The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington sees a vibrant community as a place that respects and celebrates the spirit, vitality and individuality of all people.

We believe engaged communities value difference, find strength through inclusion and embrace all perspectives. The values of equity and inclusion are central to our mission because we believe that the narrative of our region should be a collective reflection of all of its people.

We recognize that historic and ongoing racial and structural inequities have marginalized certain voices. These actions and systems were created and sustained over time to deny opportunities to communities based on traits such as race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, economic class, age, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

Overcoming this deeply rooted record of oppression demands our urgency and intention.

We will continue to partner with community champions who are leading these efforts locally and regionally. We will act as advocates in advancing equity and be allies for organizations and communities who are working to create positive change. Through it all, we will stay transparent and accountable to ourselves and the communities we serve.

Conversations around historical inequities, access and opportunity may generate raw emotions and we anticipate uncomfortable conversations. We will approach this work knowing that difficult topics require continuous learning and even mistakes. We commit to entering this space with empathy, compassion and openness. We also commit to centering the voices of those who have been historically marginalized in all of our work.

Courage, conviction and humility will see us through to our vision of a vibrant community: one that honors each of the identities and stories that make Southwest Washington exceptional.

 – Community Foundation Board of Directors & Staff


*Photo courtesy of Fourth Plain Forward and mural artist Camille Cote



Culture The learned and shared values, beliefs and behaviors of a community or a group of people.

Diversity describes the myriad ways in which people differ, including the psychological, physical and social differences that occur among all individuals, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, economic class, education, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, mental and physical ability and learning styles. Diversity is all-inclusive and supportive of the proposition that everyone and every group should be valued. It is about understanding these differences and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of our differences.

Equity The unequal distribution of time, resource or focus, with the explicit intention of creating equal outcomes. Equity ensures that individuals are provided the resources they need to have access to the same opportunities as the dominant group or general population.

Ethnicity A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, cultural heritage, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history and ancestral geographical base.

Inclusion Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.

Race A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly skin color), cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time. There are no distinctive genetic characteristics that truly distinguish between groups of people. Created by Europeans (Whites), race presumes human worth and social status for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power. Race is independent of ethnicity.

Racism The term “racism” specifically refers to individual, cultural, institutional, and systemic ways by which differential consequences are created for different racial groups. Racism is often grounded in a presumed superiority of the white race over groups historically or currently defined as non-white (African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, etc.). Racism can also be defined as “prejudice plus power.” The combination of prejudice and power enables the mechanisms by which racism leads to different consequences for different groups.

Personal/individual Racism The ways in which we perpetuate and/or assume the idea that white people are inherently better and/or people of color are inherently inferior on an individual basis.

Institutional Racism The ways in which the structures, systems, policies and procedures of institutions in the United States are founded upon and then promote, reproduce and perpetuate advantages for white people and the oppression of people of color.

Cultural Racism The ways in which the dominant culture is founded upon and then defines and shapes norms, values, beliefs and standards to give advantages to white people and oppress people of color.

Bias Prejudice; an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment.

Explicit Bias Consciously accepts prejudice in favor of, or against one group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Implicit Bias Consciously rejects prejudice and stereotypes and supports anti-discrimination efforts but also holds negative associations unconsciously.

Ageism The stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of a person’s age.

Ableism The stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination against individuals or groups with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities.

Classism or Class Discrimination The stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination against individuals or groups belonging to a perceived social class.

Heterosexism and Homophobia The stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination against individuals or groups who identify as homosexual.

Anti-Semitism The stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination against Jews.

Xenophobia The stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination against individuals or groups from other countries.