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Hillside Strong: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Hillside is a part of the communities we serve. Deep within our mission is an implicit commitment to supporting a diverse, equitable and inclusive society. Our agency is dedicated to reversing the multigenerational damage too often caused by poverty, trauma and neglect. Every day, our people see the links between those issues and structural racism and inequity.

Hillside’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:

Hillside creates an inclusive environment where we leverage our diversity to build a strong, equitable community.

We support diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in all aspects of our work—for the good of our employees, and the youth and families we serve.

  • Hillside believes that Black lives matter. Our agency strongly opposes acts of racism and violence in any form.
  • Our executives actively engage with government, education and community leaders to explore the nature of structural problems, and how Hillside can make a difference.
  • Our harassment-free workplace policy explicitly supports a working environment that is free of inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment.
  • An open door policy ensures that concerns can be brought to leaders without fear of retaliation.

Watch a brief video gallery of the Summer 2020 Black Lives Matter art exhibit featuring artwork created by young people in residential treatment at Hillside.

Hillside’s DE&I Structure

A diverse and inclusive community requires many points of view. Hillside’s DE&I commitment brings employees together at all levels of the organization, to ensure their voices are heard.

  • Ideas and suggestions for agency-wide change are shared with the Executive Council, which also meets monthly.
  • Affinity groups including Hillside Men of Color and Hillside Women of Color meet throughout the year, to share vital thoughts and perspectives.

Because these activities are fundamental to our effectiveness as an organization, staff participate in DE&I meetings as a part of their workday. The shape of the work continues to evolve, but our dedication to DE&I is unwavering—for the benefit of our employees, and the communities we all call home.

DE&I Update: New Progress in the New Year

As the calendar turns over to 2024, Hillside’s activities in the DE&I space are ongoing:

A new 12-month cohort of the Urban League of Rochester’s Interrupt Racism initiative kicks off in January, and Hillside will again participate in this vital community-based antiracism program. Our “Change Team”—a diverse working committee of up to 10 members, representing all levels of the organization—will receive training and support to help Hillside more deeply address issues around equity in their specific context. By helping us identify inequitable policies, practices, and behaviors, the Interrupt Racism program will support our commitment to creating an equitable work environment where all employees can thrive.

Hillside’s new LGBTQ Affinity Group will begin meeting in January, providing a dependable forum for our employees in the LGBTQ+ community to engage and discuss relevant experiences, issues, and ideas affecting them every day. This group joins our previously formed Hillside Men of Color and Hillside Women of Color affinity groups, which recognize the importance of helping our people find helpful connections and support.

Finally, our development of Hillside’s first Living Action Plan has made great progress, with the finish line in sight for the inaugural draft of this essential document. Of course, as a “living” plan, it will never really be finished—but it will nonetheless be a critical foundation of Hillside’s ongoing work in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community for our employees and the communities we serve. Excerpts from the Living Action Plan will be shared on this page later in 2024.

Proud to partner with Social Current

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the Council on Accreditation have joined to form Social Current. The combined mission is to advocate for and implement equitable solutions to society’s toughest challenges. As a longstanding member of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, Hillside is a proud member of this new partnership, supporting the effort to ignite change for an equitable society where all people can thrive.

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