One of the five primary goals of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education’s Strategic Plan, adopted in July of 2019, is “Cultivating Collective Impact,” bringing people together to create a stronger and more inclusive movement. For KAEE, this means not only building stronger relationships and partnerships with organizations representing audiences and sectors not currently engaged with KAEE and striving continually to reach the communities that represent underserved audiences in Kentucky but also to transform KAEE into a more diverse and inclusive organization with increased cultural competency levels for the board, staff, and members, as well as more inclusive policies and practices.
To assist us in meeting those desired outcomes, KAEE has received a Center for Diversity & the Environment grant to host a robust, weeklong Build the Foundation workshop for our board of directors, allowing them to immerse themselves in issues and best practices in equity, inclusion, and diversity.
Formed from the belief that everyone has a place in the environmental movement, the Center for Diversity & the Environment works to “build bridges between communities of color and the environmental community, fostering a fundamental revolution of the environmental movement–into an equitable, inclusive, and diverse coalition of people at work on a wide array of environmental issues.”
The Build the Foundation workshop will be an important step in KAEE’s plan to reevaluate our internal culture and policies and weave equity and inclusion throughout our strategic plan.
“We want to create an environment where all Kentuckians feel welcome and encouraged to engage in the work of environmental education,” says Ashley Hoffman, KAEE Executive Director. “Our role as a backbone organization is to support the ‘boots on the ground’ who are actively doing environmental education each day, and we hope to reach organizations who do not know about our work so we can support them in theirs.”
Hoffman says that “we hope, and plan, to not simply invite all communities and organizations to ‘our table’ but to go to theirs, to find innovative and useful ways to get to know them and to help them reach their own goals.”