external programs and partnerships 

  • Conducting interviews of other League’s within and outside of Oregon to understand how their  League functions and successful ways that they have brought in new voices into their League ● Reviewing the LWVUS ‘Assessment and Transformation Roadmap’ 
  • Reviewing LWVCorvallis Bylaws 
  • Hosting Virginia Kase, LWVUS CEO to speak on national priorities for transformation ● Prioritizing actions for LWVCorvallis based off of the above due diligence 

“The League undertakes this Transformation process at a critical time. There is an opportunity for  greater mission impact given an energized public, the League’s sound reputation, and the compelling  need for its work. Taking advantage of the opportunity requires the League to look both within and  outside itself to understand the operating (and competitive) environment in which it works along with its  own capacity and will to change.” 

– LWVUS Assessment and Transformation Roadmap 

Subcommittee Recommendations

Building a Welcoming Culture 

One of the themes that the subcommittee noted throughout an internal and external review was that  the League has work to do on welcoming new voices into the League in a way where people understand  the League’s work, feel invited to participate, and have avenues for leadership. 

Recommended Actions: 

  1. Establish (or reignite) mentor program for new board members  
  2. Ensure all new members receive personal calls to thank them and inquire about their interests.  3. Clarify and re-envision how issues and programs are planned throughout the year, relationship  between program planning, annual meeting and program implementation. 
  3. Consider ways to re-structure annual program meeting that engages more members, including  all who do not attend the meeting 
  4. ‘The League Way’ – review what it means 
  5. Write out all of the League Policies and Procedures, and make available to all board and  members
  6. Create an EDI Lens for the LWV of Corvallis Board and Committees 
  7. An Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lens is a set of questions that are used to apply  to decisions, to better understand unintended biases in the decision that we respect the  principles of EDI within the League 

Board Leadership and Governance 

The LWVC board is a high-functioning group, many with long histories and institutional knowledge of  League systems and governance. This is an asset to us, but it can also limit succession in leadership and  limit capacity for change. Board meetings are also often limited to standing agenda items and there is  often not time to entertain robust discussion and debate on policy, advocacy and program. 

Recommended Actions: 

  1. Board develop Group Norms to guide meetings and review at all board meetings a. Group Norms set expectations of how the group communicates with each other. They  can be something like ‘our meetings will begin and end on time’, and they can also  include items like ‘we will all listen to understand’ 
  2. Review of LWV mission statement and create LWV Corvallis Vision and Impact Statement 3. Rotate board meetings – one month hold a business meeting, the next month hold a topic of  interest meeting 
  3. Invite non-board Committee members to meetings to provide Committee reports 5. Nominating Committee liaison attend board meetings regularly, and be provided the League’s  EDI values as a framework for recruitment 
  4. Support ongoing cycling of Committee Chairs – review terms and recruit new Chairs on a  regular basis 
  5. Re-consider when Roberts Rules of Order is needed, and when it can be removed to make  process simpler and more inclusive 
  6. Clarify processes for defining partnerships on programs and cooperative information sharing 

Keeping Voting Rights in Forefront 

Voting rights led to the creation of the LWV and continues to be the work that often brings people into  the League as members and volunteers. However, in Oregon, because of our (wonderful!) progressive  voter policies (Vote By Mail, Motor Voter), voter education has been focused on voter forums and  distributing voter guides. Ensuring that voter access and voting rights is in the forefront of the League’s  work is an important call to action and entry-point for new and more diverse members. 

Recommended Actions: 

  1. Expanding role of Voter Services Committee or creating Voter Rights Committee to spearhead  ongoing voter registration and education activities 
  2. Working with Corvallis School District to partner on providing ‘Voter Birthday Packets’ to  students on their 18th birthday in all high schools 

Refining the League Brand 

The League is well-known and respected in our community. We have a strong brand to build from, but it  is important to adapt our marketing, style guide, and communications to reflect the voice of younger demographics (30-50 year range). Managing communications is a great way for emerging leaders to play  an important role in League business. 

Recommended Actions: 

  1. Board members workshop ‘elevator pitch’ for LWV 
  2. Recruit volunteer(s) skilled in marketing and communications to run website, eNewsletter, social media and outreach materials 
  3. Assign weeks to Committees for social media content posting 
  4. Create communications procedures to help guide volunteers in managing communications 5. Establish a LWV Corvallis Brand and Style Guide 
  5. Brand and Style Guide includes LWV approved fonts, colors, logos, poster design, social  media postings, and imagery/photos 
  6. Establish a central database for all member information 
  7. Initiate email-only Newsletter option, eventually eliminating paper bulletins 

Emerging Leaders 

As the League works to sustain current membership and grow support among 30-50 year olds, it is  important to provide opportunities to volunteer, engage and lead that are meaningful for the individual  and for the League. 

Recommended Actions: 

  1. Launch an Emerging Leaders Council 
  2. Explore internship opportunities (including paid) with OSU and LBCC 
  3. Provide free League membership to women under 25 
  4. Consider how we choose program speakers and partners with an EDI lens 
  5. Consider where LWV is being represented and how we are prioritizing representing in BIPOC-led  community groups 
  6. Establish discussion groups or online series on topics, including issues like social justice 7. Hold informal meet/greets – wineries, breweries, family-friendly outdoor venues 

Conclusion

The League of Women Voters is a powerful institution that wields power and influence through its  impactful work and reputation. It is important to recognize this good reputation and the important work  underway, while also pivoting to embrace a changing world. The recommendations noted here are part  of a larger ecosystem of change management for the League, and reflect the input we heard from  League’s across the country, as well as input from within the board and membership of our own League. 

Additional work is needed to review these recommended actions, distill them into near, middle and  long-term priorities, and allocate resources to oversee implementation. This is change that does not  happen overnight, but this year we have a rare opportunity to catalyze this movement forward, as we  commit ourselves to the League’s next century of work.

Draft Transformation Workplan

Task 

 

Build Welcoming Culture

1.1 

Create an EDI Lens 

1.2 

New Member Calls, interview about interests  and connect to LWV contacts

1.3 

Review Program Planning/Annual  

Meeting/Program Cycle with Board

1.4 

Re-design Program Planning Agenda 

1.5 

Re-design Annual Meeting Agenda 

1.6 

Write out all LWVC Policies and Procedures

1.7 

Establish Board Mentor Program

   

Board Leadership and Governance

2.1 

Create Board Norms 

2.2 

Invite Nominating Committee liaison to board  meetings, and to take part in EDI Lens and  Vision creation

2.3 

Review LWVC Partnerships – discuss process  for deciding who LWVC partners with or doesn’t,  and what partnership entails

2.4 

Review LWV Mission Statement and create  LWVC Vision and Impact Statement

2.5 

Go to every-other-month Business Meetings

2.6 

Invite Committee members to board meetings to  provide report

2.7 

Clarify where LWVC can remove Roberts Rules  of Order

2.8 

Annual review of Committee Chair assignments,  calls to committee members to take on Chair  positions

   

Centering Voting Rights

3.1 

Refine role of Voter Services Committee, decide 

 

 

 

if 2 Committees needed

3.2 

Recruit members to Voter Rights Committee

3.3 

Outline HS 18th BDay program, including roles,  budget, and partnerships

   

The League Brand

4.1 

Create LWV ‘Elevator Pitch’ 

4.2 

Create Google Group for LWV members 

4.3 

Create Communications Procedures for email,  social media, website and program marketing

4.4 

Create a LWVC Brand and Style Guide

4.5 

Establish central database for member  information

4.6 

Assign Committees to social media content  posting

4.7 

Move to email-only Newletters

   

Emerging Leaders

5.1 

Provide and market free LWV membership to  women 25 and under

5.2 

Establish an Emerging Leaders Council

5.3 

Hold age-appropriate member social events 2-4  times/year

5.4 

Meet with OSU and LBCC to discuss internship  opportunities

5.5 

Create internship opportunities job descriptions  and workplans

5.6 

Create a LWV Partnership Map, showing  existing relationships and gaps