buildOn’s Diversity Statement

We have confronted systems of oppression in pursuit of our mission for over 29 years. It would be impossible to pursue our mission without challenging injustice and through this we have learned that… We are our greatest strength.

We are multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-generational, and gender-inclusive. We are responsible for each other in solidarity with our communities across the world. We are committed to education and empowering individuals, both in the U.S. and globally, to lead changes that contribute to the liberation of oppressed people. We are dedicated to continuous reflection, learning, and course-changing to ensure our work environment and work practices contribute to dismantling systems of oppression.

We are willing to listen, hold each other accountable, and acknowledge the mistakes we have made and will make on this journey. We are courageously rebuilding an equitable and just future with our communities through anti-racist practices and values, power-sharing, and radical compassion.

We are students, alumni, staff, community members, and supporters who are working in solidarity to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

ONE mission. ONE movement. ONE buildOn.

In 2020, the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd set off national civil unrest and introspection for individuals and organizations across the United States and around the world. In this context, buildOn’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Council finalized a bold diversity statement that commits our organization to ensure that the environment we work in and the practices we employ in our work contribute to dismantling systems of oppression, and amplify buildOn’s efforts in “anti-racist practices and values, power-sharing, and radical compassion.”

This statement includes the experiences and perspectives of both our buildOn US and buildOn Global staff members throughout our organization, and was developed in celebration of our greatest strengths: our beautiful diversity and the incredible solidarity with our mission among thousands of people across the globe.

buildOn’s Diversity Statement is a major ONE buildOn milestone, and the culmination of a formal organization-wide commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion that began in 2017 and resulted in the formation of buildOn’s EDI Council.  

The EDI Council led the drafting of this statement and brought it to the buildOn staff at-large to workshop in multiple languages, including Spanish, English, and French. More than 140 members of the buildOn staff (70% of our total team) representing every developing country and U.S. city where we serve participated in these workshops. 

This feedback was incorporated into the final statement, a key addition being the inclusion of our commitment to learning: “We are willing to listen, hold each other accountable, and acknowledge the mistakes we have made and will make on this journey.”

The buildOn EDI Council is currently working to identify and prioritize the methods and measures for implementing actions to make good on the promise that buildOn’s Diversity Statement will be a living document that guides equity, diversity and inclusion strategies for our organization. 

We look forward to sharing our progress with the entire buildOn Movement as we continue this vital work.