Disaster Group says diversity is a high priority

For the publisher:

The Board of Directors of National Voluntary Disaster Organizations would like to set the record straight in response to your article, “Former Head of Disaster Non-Profit Organization Says He Has been fired for diversity efforts ”(11 February).

For 50 years, the primary focus of the VOAD movement has always been, and continues to be, dedication to working together and meeting the challenges of our ever-changing and rapidly changing world. As we move forward into 2021, this remains our focus and driving force as we work together to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters across our country.

The allegations made by former NVOAD President and CEO Gregory Forrester are unfortunate and baseless. While we cannot comment on the pending litigation, we wish to correct the record that Mr. Forrester was terminated for reasons unrelated to the claims alleged in his filed action and reproduced in the the Chronicle article.

As we move forward into this year, the Board of Directors and NVOAD will continue their commitment to championing and increasing the diversity, equity and inclusiveness that we have strived for over the past several years. The disasters to which our member organizations, communities and individuals respond know no human boundaries. Therefore, we must do our utmost to ensure that all people, from all walks of life, races, religions, beliefs, origins and more, are heard and included in NVOAD as we promote cooperation, communication, coordination and collaboration.

In August 2018, the board of directors of NVOAD developed and adopted the national strategic plan of VOAD 2019-2023. One of the fundamental areas to ensure that NVOAD continues to be a thriving national organization is to promote the inclusion of voices and provide platforms to serve and support diverse communities. The strategic initiatives of the plan include the creation of a task force and a broader strategy to support institutional approaches to diversity.

Additionally, another initiative listed in the strategic plan is to increase our membership with more organizations representing diverse populations. To emphasize a more diverse membership, the board formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group in February 2019. As originally planned in our initial planning, we anticipate this committee will become a committee. on the NVOAD Board of Directors in 2021. The DCI Working Group and subsequent committee will continue to identify, engage and ensure long-term inclusion of diverse voices and platforms for diverse communities across the board. across the country.

In 2019, the board created a governance working group to review and improve bylaws, policies, procedures and organizational governance. The Governance Working Group actively worked with a subject matter expert to strengthen the foundations of NVOAD to ensure our collective capacity to support our disaster efforts.

Finally, this month the board continued its efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at its meeting on February 2. The Board of Directors asked the Membership Committee to review and identify the best approach to ensure the inclusion of First Nations, Indigenous Tribal Organizations, and Native American communities among NVOAD members.

Over the past few years, NVOAD and the Board of Directors have consistently and consistently demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with respect to our membership and our focus on the diverse communities affected by disasters. By increasing inclusiveness, we stay focused on the task at hand: helping our country, our partners, our member organizations and our communities to heal and recover.

Michael G. Manning
Chairman, Board of Directors
National voluntary organizations working in disasters

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