Update from the Board of Trustees and Staff

March 26, 2021

In July 2020, the Marin Art and Garden Center trustees and staff issued a statement on racial injustice and inequality. Like many other organizations and individuals around the country, we were spurred to evaluate our own actions and policies in response to nationwide protests against racial injustice. Today, we wanted to report back to you, our community, on the steps we have taken since then.

Last summer, we pledged to:

  • Commit to increasing access for underserved communities;
  • Establish a special task force to lead Marin Art and Garden Center’s equity, diversity and inclusion work;
  • Explore ways to present Black, Indigenous and People of Color experience and culture to our audiences through a celebration of the arts;
  • Increase diversity and representation of other communities on our board and among our staff and contractors and vendors.

 

In early fall 2020, we established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, with representatives from the Board, staff, and community. We have since expanded its name—and mandate—to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Task Force. This group took the lead in developing a set of policies guiding Marin Art and Garden Center’s action in these areas. The Board of Trustees adopted these policies at its March meeting; you can review the policies below.

We have reached out to other local organizations to help us connect with communities that are under-represented within our current staff and Board. We appreciate the time and support from the Canal Alliance and the Marin City Community Development Corporation, and also the San Geronimo Valley Community Center for sharing their experience working to improve diversity in their organization.

Although our activities in the past year have been somewhat constrained by the pandemic, we have shared job postings more broadly, to help us recruit new staff from a more diverse pool. We are also actively seeking to work with contractors and vendors that are owned or operated by people of color.

As part of our 75th anniversary in 2020, we debuted a new logo and visual identity. As we have been gradually replacing the signs around the grounds, we are including translation into Spanish wherever possible. Our new Visitor’s Map also includes a Spanish-language insert. We have updated our vision and mission statements to reflect a commitment towards inclusion, and just this week we will install a new entry sign welcoming visitors in both English and Spanish and confirming our values.

We believe the most productive approach Marin Art and Garden Center can take to the critical issues of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility is to do the hard work of transforming our organization so that it truly serves the entire community. We are listening and learning from experts, peer organizations and potential partners who are engaged full-time in diversity work, and educating our staff and board.

We recognize that we are at the very beginning of this process, and we invite your participation as we continue.

Policies on Diversity, Equity,
Inclusion and Accessibility

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, March 16, 2021

Policy/Goal 1
Attract, recruit, hire, develop and retain diverse, multi-culturally sensitive staff and board members who are representative of Marin County’s diversity and can work effectively in cross-cultural environments.
Apply outreach efforts and create opportunities to attract diverse employees, board members, interns, task force/committee members and community volunteers.

  • Apply outreach efforts and create opportunities to attract diverse employees, board members, interns, task force/committee members and community volunteers.
  • Ensure that equitable practices exist for recruiting, hiring, developing and promoting staff, interns and volunteers.
  • Periodically review organizational personnel policies and practices, including compensation, promotion and organizational culture to ensure equity.
  • Conduct an annual review of board DEIA composition and culture.
  • Oversight of DEIA efforts is the responsibility of the Marin Art and Garden Center’s Board of Trustees Governance Committee.

 

Policy/Goal 2
Develop and implement an organizational culture of equity, inclusion, respect, trust, engagement, cultural sensitivity and cultural humility.

  • Provide professional development opportunities for board, staff and volunteers to learn to recognize unconscious biases, and to develop and increase cultural humility.
  • Develop policies, procedures and cultural norms that foster organization-wide trust, open communication and accountability.
  • Create a culture of recognition, respect and celebration for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

 

Policy/Goal 3

Communicate in a way that reflects our values and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Publicly communicate developments and progress related to all goals as frequently as warranted, but at least annually. Communications include, but are not limited to on-site signage and interpretative materials; promotional and program information; development appeals; business policies and practices and online and social media content.

  • Communicate our values of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in internal and external messages.
  • Build relationships with diverse community members to identify shared values.
  • Create inclusive messages that reach diverse audiences.
  • Identify, utilize and leverage channels of communication that reach diverse audiences.

 

Policy/Goal 4
Build, strengthen and retain strategic partnerships with community groups, organizations, businesses, contractors and individuals that serve and represent Marin County’s diverse communities.

  • Develop relationships with community partners who represent, serve and/or engage with Marin County’s diverse residents.
  • Provide equitable access to Marin Art and Garden Center as a primary engagement method to build relationships with partner organizations and underserved communities.
  • Include DEIA criteria in evaluation of contractors and business partners.
  • Encourage staff and board member participation in events and activities hosted by diverse community partners.

 

Policy/Goal 5
Identify and implement community-oriented, cross-cultural programs and projects that provide benefits for Marin County’s diverse communities and further our mission.

  • Identify and listen to the needs and interests of audiences, key stakeholders and communities historically underrepresented from the Arts, Gardens, Conservation and other fields consistent with the Center’s mission.
  • Develop, modify or create programs and projects that serve diverse populations and support community appreciation for diverse cultures and perspectives.
  • Programming should span from pre-school to school-age to adult audiences.
  • Promote equitable access to Marin Art and Garden Center’s resources. Access refers to the elimination of physical and virtual barriers that restrict visitors from enjoying the Center’s campus and programs.

Statement on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

July 24, 2020

The racial injustice and inequality Black, Indigeneous and People of Color suffer is unacceptable. The leadership of Marin Art and Garden Center want those members of our community who have been discriminated against, to know that we see you, we hear you, and we stand with you in the effort to permanently change this system that has existed in our nation for more than 400 years.

An essential part of our Mission here is to foster learning and growth. The Core Values we uphold include Honor—capturing respect, responsibility, stewardship and remembrance—as well as Sharing, which looks to embody community, belonging and openness. In order to stay true to these values, we must act. The first step is to acknowledge how we have been complicit with systemic racism.

Beginning immediately, Marin Art and Garden Center—trustees and staff—commit to increasing access for underserved communities to the valuable resources of the center and to broaden and diversify our visitor and program audiences.

We also pledge to establish a special task force comprised of board, staff, community members—and outside experts and partner organizations where necessary—to lead Marin Art and Garden Center’s equity, diversity and inclusion work, and importantly, to hold us accountable.

In addition, we are the place within our community that should explore ways to present Black, Indigenous and People of Color experience and culture to our audiences through a celebration of the arts—including visual arts exhibitions and music performances. Experiencing one another’s worlds leads to better understanding.

We will work to increase diversity and representation of other communities on our board and among our staff and contractors and vendors.

We express this commitment publicly and hold ourselves accountable.

Please join us on this mission.

 

The Board of Trustees and staff of
Marin Art and Garden Center