Animal Aid DEIA Committee Charter
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access
Animal Aid wants to be a part of the movement toward social justice for traditionally marginalized communities, and we recognize the need for more diverse representation within the animal welfare community. This committee will help guide our work as an organization, keep us accountable for our actions, and invite a wide-range of voices into the conversation from among our staff, volunteers, and members of the public.
The DEIA Committee will spearhead Animal Aid building a more diverse and inclusive organization through ongoing, consistent, and courageous education and evaluation of our programs and operations through a DEIA lens. Through this, we also hope to contribute to more equitable, accessible, and transparent practices within the animal welfare community as a whole.
The DEIA Committee is responsible for coordinating Animal Aid’s DEIA outcomes, workplan, programs, and holding Animal Aid leadership accountable to this important work. This includes developing plans and holding initial conversations or study groups before advancing recommendations to the staff and board for further conversation. The nature of this work is fluid and progressive, and thus detailed advanced planning can prove challenging. This committee embraces that dynamic and will keep the board apprised of its work at monthly DEIA conversations and board meetings. The committee also coordinates topics/activities for staff and board meetings, currently held the first hour of each monthly board meeting. In the future, this committee will make recommendations on the frequency of these staff and board meetings.
The committee is the point of contact and coordination with the DEIA consultant(s).
The committee is the first point of action for responding to major social justice incidents. The committee is responsible for drafting statements and responses (e.g., Black Lives Matter statement). Once reviewed by the staff and board, and approved by the board, the committee will work with the Marketing Committee for appropriate branding and distribution.
Success of this committee can be evaluated through the progress of Animal Aid’s DEIA outcomes (as developed by the committee), a robust DEIA Committee with active participation, a high level of engagement, rich conversations, and continuous learning.
Composition & Make Up:
The DEIA Committee will be composed of 4 to 10 individuals, made up of Animal Aid board members, staff, volunteers and community members. The committee is expected to have broad and increasing membership of traditionally marginalized community members (at the inception of the committee, this will be a priority to increase). It is important for the committee to be aware of the perspectives represented and not represented on the committee.
Members will be solicited from within the Animal Aid staff, board, and volunteer pool, as well as actively recruited from outside of the organization utilizing social media, the Animal Aid website, and volunteer recruitment websites. Applicants will complete the standard volunteer application and a supplemental questionnaire with DEIA focused questions. Applications will be reviewed and approved by the committee.
Based on the challenging nature of DEIA work, ideal committee members will:
- Be committed to social justice (can be newly committed to this work or experienced)
- Be committed to ongoing learning and have an open mind
- Have a high level of empathy
- Be both a listener and an active participant
- Participate in (and potentially help develop) self-care initiatives for committee members
Committee members are expected to commit to:
- Honoring Animal Aid’s TEND agreement and Shared Language
- Active participation on the committee during monthly meetings with at least 80% attendance annually.
- 1-3 year commitment on the committee
- Be open to taking on at least 1 role or project during your term
- At end of term, be seeking replacement committee candidates
- Create a safe environment for all committee members
- Be open to sharing their voice and perspective and respect other committee members’ voice/perspective
- Animal welfare
Committee members volunteer for each role (unless assigned below). Roles are held for 1 year unless a shorter term is deemed appropriate based on needs of the role and reviewed annually in January.
- Chair: Schedules/facilitates meetings and prepares agenda; discussion moderator; contact for DEIA Consultant regarding program/project advancement
- Notetaker: Captures meeting notes and distributes to committee via Google Docs within 5 days of each meeting; read the Animal Aid TEND statement at the beginning of each meeting; can be a rotating role among members
- DEIA Resource Coordinator: Tracks topic ideas for monthly board/staff meetings; solicits topics and coordinates with presenter to implement; monitor topics appropriate to specific months (i.e., February is Black History Month)
- Consultant Contract/Business Contact: Deals with contract negotiations and professional relationship (assigned to Executive Director)
- Board Liaison: Prepares monthly committee report and reports at monthly board meetings
- Social Justice Response Point Person: A major social event happens, coordinates drafting timely statement/response, as appropriate
- Sub-committees: As projects/program plans are developed, sub-committees may become necessary and will be approved at that time with specific roles and responsibilities.
DEIA Committee meetings will be held monthly at least one week prior to the board meeting. While necessary due to social distancing requirements, meetings will be held virtually. Once appropriate, meetings will be held in person at Animal Aid.
External DEIA communication will be shared on the DEIA section of the Animal Aid website and through Animal Aid’s social media outlets. All communication distribution is coordinated through the Executive Director and Marketing Committee.
Decision-Making Processes & Authority:
The DEIA Committee is approved by and reports to the Board of Directors. The committee does not make decisions on behalf of the organization, but makes recommendations to the staff and board. All major DEIA decisions must be reviewed by the staff and board for input and discussion. Board provides ultimate approval (can request 48 hour turnaround on voting when timing is of the essence).
Internally, the committee makes decisions by majority consensus. When determining recommendations to the board, those with DEIA expertise/experience in specific areas and/or unique perspectives and experiences will be given appropriate space and voice during the meeting, with decision-making equally weighted among members. Special consideration given to committee members who have an objection based on personal perspectives and experiences. If an important topic is on the table, the committee will do its best to ensure all voices have time and opportunity to participate. Decisions are made either during the meeting or by group email. Any decision done over email will be noted in the next meeting minutes.
Any recommendation to the staff and board must include plans for implementation and coordination with staff, board, and/or other committees as applicable. The committee is responsible for determining what is included in each project/initiative and mapping out a plan for implementation and assessment.