The Mercer Island Community Fund Announces the Launch of the MI Community Connection Directory

June 3, 2021 | by My MI Team

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On Monday, May 10th, the MI Community Connection Collaboration, led by the Mercer Island Community Fund (MICF), launched the MI Community Connection Directory. 

All Mercer Island community members are invited to visit the Directory at www.micommunityfund.org/community-connection-directory to learn about opportunities to become involved in the Mercer Island community as a volunteer, member, or leader at one of 24 participating community organizations who are all committed to inclusivity and promoting belonging in Mercer Island.  

Erin Krawiec, the board President of the MICF, explained, “Many Mercer Island organizations have not been successful at attracting and retaining volunteers, members and leaders that are representative of our community’s diversity.  Existing members and leaders invite their close friends to participate, but their close friends are often demographically similar to themselves.  We have this idea that Mercer Island is so small, and we know all of the people interested in volunteering, but that’s because the same people end up volunteering over and over again. The reality is that there are many community members who would like to become more involved, but don’t know about opportunities or who to contact to get involved. We hope that the MI Community Connection Directory will help bridge this gap.” 

“The directory is a small step to remove a barrier. The groups who are committed to creating welcoming spaces continue to work together so everyone is valued. For too long, the burden of equity work has been placed on the people who are disproportionately impacted by the current structures, white spaces. Important voices and communities are not in our membership and leadership spaces, and their absence means we are not fully embracing and serving our whole community,” said Melissa Neher, the Community Fund’s DEI Chair and one of the MI Community Connection leaders.

What is the MI Community Connection?

Recent national and local events have highlighted a need and desire to address the diversity and inclusiveness of the Mercer Island community.  Mercer Island Community Fund’s (MICF) mission includes building community and our board sees it as our role to help push forward a movement to support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Mercer Island community.  So back in October, we invited several organizations to collaborate with us to tackle these issues and make positive change for diversity, equity and inclusion in Mercer Island.

A group of individuals representing MICF, MIYFS Foundation, MI Schools Foundation, MIYFS,  MI Women’s Club, MI Chamber of Commerce, MI PTSA Council, Parent Edge, the Fine Arts Advisory Council (and more!) agreed to join our collaboration and we have been meeting regularly to discuss these issues.  The group crafted a plan to help build leadership spaces (boards of directors, leadership teams, etc.) and group memberships and ultimately our organizations, as more inclusive and representative of our community’s diversity, including: race, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation, cultural identity, religion, sex, gender, ability, and socioeconomic status.  We believe that by building diversity in our volunteer groups and elevating diverse voices, we’ll all benefit. 

What is the Directory and who is it for?

The Directory is a resource for all Mercer Island community members who want to get involved with Mercer Island organizations as either a volunteer, a member, or a leader.  The Directory includes listings for 24 organizations who are all committed to promoting belonging in Mercer Island.  Each organization’s listing provides detailed information about involvement opportunities, time commitments, financial or other requirements, and who to contact for more information. 

What is the Commitment to Promote Belonging in Mercer Island?

Because the goal of the Directory is to support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Mercer Island community, inclusion in the MI Community Connection Directory requires organizations to agree to the following Commitment to Promote Belonging in Mercer Island:

Our organization believes diversity of race, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation, cultural identity, religion, sex, gender, ability, and socioeconomic status makes us stronger and more able to serve our community. We are committed to promoting a culture of inclusion and belonging.

How can other Mercer Island organizations be included in the Directory?

If your organization values diversity, equity and inclusion and agrees with the Commitment to Promote Belonging in Mercer Island, we’d love to include it in the Directory.  Your listing will be made available to our entire community to help your organization attract volunteers, members and leaders that are more representative of our community’s diversity.  Click here to enroll online.

About the Mercer Island Community Fund:

MICF’s mission is to benefit and serve the residents of Mercer Island by receiving, investing and distributing funds to support community goals and interests in the areas of social welfare; arts and culture; recreation; health and rehabilitation; environment; education; community development; and other charitable needs.  Collaborating and connecting individuals and organizations to have greater impact, MICF harnesses the power of community to collectively solve problems.  

MICF values our whole community, and recognizes the need to actively promote community belonging. People from all racial and cultural identities make Mercer Island home, and the Community Fund strives to support community belonging in our grantmaking and community-building activities. MICF is working to build and retain a Board of Directors representative of the diverse community we serve. 

To find out more about the fund, visit micommunityfund.org or email [email protected]

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