Mission, Vision, Values & Equity
One of FMR’s core values is equity. We believe that the Mississippi River connects us all, and that social and environmental issues are woven together. As we work toward restoring habitat and the river's waters, we will also work toward a riverway that is safe, healing and accessible for everyone. We strive to be culturally competent, welcoming and inclusive of all people and are committed to using our resources and influence to redress structural inequality where it intersects with the health and vitality of the Mississippi River.
Our board unanimously passed this equity statement in 2017 and updated it in 2022.
Below, find an overview of how FMR aspires to advance equity and inclusion through our programs and initiatives.
How we're advancing equity and inclusion
- Collaborating with a diverse range of partners on planning projects, for example at BTT (Boys Totem Town) — a site that deserves an explicit focus on restorative and racial justice.
- Engaging directly with BIPOC groups and organizations in advocacy efforts like our lock and dam disposition outreach.
- Establishing environmental justice measures in state environmental and natural resource policy (like equitable replacement of lead drinking water pipes and a community grants program for environmental trust fund allocations).
- Including key equity and tribal provisions in the federal Mississippi River Restoration & Resilience Initiative bill.
- Ensuring BIPOC participation in leadership for policy-based coalition work like the Forever Green Partnership and the MRRRI Collaborative.
- Restoring Wakáŋ Tipi/Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary with important Indigenous plant species in ongoing collaboration with Wakaŋ Tipi Awaŋyaŋkapi; adding a section to all natural resource management plans that describes opportunities to incorporate culturally significant plant species and restoration strategies.
- Continuing to learn from partners and Traditional Ecological Knowledge approaches, as well as Western science.
- Engaging with the National Park Service's Cultural Resources Program Manager and other partners to ensure that all restoration projects respect the historical and cultural significance of the sites where we work.
- Building relationships with local BIPOC-led/centered organizations.
- Developing a BIPOC River Stewards volunteer program.
- Creating environmental career pathways for underrepresented and BIPOC youth and young adults through quality, paid internships and our Environmental Stewardship Institute's paid fellowships.
- Revising and creating curriculum that centers and celebrates BIPOC voices and experiences, and further decolonizes history and relationship to land.
- Working with schools that have high BIPOC populations, are in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods, or have low access to rivers.
- Running a diversity, equity and inclusion working group.
- Evolving policies to better support all staff, holding internal affinity groups (and a white accountability group) and involving all staff and board members in intercultural learning and equity goals implementation.
- Incorporating community-centric fundraising principles like encouraging mutual support.
- Using our capacity to seek and manage grants that can resource collaborative work with other organizations.
You can read more about our current work and partnerships by checking out our updates.
Read an account of our first steps towards advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at FMR and in the mainstream environmental movement.
Our work takes place on Dakota homelands. Haha Wakpa, Misi-ziibi, Mississippi River — the river we steward in Minnesota has long been stewarded and continues to be stewarded by Dakota and Ojibwe people. You can find out more about our work toward Indigenous solidarity here.
Our diversity, equity and inclusion working group recommends Mississippi River Network's anti-racism resources hub, available midway down the linked page. (FMR is a member of the network.)Questions about this work? Please reach out to FMR Associate Director-Development Director Sara DeKok.