By: Funders for LGBTQ Issues Staff on October 28, 2021
At Funders for LGBTQ Issues we understand that equitable organizational practices play a critical role in our mission to transform the sector to be more responsive and inclusive to LGBTQ communities. Our team works to ensure our internal practices are in line with our organizational values and mission. Through our formal training and informal consultations, we bring these lessons and best practices to our members and the wider field Funders works closely with our partners to improve the sector’s data collection practices related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Our Finance and Administration also plays an active role in sector-wide conversations about equitable and inclusive benefits and HR practices.
Each year the Council on Foundations publishes its Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report (GSB) along with the GSB Key Findings Report that describe salary, benefits, and diversity data for full-time staff at U.S. foundations. The report is widely used as a reference to help foundations plan and set personnel benchmarks against industry standards and highlights human resource trends that are shaping the philanthropic sector. In this year’s key findings report, Marvin Webb, our Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, shared reflections on Funders for LGTBQ Issues’ work to align our benefits with our values. We are proud of our organizational commitment to practicing radical equity throughout our operating practices.
The Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report (GSB) from the Council of Foundations is an important benchmark report for the sector, but there’s critical data that the report does not include. As the COF report notes, “foundation staff who are nonbinary, LGBTQ or have a disability are largely not identified as such by their employers which means their contributions to philanthropy may go unseen.”
In response to this gap in existing sector research, Funders for LGBTQ Issues in collaboration with our partners at CHANGE Philanthropy have worked to develop new avenues for more inclusive research into the demographic diversity and workplace climate in the sector. Beginning in 2018, we conducted the Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals Survey (DAPP) to solicit anonymous self-reporting from individuals on the staff and board of participating foundations, helping grantmakers to accurately assess the culture and climate of their institutions. The results of the first DAPP survey were summarized in a landmark report on LGBTQ people in the philanthropic workforce. We are pleased that this work has continued to grow and find a home at CHANGE Philanthropy, who earlier this year published the 2020 Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals (DAPP) Report. We will look forward to sharing more findings from the 2020 DAPP report in the coming months.
There is still much room for improvement in the way the philanthropic sector both understands its workforce and how philanthropic institutions respond to the needs of their people. We invited Marvin Webb, Senior Vice President Of Finance And Administration to share more context about the work he is leading along with Nicole Fernandes to operationalize our values, and to reflect on some of the HR trends he is seeing in the sector.
Marvin Webb (MW): Like many of our human resources practices, our benefits practice is built around the collection of data from staff. We have an annual benefits evaluation survey that gets 100% staff participation. Here staff ask for what they want, what they need, and share their dreams. Nicole and I dig deep into these results looking for diamonds and gold that we either haven’t thought of yet or are beyond our normal human resources frame.
The ideas can be small or large, but the ideas always impress us. They often are beyond what we or the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) have lifted up as the norm.
We are not thinking of being before or after the trend. We are thinking of how this data gathered can best support our team while holding true to our values and budgetary parameters. As we have learned, justice – racial, gender, economic, healthcare, PTO, or any other benefits related paradigm – costs money. Justice, in an office setting – will always demand the use of resources. To do less is to undercut justice.
MW: With the racial justice uprising, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and the global pandemic, organizations discovered they were using human resources as an add-on and not a thought partner.
Integrating human resources as a thought partner at Funders for LGBTQ Issues allows us to be responsive to diverse populations within our organization. From our perspective, organizations have an opportunity to operationalize their values through the benefits and compensation that they offer their staff. Below is our human resources framework:
Managerial & financial reporting and human resources are about the allocation of assets and work in collaboration with our mission. These are not neutral fields. We make choices. Our choices can reinforce structural inequities, or we can make choices that lessen harm against black and brown people. These groups are the most severely impacted by racial, gender, LGBTQ, age, disability, social, educational, health, and economic inequalities in our communities.
Budgets are the official records of these choices. Managerial & financial reporting and human resources choices are about power. And, at this moment and beyond, we intentionally commit to doing our best not to forget this, not to let you forget it, and not to be complacent with the patriarchal structures and white supremacist ideologies in place. It is a myth that our work is neutral.
MW: I think the greatest hurdles to any human resources department tend to be a lack of trying anything to move the needle. Nobody wants to be first. Nobody wants to be wrong. But if all of us try small things instead of larger shifts and remain responsive to our people, there’s only an upward result.
The return on investment (ROI) from better benefits is unparalleled only to increased salary. But an organization that can have both can do unfathomable things. People increase performance, find new revenue streams, find ways to hold or decrease expenses, increase retention, reduce sick time, and improve a myriad of other human resource and financial metrics.
If you are an HR professional struggling to drive your benefits shift by using data, one great resource is David Green’s Digital HR Leaders Podcast. He speaks with Global HR leaders on the front lines doing just what I’m talking about. Our organizations use and analyze data every day with grantees, with foundations, with constituents and stakeholders. But your people drive every bit of this data. So why do you not have data on your people? This is not about you reinventing the wheel.
As Anthony J. D’Angelo says, “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” Realign it for your organization to help it move its mission forward.
Our team will continue to innovate and explore ways to operationalize our values here at Funders for LGBTQ Issues, while also sharing learnings and practices with our partners and members.
In addition to our internal efforts and informal support, Funders for LGBTQ Issues also offers customized trainings and support services to grantmakers to strengthen cultural competence and inclusiveness around LGBTQ issues. The content of our trainings is tailored to the unique needs and priorities of each foundation. We are always happy to assist our partners and members to create more responsive and inclusive communities.
Marvin Webb joined Funders for LGBTQ Issues in May 2010.
As Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Marvin focuses on strategic finance, human resources, information technology, conference management, administration, and infrastructure.