We Invite You to Join Us:
A Deeper Exploration of Challenges and Disparities in Our Region

Community Equity and Inclusion Survey

In March 2024, we extended an invitation to our communities to join us in a deeper exploration of the challenges and disparities within our region by responding to our Community Equity and Inclusion Survey. The survey is now closed, and our team is analyzing the responses and uncovering meaningful insights that will guide our efforts toward creating a more equitable and inclusive community.

We extend gratitude to everyone who took the time to share their valuable insights and experiences with us, and encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter to get updates as they become available. 


What do we hope to learn?

Through our Community Equity and Inclusion Survey, we hope to gain a better understanding of:

  • The inequities and disparities in our region;
  • The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work taken up by organizations in the region;
  • The challenges organizations face related to DEI work; and
  • How Rotary Charities might better support efforts to address systemic challenges and help build communities where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.


Who should respond?

We hope to hear from staff, board members, volunteers, and consultants who work with nonprofit organizations, units of government, tribal nations, and school districts that provide services in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties. All responses will be completely anonymous. We invite more than one response per organization and appreciate your help in spreading the word by sharing this information with your colleagues and networks. 


How will results be used?

Survey findings will be aggregated and used in two ways:

  1. Internally to shape our strategies and how we align our work with others; and
  2. Shared in a report, with the aim of encouraging broader engagement and alignment.  


If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Sakura Takano, CEO of Rotary Charities of Traverse City. 

Our Intentional Equity & Inclusion Efforts

For the past few years, the Rotary Charities board and staff, together with consultant support and with feedback from our community, have been working on what intentional equity and inclusion efforts mean for our organization and those we serve in our regional communities. 

When we first asked our community about local equity and inclusion efforts in our 2022 Changemaker Needs Assessment, we learned that 69% of respondents had increased their focus on equity and inclusion through things like deepening learning, creating new goals and commitments, adapting programs or services, and making operational changes. Despite these positive signs, many reported experiencing barriers to deeper work like board commitment, access to funding, or difficulty knowing how to start and finding assistance. 

Doing Our Own Work

We also asked what role respondents envisioned for Rotary Charities in supporting a more diverse and inclusive region.

We heard that before we respond to the needs around us with new strategies, we should “lead by example” and do our own internal work.

Over the past year, our staff and board have engaged in work exploring our individual and interpersonal identities, biases, and relationships to power and how we use it. Alongside building better awareness, we are assessing and building cultural competencies, capacity to work across differences, and transforming our workplace to honor both individual strengths and diverse teams.   

A Deeper Exploration

As you prepare to respond to the survey, please refer to the following guidance.

For this survey, we ask you to choose only one organization, network, or business you're directly affiliated with as a reference point. Multiple people from the same organization are welcome and encouraged to complete the survey.

 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is used to describe intentional strategies, policies, and programs that promote the representation and participation of marginalized groups of individuals. DEI encompasses people of different ages, races, ethnicities, abilities, disabilities, genders, religions, cultures, and sexual orientations.

Historically Marginalized and Underrepresented Populations include people who may experience discrimination of any kind or encounter barriers (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, economic, cultural, and/or linguistic, etc.) to accessing resources, opportunities, or services that are readily available to the broader society.

Disparities are preventable and unjust differences in social, economic, or health outcomes across different population groups. An example of a disparity is the difference in life expectancy between different ethnic / racial groups or by geography (zip code).


We’ve structured our inquiry around four nested levels of engagement, each offering a unique vantage point for understanding and addressing equity and inclusion.  

Nested Levels of Engagement

Individual & Interpersonal: This might include board and staff learning around identity, individual biases, intercultural competence and communication, working across differences, and learning from people with different backgrounds.

Organizational Operations & Culture: This might include examining staffing, retention, and compensation data to identify disparities; developing a shared language and goals around DEI; assessing staff’s sense of the organization’s culture of belonging; and reviewing the organization’s policies and procedures.

External Strategies & Approach: This might include disaggregating data to better understand who you reach and the outcomes of your work to address disparities; seeking and using input from marginalized communities you serve to understand barriers to access; adapting programs and services to be more inclusive and culturally competent; and adopting new strategies explicitly focused on reducing disparities.

Community & System: This might include understanding the root causes of disparities and working at a community level to address these deeper systemic structures and mindsets; understanding the landscape of people and organizations supporting DEI work and creating new partnerships; publicly advocating for DEI principles and structural change; and sharing your organization’s DEI work to influence others.

This page will be updated with information as we develop, launch, and report on what we learn from the Community Equity and Inclusion Survey. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.