Sonoma Land Trust adopts 10-year Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan
SANTA ROSA, CALIF. — To achieve Sonoma Land Trust’s mission of protecting the land of Sonoma County forever, we need an array of voices reflecting our community embodied in our organization, from board and staff to partners and supporters. In 2016, a group of six California land trusts, including Sonoma Land Trust, agreed to be “early adopters” of the California Coalition of Land Trusts’ (CCLT) Conservation Horizons initiative to develop organization-specific Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) plans. After three years of training and planning, Sonoma Land Trust has produced a 10-year DEI plan, which was recently adopted unanimously by our board of directors.
“At Sonoma Land Trust, we’re committed to building relationships with diverse community groups and being of service by delivering the benefits of land conservation to everyone,” says executive director Dave Koehler. “Our DEI plan calls Sonoma Land Trust into action as a welcoming organization, dedicated to providing equitable access to our programs for all people throughout the region.”
Sonoma Land Trust is a member of the national Land Trust Alliance (LTA) as well as CCLT. In 2015, both organizations published reports and a call to action challenging land trusts to reflect the demographic makeup of California and deepen their missions to provide the outdoor experiences that many Californians seek. A recent report commissioned by Green 2.0 surveyed hundreds of environmental nonprofits, agencies and foundations and found that, despite being over 30 percent of the U.S. population and supporting environmental protections at higher rates than whites, people of color, on average, make up only 12 to 16 percent of their staff and only five percent of nonprofit boards.
Sonoma Land Trust’s commitment to DEI principles is part of a coordinated effort by land trusts across California — including Big Sur Land Trust and Peninsula Open Space Trust — and the nation to bring greater diversity, equity and inclusion to their conservation work, the workplace and the communities they serve. In creating an organizational DEI plan, staff and board members from Sonoma Land Trust participated in a comprehensive training and capacity-building program that included retreats, coaching sessions and three years of committee work to produce this 10-year plan.
Read the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan here.