Equity Work and History

JVC Northwest is committed to racial equity, inclusion, and justice. The call for equity and inclusion stem from and are intrinsically linked to our mission as a Jesuit Catholic organization. Because we hold that the Divine grounds all things and creates all things good, we are all equal in the eyes of this Divine. Any historical, current exclusion, or inequitable treatment of particularly but not exclusively Indigenous and people of color does not fulfill our Jesuit Catholic mission.

We want to be transparent about our process in this commitment and our progress in undertaking this work. Since releasing our Spring 2019 Focus magazine, the Advancing Equity issue, we’ve had conversations with many of you about our process and our specific plans – we welcome those dialogues! As this process is an on-going effort, we will continue to keep you aware of what we are doing to achieve our goals.

To do this equity work in deep and comprehensive ways, we need to be intentional and authentic. After we received the results of the equity assessment that we commissioned through Resolutions Northwest, a local equity-consulting agency, JVC Northwest took up the task of developing a comprehensive short and longer term equity plan. To create a plan that we believe best represented the results and recommendations of the consultants, we worked closely as a staff and Board of Directors over a period of many months to capture the critical issues that needed to be addressed. We have been intentional in our process and are still receiving guidance and leadership from professionals in the equity and inclusion field.

As the Board and staff continue our equity work, we are cognizant that the recommendations of Resolutions Northwest are a version of equity fully realized. We recognize that our work in becoming and remaining an equitable organization is an ongoing process: as you’ll see particularly in the DEI Plan and Timeline, we’ve already made significant progress. As spirituality informs our organization, we will hold the tension of our ideal version of equity and our daily examination, conscious of how we have fallen short. This work, including your own feedback, will help us as we more deeply commit to social and ecological justice in all our JV homes and local communities.

We also want to be accountable to constituent requests for information. Therefore, we are sharing some of our working documents as a starting point for showing what we’ve done so far and what we still have to do.

These are the recommendations of Resolutions Northwest, based on their survey of numerous JVs, former JVs, and some partner agency staff. Due to privacy concerns, we’ve redacted direct quotes from survey takers.
These are our goals to institutionalize equitable practices, which grew from the recommendations by Resolutions Northwest. This is a working document and goals may change over time, and our new Executive Director of course will have important input on these goals. Please note those action items that have already been completed and will continue.

Long-Term Scope of Work

One of the assessment recommendations was to “honestly and deeply acknowledge the history and impacts [of JVC Northwest] in Alaska Native and Native American communities.” We recently released a Request for Proposal (RFP), our next step in learning our history, the impacts we have had in the communities where we serve, and how those communities would like to engage going forward. If you or someone you know is interested in responding to the RFP, please email info@jvcnorthwest.org to request a copy. Please include your name and contact information with the request.

Call to Action to our Community:

Engage in this equity work with us! JVC Northwest is not a monolith; we are an organization formed by thousands of people over the last 60+ years whose intentions were and are to live out the values of: Community, Simple Living, Social and Ecological Justice, and Spirituality.

We cannot do equity work without our larger community, especially community members most impacted by inequity and injustice. We welcome your feedback and invite you to share your comments and observations in this survey.

 

History

Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest began in 1956, under the auspices of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus. A few committed volunteers helped build and teach in the new Copper Valley School in Copper Valley, Alaska, a boarding school for Native Alaskan and European-descent Alaskan students. The first volunteers were recruited and supported by the Jesuits of the Oregon Province and the Sisters of St. Anne.

The Jesuit Volunteer program expanded out of Alaska in the 1960s to work with Native American communities throughout the Northwest, as well as serving in inner city placements in the Pacific Northwest, throughout the U.S., and other countries around the world.

Beginning in 1974, JVC Northwest inspired the opening of five domestic regions of JVC in the Midwest, East, Southwest, and South, and one international region (JVI), each an independent non-profit office.  JVC Northwest has been the catalyst for many other faith-based volunteer organizations, and served as a model for the U.S. Peace Corps. In JVC Northwest’s 60+ year history, over 7,500 persons have served in our program.

Relationships

JVC Northwest is a separate organization from Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), our sister organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2006, when the various regions of JVC made a decision to form one centralized structure based in Baltimore, JVC Northwest discerned to remain independent and locally based to better serve local and regional communities in the Northwest. We continue to collaborate with JVC, united in the shared foundational values of Jesuit Volunteers. JVC Northwest is committed to providing well-supported volunteers to address the most urgent needs in the Northwest.

AmeriCorps

In 2010, JVC Northwest received a three-year National Direct AmeriCorps award from the Corporation for National and Community Service, allowing us to expand into communities where the need is greatest. These three-year grants were renewed again in 2013 and 2016.  Most of our Jesuit Volunteers are AmeriCorps Members, receiving a $5, 815 education award at the completion of their service year.

Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JVE)

In January 2012, the Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (“encore”) program launched in Portland, Ore. JV EnCorps facilitates transformative opportunities for service, community, and spiritual formation for older adults 50 and over committed to social and ecological justice. The initial development of the program was made possible with a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

In Fall 2013, the JV EnCorps program in Portland engaged 18 JV EnCorps members serving 16 nonprofit agencies for a total of 5, 000 hours of volunteer service.

As of Fall 2018, JV EnCorps programs has expanded to include communities in Bend and Portland, Ore. and Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma, Wash.

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