From Words to Action: An Update On Our Progress

In 2020, Fenway Health committed to becoming an anti-racist organization  by working to overcome the racial inequities that exist in the services we provide, the people we reach, and the outcomes we achieve.

The Fenway Health Board of Directors unanimously approved an ambitious, 5-year strategic plan in June 2021 to guide the work of the organization over the next five years. The plan centers a Racial Action Equity Plan (REAP) designed by a team of employees from across Fenway and several board members to ensure that racial equity is being addressed in eight key areas of focus in the organization. The 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and Racial Equity Action Plan included the adoption of a new mission statement and set of core values.

We are well into our efforts to achieve the first-year goals we set for ourselves, and we are pleased to report that we are making good progress. To ensure accessibility, transparency, and accountability, we are committed to providing regular updates regarding our accomplishments and challenges. Following are key highlights of our recent endeavors and progress:

  • Fenway Health recently concluded a comprehensive review and restructuring of our job classification and compensation framework to ensure we are equitable, competitive, transparent, and consistent at all levels of the organization, and that we recognize the important contributions of all employees in advancing the mission of Fenway Health.
    • The framework is the result of a multi-faceted, detailed, and data-driven process that took over a year to complete.
    • We conducted a market compensation assessment for all staff. We conducted a comprehensive analysis to ensure equity throughout the organization.
    • We established 32 job families with 11 levels, each of which is associated with a base salary range that represents a continuum on which employees are paid. Every position in each job family was evaluated three times at various stages of the process.
    • We will begin to post salary ranges for all job announcements this summer.
    • We have increased the minimum base compensation for full-time staff in non-retail positions to $42,000 and raised the minimum hourly wage of Boomerang’s staff to the Boston Living Wage of $15.70.
  • As we forge ahead to make Fenway Health a vibrant, antiracist health care organization, we continue to provide information, learning and development, and support opportunities for staff, including the establishment of affinity groups and manager forums.
    • All managers and supervisors participated in a required two-part, six-hour training on supervising diverse teams, providing culturally responsive feedback, addressing micro aggressions, and disrupting racial bias.
    • The Data Leveraging Team is working with Data Analytics to better use existing race-specific data to measure how well we are serving marginalized populations across the various parts of our organization as well as better informing unit leaders about how to more effectively use race data in their decision-making.
  • Board of Directors committees are reviewing their own policies and practices using a Racial Equity Lens tool and will incorporate new questions related to racial equity and the REAP into its annual evaluation survey.
    • The Board of Directors recently held a retreat focused on dynamics of race and lived experience and exploring the concept of racial anxiety to help board members further their commitment to the REAP.
  • We continue to review the organization’s policies to ensure alignment with our mission, values, and the REAP.
    • We completed the first round of updates to our procurement policy and will continue to refine it this summer and into the fall.
    • The Development Team has reviewed and revised Fenway’s gift acceptance and acknowledgment policy.
  • We are continuing to make Language Access improvements regarding signage in our various locations and will evaluate organizational forms and phone system messaging and capabilities through the fall.
  • Over the past few months, we continued to respond to emerging public health issues and priorities presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, centering LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, and other underserved communities. We worked with government and community partners serving BIPOC people to provide COVID-19 support and resources such as free N95 masks and at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits. We also continue to partner with the Black Boston COVID Coalition, which is comprised of organizations and people from Boston’s Black community who have come together to collaborate, share information and resources, and create accountability for the response, recovery, and ongoing collective action during and after COVID-19.
  • Our work and REAP progress remain visible as we engage with internal and external partners and supporters.
    • Fenway Health was a sponsor of this year’s Black, Indigenous, Women of Color (BIWOC) Gathering Circle 2022 Symposium, held in March, with the theme of Healing Justice. BIWOC Gathering Circle aims to create a world for women of color, QTPOC, LBTQIA+, and gender-expansive communities to come together and transform healthcare systems in Massachusetts and beyond to be equitable.
    • The Bayard Rustin Community Breakfast was held in April. Founded by members of the community in 1990 and created by AIDS Action, the Bayard Rustin Community Breakfast is an annual HIV/AIDS awareness event for LGBTQIA+ people from communities of color to inform, affirm and empower us all in the continuing HIV/AIDS crisis.

 

Fenway Health remains deeply committed to centering our efforts to become an antiracist organization. We expect to achieve many of our Year One REAP goals by June 30, 2022, and we will continue to share our progress with you along the way.

As always, we are grateful that you are a part of our Fenway Health community.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Matsui, Board Chair, and Ellen LaPointe, Chief Executive Officer

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