The persistent inequities across our country underscore our urgent, national need to address and alleviate racial, ethnic and other tensions and to promote diversity within our communities. As leaders of some of America’s largest corporations, we manage thousands of employees and play a critical role in ensuring that inclusion is core to our workplace culture and that our businesses are representative of the communities we serve. Moreover, we know that diversity is good for the economy; it improves corporate performance, drives growth and enhances employee engagement. – CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™

This may feel like both the worst of times,  as we confront a resurgence of isolationism, racism and bigotry (Hate in America is on the Rise, Washington Post) and the best of times, as people come together locally – like the recently formed Pasco County Agents for Change –  and nationally, like March for Our Lives, Womens March  and many others to advocate for gender/orientation, race and economic equity, and for social justice issues like health and safety. CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™  is another new and important initiative on the front lines of justice and equity, this one approaching the issue of diversity and inclusion from the corporate level.

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion says it’s “the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. ”

“A unique coalition of more than 450 CEOs have signed on to this commitment, agreeing to take action to cultivate environments where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcomed and where employees feel comfortable and encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion. All the signatories of the commitment serve as leaders of their companies and committed to implementing the pledge within their workplaces, or where companies have already implemented one or several of the commitments, will support other companies in doing the same.”

This is good news for the diverse youth we work with, who need to know they are moving into inclusive work environments that value their cultural and social differences as much as the skills they’re bringing to the table.  It’s also a basic necessity.  According to a recent Forbes article (Diversity And Inclusion Matters To The Workforce Of The Future):

“Over a third of today’s workforce — more than 56 million people — is of the millennial and post-millennial generation, or Generation Z. By 2025, this group will make up nearly 75% of the workforce. Once we wrap our heads around these staggering numbers, it only makes sense to examine the impact this largest (and growing) segment will have on the future workplace, especially in the realm of diversity and inclusion.”

And it’s good news for us as a society, because the youth of America are largely a far more tolerant and accepting generation than their predecessors and want the companies they work for to reflect a broader social vision.

“Nearly two-thirds of millennials take interest in an organization’s corporate social responsibility,” according to Forbes. ” In other words, an increasing number of millennials believe that organizations have a moral obligation to give back to the society in ways that create an inclusive environment for everyone to participate and thrive, regardless of their disability status. With a fresh outlook on life and endless quest for excellence, millennials are acting more responsibly than any generation before to lay the foundation for a unified world in which divisions and barriers will give way to harmony and accord — a world in which the open-ended power of diversity will win over the fragmented notion of “differences.””

Given the raging, and often wrathful, headlines these days, it can be hard to see the bigger – and more accurate- picture of America (check out Politico’s “America: This is Your Future) , or to feel like anything we do has any real substance over the volume of hate . But we lift as we rise.  Community Driven Innovation relies on the creativity, insights and experiences of a diverse and multifaceted community, and it is in all our interests to support, and encourage diversity and inclusion at every level, from our schools to our workplaces, in our neighborhoods and in our own governance. It’s how we act that matters, not how we look or where we’re from.

To that end, the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of professionalism, diversity and inclusion in all our programs. We embrace and encourage differences in race,color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, income or any other characteristics that make our program participants unique. All our programs are guided by the FCDI Code of Conduct – ethical, professional behavior –  by which all participants, from adults to students, as well as volunteers and guests, are expected to abide.

For more resources or to take an active advocacy role in your community: