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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Plan

DEI Action Plan

Getting to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment both inside and outside the doors of Earthjustice.

Earthjustice's comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion plan lays out our internal and external organizational goals for the year.

The goals reflect the work we believe is essential to do on DEI, both inside and outside the doors of Earthjustice.

Inside, we will continue our work to recruit and retain multi-culturally sophisticated employees and to build a stronger culture of inclusion. Outside our doors, we will work to diversify our clients, partners, donors and supporters to ensure that we are serving all communities impacted by environmental issues.

The following assessment summarizes what was accomplished in the 2017 plan and assigns a rating to each outcome: “Accomplished” (objective was met); “Ongoing” (substantial work was completed on the objective and additional work is required to operationalize the recommendations as institutional practice); or “Not Met” (insufficient work accomplished to meet the stated objective).

Download the 2018 Draft Plan.

Introduction to 2017 Report Card
From Charles (Chas) J. Lopez Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion

At the beginning of 2017, we made a commitment to the organization to undertake a number of initiatives to help us move the needle closer to accomplishing our seven primary diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals. This document serves as a year-end assessment of our progress. More specifically, what appears here is a review of the original objective, a summary of what was accomplished, and a corresponding rating.

A number of initiatives in 2017 focused on building infrastructure. Building this infrastructure is an important and necessary element for establishing a solid foundation for us to continue and deepen our equity and inclusion work. In our efforts to do so, we simultaneously move closer to fully realizing our organizational mission to protect our planet and defend the rights of all people to a healthy environment.

It takes all of us to do this work and I want to express my deep gratitude to the entire organization for the personal work you each have done. Special thanks to the workgroup members who attended monthly meetings, spoke to stakeholders, did research on best practices, and created tangible work products for the benefit of the entire organization. The time, dedication and expertise of the workgroup members is the reason we accomplished as much as we did. Thank you.

Goal One, Objectives & Assessment:
Attract and hire diverse and multi-culturally sensitive staff
Original Objectives
Create best practice screening guidelines for law clerk hiring and determine the purpose of the law clerk program across the organization. Assessment: Accomplished Internal feedback from the clerk hiring group and a review of industry best practices was conducted in order to create a set of screening guidelines for law clerk hiring. The guidelines articulate a clear purpose of the program and provide a fair and consistent way of screening and evaluating applicants across the Regional Offices/Programs. Clerk best practice guidelines were implemented in 2017.
Provide training and explicit rationale for understanding that by having fair and equitable hiring practices, diversity, in all its forms, will naturally flow. Assessment: Ongoing Written rationale incorporated into hiring documentation and guidelines that will be implemented in 2018. Frequently asked questions and answers section to be incorporated into recruitment materials on organization’s intranet. Additional training will also be available from the vice president of human resources, general counsel and vice president of diversity & inclusion.
Create role clarification for the managing attorneys and vice presidents in the hiring process. Assessment: Ongoing The group created suggested guidelines for litigation vice presidents and managing attorneys when hiring regional office or program staff. The guidelines clarify their role(s) and expectations to ensure a well-communicated, consistent, fair, and streamlined process. The guidelines are currently in the review and approval phase.
Evaluate and scope potential improvements for ongoing recruitment and hiring for all positions—this will be an ongoing goal and will inform subsequent years’ objectives. Assessment: Ongoing Work will begin on non-attorney positions as a primary objective for the 2018 plan. A review of the current DEI competencies that are in every job description will be evaluated.
Staff Attorney Jan Hasselman (left) and Associate Attorney Stephanie Tsosie represented the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Staff Attorney Jan Hasselman (left) and Associate Attorney Stephanie Tsosie represented the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Goal Two, Objectives & Assessment:
Review current promotional pathways
SLT Co-Leads
Original Objectives
Develop guidelines for staff with similar titles to come together and discuss opportunities for those in “ceiling title” positions to ensure recognition and rewards. Develop a plan to operationalize guidelines with managers/supervisors. Assessment: Not Met The group discussed and brainstormed several ways to ensure recognition and rewards for those in “ceiling title” positions. While rough draft guidelines were started, the group deferred completion until 2018.
Develop a Leadership Program training curriculum. Assessment: Ongoing We evaluated several vendors who could provide a complete leadership training curriculum. Further work will continue during the next plan year to consider an in-house curriculum with input from the director of talent management, vice presidents of litigation and vice president of diversity & inclusion. This program will supplement the mentoring opportunities/professional development currently available.
Review guidelines for promotions. Assessment: Accomplished Written guidelines for promotion were developed to reflect current practices for all titles across the organization.
Managing Attorney Shannon Fisk (left) works with Office Manager Patty Vesper.
Matt Stanley for Earthjustice
Managing Attorney Shannon Fisk (left), with Office Manager Patty Vesper.
Goal Three, Objectives & Assessment:
Increase partnerships that could lead to the representation of new clients
Original Objectives
Follow up on regional office assessments and operationalize recommendations. Assessment: Accomplished The group drafted a comprehensive plan to operationalize recommendations from the regional office assessments conducted in 2016–2017. The plan includes a section on training, partnership time-tracking, and fundraising.
Continue training series on creating and maintaining respectful partnerships. Assessment: Ongoing The group used the regional office assessments to identify common training needs and requests related to partnerships. The series, Creating and Maintaining Respectful Partnerships, continued in 2017 with a presentation from one of our key partners and an internal panel presentation. Additional trainings will be offered in calendar year 2018 and beyond.
Develop guidelines to supplement training regarding maintaining partner/client relationships. Assessment: Ongoing Draft written guidelines were developed regarding establishing and maintaining respectful partnerships. The guidelines will be operationalized in 2018.
Develop time-tracking mechanism to account for time spent on developing and maintaining partnerships and incorporate into performance metrics. Assessment: Ongoing The group created guidelines for how to track time that is spent solely on developing and maintaining partnerships. They also developed a mechanism to track and code time in our existing Earthjustice time-tracking systems. Guidelines are awaiting final approvals.
Develop mechanism to solicit information from our partners. Assessment: Ongoing A draft survey was created to solicit input from our partners on a routine basis.
Arturo Rodriguez, President of United Farm Workers, and Managing Attorney Patti Goldman at the 2016 All-Staff Meeting event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Arturo Rodriguez, President of United Farm Workers, and Managing Attorney Patti Goldman at the 2016 All-Staff Meeting event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.
Goal Four, Objectives & Assessment:
Develop a 21st-century donor constituency and expand portfolio of donors/funders to make it possible to take on new partners and clients
Original Objectives
Complete fundraising toolkit for capacity building with a select group of partners. Assessment: Ongoing The group developed a draft toolkit for capacity building with partners and utilized these materials to inform a select group of our international partners in the fall of 2017.
Explore the possibility of joint fundraising with select partners and, if possible, draft guidelines. Assessment: Ongoing We have worked closely with select partners on joint fundraising from foundations. Draft guidelines for joint fundraising are under development.
Identify targeted DEI goals with each Development Department director and corresponding accountability metrics. Assessment: Ongoing As part of the strategic planning process for the Development Department, specific DEI goals were incorporated into each team and individual work plans (e.g., rebranding effort for mid-level donor program).
Staff Attorney Greg Loarie (left) speaks to Board Member Betty Schafer and other Earthjustice donors.
Dave Getzschman for Earthjustice
Staff Attorney Greg Loarie (left) speaks to Board Member Betty Schafer and other Earthjustice donors.
Goal Five, Objectives & Assessment:
Improve employee satisfaction, engagement, culture of trust, support, respect and inclusion
Original Objectives
Continue Building Understanding through Discussion and Sharing (BUDS) Program and refine for optimal effectiveness. Assessment: Accomplished In 2017, the BUDS Program had 86 participants, a 23% increase from participation the previous year. Refinements to the program included a more streamlined process for pairing, increased internal advertising, and providing information about the program for all new hires in a welcome email from the vice president of diversity & inclusion.
Develop a recommended reading and viewing list of select DEI topics for new employees. Assessment: Accomplished A new employee orientation resources sheet was developed. The sheet includes information on how to get involved in DEI at Earthjustice and a list of required readings and video viewings for all new employees. This information will be included in a new employee orientation manual that is currently being developed
Create a survey focused specifically on internal culture and allow staff to self-identify race/ethnicity, gender, orientation, religion, ability, etc. Assessment: Ongoing The group created survey questions focused on internal culture and the organization’s core values of justice, inclusion, partnership and excellence. Upon receiving final approval, the survey will likely be administered in Q3 or Q4 of 2018.
Create an Earthjustice video for prospective applicants on a day in the life of Earthjustice. Assessment: Accomplished Staff from across the organization submitted photographs and video footage to highlight internal culture at Earthjustice as part of a new hire recruitment video. Video to be launched in Q1 of 2018.
Provide input to the Strategic Plan. Assessment: Accomplished Workgroup members provided input on the Vision and Values portion of the strategic plan. Several workgroup members were also invited to be members of various strategic planning working groups.
Development Database Administrator Jacqui Dec chats with Advocacy Communications Manager Kathleen Scatassa, Senior Vice President of Operations Kristine Stratton, and other Earthjustice staff (from center to right).
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Development Database Administrator Jacqui Dec chats with Advocacy Communications Manager Kathleen Scatassa, Senior Vice President of Operations Kristine Stratton (from center to right) and other Earthjustice staff.
Goal Six, Objectives & Assessment:
Expand life-long learning program for all employees
Original Objectives
Develop three-year comprehensive DEI training plan. Assessment: Ongoing A vendor was chosen to provide a comprehensive training program for the entire organization during calendar year 2018. The training will focus on intra-interpersonal relationships in a multicultural organization. Pre-training survey will be administered to participants to allow the training to be custom tailored. The training for 2019 and beyond will focus on addressing organizational and systemic barriers.
Assess best methods for providing training to account for different learning styles with specific attention to both theory and practice. Assessment: Accomplished Training will be a combination of lecture, small group and role play to address different learning styles. A breakout session will also benefit from race-caucusing cohorts to allow participants to more deeply work on issues most relevant to identity group.
Evaluate Train-the-Trainer. Assessment: Ongoing An approximate 15-member internal resource team of employees will be trained in January 2018 to assist in the pre-and-post training assessment and act as observers during the training sessions. This team will also be instrumental in planning the session for the allstaff meeting in September 2018 and training recommendation for 2019 and beyond.
Development Research Manager Felice Gomez-Spencer speaks at the 2016 National Green Latinos Summit.
Mike Greener for Earthjustice
Development Research Manager Felice Gomez-Spencer speaks at the 2016 National Green Latinos Summit.
Goal Seven, Objectives & Assessment:
Increase employee engagement and recognition
SLT Lead
Original Objectives
Establish an organizational inclusive event. Assessment: Ongoing A “family” event fund and accompanying list of ideas will be provided to each regional office/program/department for 2018.
Assess ways that would make staff feel their work is valued. Assessment: Accomplished Legal, legislative and advocacy victories will be highlighted to all staff following presentations to the Board of Trustees. In addition, a procedure was developed for nominating staff for outstanding work. Written recognition could come from their direct manager and/or a member of the senior leadership team.
Provide ongoing guidance to assist managers in employee engagement and recognition. Assessment: Ongoing A framework was established for managers to engage with staff. The questions asked by the manager focus on what is working well and where there may be opportunities for improvement. The check-ins will also ask staff members who should be recognized for exemplifying the organization’s core values of justice, inclusion, partnership and excellence. This tool will be operationalized as part of the organization’s core values toolkit.
Litigation Operations Manager Amanda Sharp, Finance Assistant Stephanie Ng, Receptionist Amanda Nadelberg, and Office Manager Alaina Parness (from left to right) perform at a staff talent show.
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Litigation Operations Manager Amanda Sharp, Finance Assistant Stephanie Ng, Receptionist Amanda Nadelberg, and Office Manager Alaina Parness (from left to right) perform at a staff talent show.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.