FAQs: JEID | Cal Parks

Why did it take this long to happen? 

The truth is these dynamics have been going on for a long time, and it's important to acknowledge this work should have been at the forefront of our mission earlier on, especially in regards to visitor experience. Over the past two years, we have been focused on deep learning so that we can move the work forward in a thoughtful and intentional way. We have been taking time to learn what our role is in ensuring justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity (JEID) in state parks. This has included working with consultants at Avarna Group — a leader in supporting environmental organizations on their path to JEID success. This commitment is an on-going journey that will continue to shape our internal and external work for years to come. 

How are you changing what you already do? 

We have identified steps to take over the next several years to ensure that we have the internal infrastructure needed and can begin working toward three primary commitment areas: 

  1. Fostering an organizational culture that celebrates learning and growth, leans into difficult conversations and feedback, values connection to each other, and sustains staff and board members' well-being and sense of belonging. 
  2. Centering and amplifying the needs, values, and voices of marginalized people, specifically Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people in our advocacy work and in our programming. 
  3. Building trust-based partnerships, especially with Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people and accountability-based partnerships with funders and agency partners. 

Initially, a lot of this work will be focused internally — such as providing training for our staff, ensuring compensation and benefits are equitable and inclusive, and strengthening the onboarding process. As we focus more externally, additional work will include ensuring that our volunteer base better reflects California's demographics, advocating for policy in the state legislature that furthers our JEID values, and prioritizing partnering with organizations led by people from marginalized communities. Some of this work is already happening, but we will be approaching it in a more structured and intentional way going forward. 

What do you mean people can't access parks? 

At California State Parks Foundation, we believe equitable access to California state parks is a right, and barriers to park access include things like transportation, cost, knowledge of where parks are can prevent access. Additionally, not feeling welcome because you don't see yourself represented in parks (park staff, signage, interpretive programs, outdoor industry advertising, etc.) means the park system is not truly accessible to you. These are some ways in which we can improve park access.  

What are you tracking to ensure process? 

We recently finalized our JEID plan for the organization that covers our commitment areas, strategies, tactics, accountability, and success indicators for the next several years. Some of the success indicators we will be tracking include: greater number of staff self-identifying as BIPOC; greater number of board members identifying as women, nonbinary, or BIPOC; increase in diversity of members and volunteers; and year upon year improvement of vendor diversity. Tracking this information is important to us as well, as this commitment is an on-going journey that will continue to shape our internal and external work for years to come. 

How can I help with your DEI efforts? 

The best way you can help is to communicate with us via email to info@calparks.org to let us know when you think we’re doing well and when we could improve.