Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Our organization was founded on a simple premise—that people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live a healthy, productive life. We are working toward a future that is more diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all.
In 2021, we published our DEI Commitment Statement and developed our first diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategic framework, which lays out our plans for achieving transformational outcomes through increased diversity of talent, equitable practices, and an inclusive culture. The framework aims for systemic change across four pillars: Leadership Accountability, Talent, Culture, and Partnerships & Voice.
We believe that we simply cannot achieve our desired impact without focusing on DEI internally and with our partners. This begins with taking an earnest look at our shortcomings as well as our accomplishments. In 2022, we released our inaugural DEI progress report.
When we talk about DEI, we mean:
- Diversity: a broad array of differences in identity, perspective, skill, and style
- Equity: practices and policies that are just, transparent, and consistent
- Inclusion: an environment that actively welcomes, connects, and values all while harming none
2021 DEI Progress Report
We have been working to advance DEI in many ways for years. But in 2019, we began to pursue a more intentional approach and a more ambitious agenda. We made DEI a top foundation priority and hired Leslie Mays, who now sits on the Executive Leadership Team as our chief DEI officer.
Our inaugural progress report—which incorporates data and insights from our employees and partners—documents how we’re doing so far and serves as the first step toward holding ourselves accountable for achieving the measurable results we have committed to.
Insights from our journey
DEI and our people
To have the greatest possible impact, we must make DEI a priority internally—starting with the people we hire and how we work to retain them. As our workforce grows, so does our opportunity to evolve into an organization that is more diverse and reflective of our partners and the communities we serve.
This requires us to cultivate a workplace where employees are treated, evaluated, and valued in an equitable way. We have launched several projects that will make our talent management processes more equitable and fair, including a multiyear project that promotes transparency by building a shared understanding of how jobs at the foundation are defined and organized, how appropriate pay ranges are determined by role, and what our total rewards philosophy and strategy will mean across the foundation and our affiliates.
Our growing global workforce at a glance
The race/ethnicity of foundation leaders closely reflects the demographics of foundation employees overall*
We currently only report race and ethnicity data for the United States. Collection of other demographic characteristics varies by region and may be constrained by local laws. Recently, we have undertaken ethnographic research to explore how to meaningfully expand our data collection relevant to our employees outside of the United States. While we understand that there is room for our data strategy related to workforce demographics to evolve, the data we have already collected is robust enough to provide a baseline picture of our workforce demographics in the United States and to allow us to make some important observations about our global reach.
Underrepresented groups: Employees based in the United States who indicate that they identify as Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino/Latina/Latinx, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Asian-American, multiracial, or “other.”
Employee resource groups (ERGs) at the Gates Foundation
We work to engage and successfully onboard African talent and include Africans in all aspects of the foundation’s work, especially health and development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.
We focus on learning about whiteness in an effort to help dismantle racism and be active allies. We create a space where participants can practice, reflect, and learn from action.
We work to support diversity, inclusion, and professional development at the foundation and provide an open forum for learning and dialogue on issues that affect Black communities globally.
We support international employees as they adjust to working at the foundation, promote culturally responsive behavior internally and externally, and act as a sounding board for Human Resources.
We work to strengthen and amplify the culture of the foundation’s office in Washington, D.C.; foster a sense of belonging and celebrate the diversity of our staff; and support our local community.
We are an open forum for employees who are Asian or Pacific Islander and their allies. We build connection and belonging and increase awareness of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures and issues.
We promote inclusive engagement to decolonize philanthropy, including by creating space for Indigenous identities and wisdom in our organization and amplifying Indigenous voices in communities across the globe.
We work to foster a sense of belonging and an environment where Latino/Latina employees and allies can engage in courageous dialogue and meaningful activities on issues affecting Latino communities.
We are the ERG for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex staff and their allies. We promote fellowship among foundation employees and promote discussion of issues relevant to our community.
We are an ERG for women and their allies at the foundation. We provide opportunities for professional development, engagement, and advocacy for equity and inclusion in our workplace.
As employees caring for loved ones, we learn from each other and experts in the community, advocate to improve our experience at the foundation, and foster understanding and dialogue.
More about the foundation
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Learn about where we work around the globe and the programs we’ve created to address urgent issues in global health, global development, and education.
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