Throughout its nearly 80 years, The John R. Oishei Foundation has worked to help those most in need with a mission to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the Buffalo Niagara region. While our region is now experiencing a time of unprecedented resurgence, significant disparities remain, perpetuated by long standing racial inequities established and reinforced by decades-old policies and practices. In order for our community to truly thrive, our resurgence must be felt by all people in our community.
To be a true catalyst for change, the Foundation is making an intentional commitment to tackle racial inequities and to ensure that our internal practices and our philanthropic decisions promote the elimination of racial equity gaps.
To that end, we have taken a number of steps including establishing a Task Force of staff and board members; dedicating time to discussion, learning and training; and allocating a budget to support our work. We have reached out to experts, consultants and other foundations engaged in racial equity work to learn as much as we can and to find models and mentors that can guide us.
We are just beginning. We believe we must first take a hard look at our internal practices and policies to better understand what stands in the way of our own progress and to challenge ourselves to improve. It is our hope that by doing so, we can create a culture where racial equity becomes part of our DNA and that we can then lead by example. We hope to share and to learn more about what our partners and fellow funders are doing to address the racial challenges in our city, and to collaborate in ways that benefit all those we serve, regardless of their skin color.
This is hard work. It will take time, intention and a thoughtful examination of our current policies and practices; deep, shared learning; and a commitment to make necessary change. We believe that the time is long past due and we are ready to commit the time and energy to confront this issue that has too long divided our community.
The John R. Oishei Board of Trustees
William G. Gisel, Jr. (Chair)
Florence M. Conti (Vice Chair)
Edward F. Walsh, Jr (Treasurer)
Donald K. Boswell
Luke T. Jacobs
Yvonne Minor-Ragan, Ph.D
Francisco M. Vasquez, Ph.D
Melva D. Visher