Pause, Reflect, Recharge, Advance: Belonging and Impact at the RBF

In the context of the National Day of Racial Healing, we at the RBF pause to reflect on the journey toward anti-racism and anti-sexism to which we committed in 2020. That year, the murder of George Floyd compelled individuals, institutions, and our communities to do radically better on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The RBF has prioritized belonging. So many members of our community recall a time when they have been excluded or noticed others experiencing prejudice due to factors beyond their control—their race, gender identity and expression, sexuality, disability, religion, ethnicity, and other identity markers. The experience of exclusion creates lingering harm, which is why it is essential to focus on creating permanent conditions for genuine and lasting belonging.

We are focused on achieving impact through this work. Since articulating our commitment, we have shifted from proclamation to action. Action in our endowment management, action in our grantmaking, action in our programs at Pocantico, and action regarding who we hire, promote, elect to the board, and appoint to board committees.

In 2024, we will examine our history as a foundation established by members of the Rockefeller family, reflect on our progress, and strategize about how to sustain this momentum. We will not retreat.

A recent survey by employment law firm Littler Mendelson indicates that, despite significant societal backlash, an encouraging number of courageous corporate executives also remain committed to DEI; nearly 60 percent have expanded DEI efforts. Littler says these efforts “have become an important part of employee relations and talent strategies.”

We invite you to pause and reflect alongside the RBF on the progress you have made on DEI—how it has shaped you as a person, the institution you are a part of, and your interactions with other communities. We urge you to recharge your DEI efforts at personal, interpersonal, and institutional levels. At the RBF, we are committed to moving forward with renewed energy and intention because we know DEI makes a profound and critical impact toward finding just, peaceful, and sustainable solutions that can help heal our communities and our planet.