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 Glennallen, 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.

In the 1960s JVC Northwest expanded to other communities in and outside of Alaska. Jesuit Volunteers (JVs) began living in and serving with Native American communities throughout the Northwest, as well as in rural and urban social service and health placements across the country and around the world.

JVC Northwest has been a catalyst for many other faith-based volunteer organizations, and served as a model for the establishment of the Peace Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps. In JVC Northwest’s 64 year history, over 8,000 persons have served in our program.

Relationships

Beginning in 1974, JVC Northwest inspired the opening of five domestic regions of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in the Midwest, East, Southwest, and South, and one international region (JVI). In 2006, JVC Northwest discerned to remain independent when the five other regions of JVC formed one centralized structure based in Baltimore, MD. Since 2007, JVC Northwest has remained locally based to best serve the most pressing community needs in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Although we are separate organizations, JVC Northwest and JVC continue to collaborate, united in the shared foundational values of Jesuit Volunteers.

Our Team

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