PARK CITY, Utah. — In 2018, the Park City Community Foundation partnered with Park City Municipal Corporation to set goals and work toward greater social equity and a more complete community. The result was the Social Equity Initiative, a community-wide strategic plan to further the vision of a community where everyone has access to opportunities and feels respected, seen, and heard. PCCF led the charge, convening government, business, and philanthropists to jointly address issues such as housing, education, and challenges facing underrepresented communities.
Then 2020 raised the stakes, spotlighting equity gaps across Summit County and the nation. Disparities grew and crises mounted.
PCCF Community Impact Director Diego Zegarra said no one could have been truly prepared to tackle 2020 all at once. Yet Park City came together to help PCCF raise more than $5.2 million in donations throughout the year.
“It takes years of building relationships with multiple stakeholders from different communities in order for us to pick up the phone when a crisis hits and be able to determine how we’re going to employ dollars and raise those dollars,” Zegarra said. “Last year is proof that we are a trusted entity in Summit County that can quickly, accurately, and equitably identify needs, raise dollars, and then deploy them to meet those needs.”
“2020 was truly meaningful in helping us inform our processes in a much more inclusive way,” Zegarra added. “It allowed us to cement relationships with people who experience disparities and key partners like Park City Municipal, Park City School District, Park City Mountain, and other nonprofit leaders who are joining this social equity effort and are learning together about what it means to achieve equitable outcomes for Summit County.”
Now, in 2021, PCCF looks forward to bringing the Equity Advancement Cohort to the table. This project involving 20 Summit County organizations looks to build momentum upon years of strategic planning and realizations derived from the lessons of 2020 and beyond, creating a joint conversation aimed at advancing equity internally (within their organizations) and externally (in the broader community).
The cohort consists of two tracks geared toward different community members. One track includes Park City Mayor Andy Beerman, Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea, and other decision-makers. In parallel, “change teams” of staff members at participating organizations will operate on the second track to evaluate how ideas and decisions are made, and in turn, implement change on the ground level. By taking a deep dive into race equity conversations during monthly meetings, staff members will be able to facilitate often tricky conversations and come up with solutions to organizational problems.
The goal is to reinforce solidarity and commitment at leadership levels and to follow through on promises and goals to address disparities and achieve more equitable outcomes. Zegarra said he believes the Equity Advancement Cohort will allow community leaders to join forces and have difficult discussions. It is the project he said he’s most excited to take on in 2021.
“When we are well-versed in the language of equity and inclusion, we show up in a whole different way,” Zegarra said. “We are much bolder in our approach and it allows for leaders to verbalize their vision of a more equitable community. When we have shared language, it’s far easier.”
Written by Mackenzie Moran for the Community Foundation and TownLift