Committed To The Process
At TerraCorps, we practice a model of organizational equity that demonstrates our collective willingness to be in a constant state of learning and growth. For this reason, our model is not a set structure but a reflection of where we are in our ongoing evolution. In fact, we view our ability to build and improve equitable structures and systems as evidence of our organizational impact. For TerraCorps, equity is a process rather than an end goal and we are committed to humility and transparency as we continue on this journey.
Our Core Beliefs
Our Organizational Equity Goals
Equity in Organizational Governance
TerraCorps’ organizational governance model is based on the Carver Policy Governance framework. Using this structure, we recognize our moral stakeholders as 1) Members of our community who are underrepresented and underserved in the land stewardship sector 2) TerraCorps alumni who hold an understanding of the Member experience and are positioned to be external leaders and change agents and 3) Partners within our community who are leaders of the movements we seek to influence and who provide direct services to local communities.
The TerraCorps Board of Directors responds to moral ownership in two ways. First, the Board is responsible for the development of an Ends Policy that responds to the needs of our moral owners. Second, the Board makeup reflects our commitment to representation and diversity.
Equity in Staff Management
TerraCorps’ staffing is a non-traditional hierarchy system that seeks to distribute influence and authority across all levels of the organization. We are developing a flatter organizational structure based on self-managed teams.
We believe in leveraging the natural strengths and leadership abilities of each Member of our team and in doing so, seek to distribute decision-making authority more broadly to elevate every voice in our company.
Equity in Hiring
At TerraCorps, we celebrate difference and embrace the impact that diversity of thought, experience, and identity has on our organization. This means our approach to hiring is less about finding the right ‘cultural fit’ and instead looking for candidates who will provide a cultural add to our team. We actively seek to reach communities traditionally underrepresented in the land stewardship sector. Our hiring process takes pains to ensure that we attract applicants of all backgrounds who are ready to occupy positions of authority.
Additionally, it is our intent that our diverse constituency see themselves as represented in the diversity of our staff. We understand that cultivating organizational diversity happens slowly. As such, we are committed to a thoughtful and measured hiring process that seeks to expand our applicant pool beyond our immediate sphere of influence. This is a process that takes significant time, patience, and a conscious decision to prioritize long-term equity goals over immediate staffing needs.
Equity in Pay
TerraCorps centers transparency and open communication in the establishment of an equity-based pay scale that takes into account a person’s experience, specialized training or education,education-level and the position’s level of responsibility within the organization at the time a person is hired. Pay raises are not based on a traditional merit-based system, but rather an equity-building model that allocates a larger proportion of the funds available for annual salary increases towards positions that are on the lower end of the payscale. The immediate effect of this model is that lower-paid positions receive larger annual increases than positions at the mid and higher end of the scale. The long-term impact is that employees who start at the lower end can close the pay gap between those on the higher end more quickly if they decide to stay longer and build their work experience with TerraCorps. Practically speaking, this means that the lowest paid employees receive bigger annual raises in terms of real dollars than the CEO.
Equity in Company Culture
TerraCorps is a people-centered organization that actively promotes a culture in which staff are encouraged to learn, grow and engage with challenging subjects. We share a desire to learn and a willingness to take risks and make mistakes. In addition to the way equity is centered in all of our work, we take time each week as a team to discuss a different topic related to race, equity and inclusiveness. This is a time for us to grapple with complex conversations and events happening in our world and consider how our positions and understandings affect our organizational work. We use this time to build the critical tools for skillful engagement with the topics and issues shaping our world so that we may find more productive ways to respond.
Equity in Operations & Partnerships
TerraCorps is committed to building a community of strong partnerships to strengthen a shared vision for a healthy and inclusive future. We ask potential partners about their approach to inclusion and empowerment of people traditionally marginalized, and to share examples of what they have accomplished in those areas. We are interested to know what accommodations are provided to people of varying abilities and we work with them, to the extent possible, to support members who need those accommodations. We do not have a checklist of requirements for our partners; instead we seek awareness, effort and the willingness to work towards inclusive, welcoming and supportive environments. If partners acknowledge limitations, we are willing to work with them so that together we may move forward.
Where we’re Headed
TerraCorps continues to learn and grow as an organization. As we look toward the future, we are hoping to:
- Increase our staff-hiring reach to underrepresented groups through expanded job postings
- Expand our DEI training program for TerraCorps Staff, Board Members and Partners
- Support leadership development for managers
- Increase our capacity and expertise to self-evaluate to enact change needed to further internal DEI