Responding to COVID-19 and Anti-Black Racism

COVID-19
Greater Than has been working directly with families in Rockwood to alleviate the harms of COVID-19. Since mid-March we’ve been responsive to community needs through direct support and collaborative services.

Access to Healthy Foods, Rental and Utility Bill Assistance

  • Greater Than has continued to partner with Hopscotch Health Foundation to provide food boxes to about 90 families each week. Along with the dairy and produce boxes through Hopscotch, every week GT staff put together additional bags for each family receiving a food box. These bags have included: bread, feminine products, KN95 facemasks, children’s books, tortillas, snack bags from the “Blessings in a Backpack” food program, school supplies, and an assortment of baby food and apple sauce.

  • Since school closures, Greater Than has distributed $5,000 worth of gift cards for groceries to over 100 families.  

 

Academic Support and Summer Programming

  • We conducted multiple summer remote programs for targeted academic interventions for 3rd-5th graders, rising 6th graders, and rising 9th graders.

  • Supplies and video instructions have been provided to families and GT staff are available for support.

Back to School Planning

  • Greater Than staff continue to communicate with families on a regular basis to ensure a smooth transition to school in the fall.

  • Our Alder Parent Leadership Group has met with RSD Superintendent, the Reynolds Education Association, and participated in a small committee of parents and community partners to discuss planning for reopening schools.

  • Greater Than staff have also been part of preparing for reopening schools.

 

Systemic Racism
Greater Than is an organization led by predominantly white people serving communities of color. As such, we chose to embark on a deep and reflective process related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Lead by the Center for Equity and Inclusion, our work is ongoing and personal – down to every member of our staff and board of directors. This work began in 2015 and continues to this day. We’d like to offer examples of how we approach this work and would welcome ideas and suggestions from you on what you’ve implemented in your workplace as well.

  • Human Resources

    • Performance Evaluations at Greater Than include goals for racial equity learning for all white staff members. Individuals work with their supervisors to set their goals each year and they are supported in making space in their work to prioritize this important aspect of learning.

    • Affinity Groups at Greater Than are regularly occurring meetings for white staff to actively confront and discuss implicit bias and racist conditioning inherent to being White in America and for employees of color to engage in self-care and support one another.

    • Our hiring and interview process has shifted in several ways including to prioritize culturally diverse lived experience over formal education and credentialing.

  • Leadership & Decision-making

    • Staff and Board recruitment now actively considers the racial and cultural experience of candidates and all new staff and board members are required to attend racial equity training through the Center for Equity and Inclusion. Our Board of directors is now more reflective of the cultural experience of the communities we serve.

    • A transparent and equitable budgeting process that is openly discussed among all-staff members leads to greater trust, more equitable spending, and financial skill-building internally.

    • A set of questions is considered with every programmatic or spending decision that actively brings equity considerations into the conversation. We call it our “equity filter” and it helps create space to have tough conversations and shift entrenched practices in favor of more equitable ones.

  • Fundraising Equitably

    • Decentering whiteness in fundraising is ongoing, and we have begun by actively deciding to not invest in an expensive gala and shift some of those funds to mission-centered activities.

    • Prioritizing unrestricted giving means that major donors don’t influence programmatic decisions. Instead decision-making is held by our staff members with the most expertise, relevant lived-experiences, and access to input from students and families.

 

Lastly, we’d like to include our statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement which was previously posted to our website.

“We at Greater Than acknowledge that systemic racism exists in our society, including the education system. It is important that we reaffirm our commitment as an anti-racist organization and emphasize that we stand against anti-Black racism, today and every day. Though for some this may feel like a moment, the murders and turmoil is something that our Black brothers and sisters have experienced on a daily basis for centuries. As a predominantly white-led organization working with BIPOC communities, we will continue to center racial equity and actively use our privilege to dismantle the ways in which racism shows up in our education system. Please join us in adding your voices and your actions to the long journey ahead.”

2916 NE Alberta St. Suite  D

Portland, OR  97211

phone: 503-287-7203

fax: 503-926-6383 

Federal Tax ID: 93-1037323

© 2018 Greater Than