Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Note from DREAM’s Chief DEI Officer

by | Sep 28, 2021 | 0 comments

My name is Felicia Crump, and I’m DREAM’s Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer. I’ve been with DREAM for 11 years total. In fact, I started as one of DREAM’s first employees back in 2003 (my first job out of college) before I rejoined the organization in 2013—meaning that I’ve been able to watch, and shape, this work’s evolution from its earliest days. 

At DREAM, we are well aware that our work does not happen in a vacuum. It takes place in the larger context of the world—a world that our students move through every day, and in which they contend personally with issues of inequity. While this has always been the case, the political and social tensions of recent years have made our work with our youth and families, and our DEI investments, more urgent and consequential than ever.

So, now more than ever, our organizational commitment to DEI—which became a core initiative of our strategic plan in 2018—is an inextricable part of the fabric of DREAM. Not just a thing we do, not just an area that we prioritize, but rather a defining aspect of who we are, who we strive to be and how we do our work. 

That is why today, we are excited to publicly share DREAM’s DEI plan. This plan is rooted in three main areas of focus: maintaining a level playing field; growing and developing a diverse staff; and strengthening the student experience. Below is a preview, by no means exhaustive, of some of the projects that are already underway:

  • Reviewing and updating our student facing practices and policies to ensure that they do not perpetuate racism and white supremacy
  • Ongoing anti-racism training for staff, leadership, and our Boards that pushes the adults in our community, regardless of how they identify racially, to examine how they have both been impacted by and benefited from racism
  • Examining our hiring, retention, compensation, and promotion practices, and incorporating accountability for DEI
  • Growing the diversity of our organization’s Board of Directors to better reflect the populations we serve
  • Forming an advisory council of DREAM Legends (alumni) to have greater voice and power in the organization
  • Launching The DREAM Teaching Fellowship, which focuses on creating a pipeline of teachers from the communities we serve
  • Annually asking for staff’s feedback about the impact of our DEI work and our organizational culture through a DEI staff experience survey 

Our long term goal is for the adults in our community to be able to create really inclusive spaces where kids feel celebrated, seen, and cared for. That is why our strategy requires that we review and update our systems and policies while also continually pushing the adults in our community to personally reflect and grow. Doing so ensures that our DEI investment is rooted in our culture and the decisions that we make. And we’re already seeing our investment and hard work paying off—in 2021, 79% of promotions were earned by BIPOC employees; 73% of new hires identified as BIPOC; and 54% of DREAM’s management team identified as BIPOC, up from 40% the previous year. Our emphasis on competency-based hiring and our far-reaching, targeted outreach efforts allowed us to onboard incredibly smart, qualified, and diverse team members this year. 

As we try to walk with compassion, humility, and hope, we are committed to listening to and taking guidance from the communities we serve. That includes holding ourselves accountable and continuing the conversation. We welcome any feedback as you explore our DEI plan, and we are grateful to all our supporters as we learn and grow together. Thank you for striving with us toward our ultimate goal: a world where youth, especially youth of color, have permission to dream big—and where together, we dismantle the systemic barriers to making their dreams reality.

Explore Our DEI Plan

<a href="https://blog.wearedream.org/author/felicia_crump/" target="_self">Felicia Crump</a>

Felicia Crump

Felicia Crump, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer, leads DREAM in growing a measurably more diverse organization across all levels. Prior to her current role, Felicia worked as the Academic Counselor to the Men’s Basketball Team at the University of Connecticut, where she was responsible for the academic support and performance of the programs’ student-athletes. She has also previously held positions in the Community Affairs Departments at Major League Baseball and the Community and Player Programs Department at the National Basketball Association. Felicia rejoined the organization in 2013, having originally served as DREAM’s first Development Assistant. Felicia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a Master’s Degree in Sports Management and Sociology from the University of Connecticut.

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