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. We established a Racial Equity Action Team and Health Equity Task Force and actively expanded our community engagement and partnership efforts to collaborate with organizations to guide and help us focus on the intersection of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ needs and concerns in our programs and services.
In June 2021, the Fenway Health Board of Directors unanimously approved an ambitious strategic plan to guide the work of the organization over the next five years. The strategic plan’s first priority area is centered around a Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) designed to ensure that Fenway addresses equity in all facets of the organization, also unanimously adopted and affirmed by the Board. The 2021-2025 Strategic Plan and Racial Equity Action Plan included the adoption of a new mission statement and set of core values.
As we strive to remain accessible, transparent, and accountable, we provide regular updates regarding our vital work and accomplishments. Here are key highlights of our recent efforts and progress:
- We have hired six new senior leaders to further diversify senior-level staff: Chief Operating Officer, Chief Clinical Officer, Executive Director of Nursing, Executive Vice President of Racial Equity and Social Justice, Vice President of Communications, and Vice President of Resource Development and Donor Engagement, all of whom bring a wealth of professional acumen and diverse lived experience to our leadership team.
- We have implemented new, equity-centered procurement policies and practices to prioritize vendor, service, and consulting relationships with BIPOC individuals and businesses. A new policy was announced in April 2021.
- All of our organizational policies are currently undergoing review for racial equity impacts.
- We are offering new diversity and racial equity-focused professional development opportunities to staff, including unconscious bias and micro-aggression training. All managers and supervisors are participating in workshops focused on managing diverse teams.
- We are nearing the conclusion of a comprehensive review and restructuring of our current compensation practices 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.
- We have conducted a market compensation assessment for all staff. We are conducting an internal analysis to ensure equity throughout the organization and will be rolling out the new structure and making necessary adjustments soon.
- 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.
- We are responding to emerging public health issues and priorities posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, centering LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, and other underserved communities:
- We are working 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 are partnering 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. This partnership will result in a deeper understanding of how healthcare institutions can partner authentically with community to improve the health and well-being of Black residents in Boston. A report of our joint findings will be shared in the coming month.
These are indeed very challenging times, and Fenway Health remains deeply committed to centering our efforts to become an antiracist organization every day. We will continue to share our progress with you as we go.
Thank you for being a part of our community.
Jonathan Matsui, Board Chair, and Ellen LaPointe, Chief Executive Officer