Forming a Foundation

Forming a Foundation

This section will look at forming a basis or foundation for your minority inclusion or diversity initiatives. In particular it will cover:

  1. Developing your rationale for including more minorities or under-represented groups,
  2. Assessing your organization’s status with diversity and inclusion,
  3. Creating a vision for inclusion of minorities and under-represented groups, and
  4. Setting goals.

Although there can certainly be overlap in these processes, we will look at them in the order listed above. You will probably want to look through the next few sections before establishing all of your goals for your minority inclusion program.

Before we begin looking at these foundational steps, there is a key element that must be in place in order to bring about organizational change. It may be obvious and not an issue for your organization. However, it should be clear from the very beginning that top management owns the inclusion and diversity program or effort, and is involved in most phases of it. It is unlikely to have significant impact as a project assigned to one or two staff or a committee. There will be parts to assign and tasks for groups, but the overall effort takes leadership from the top. It needs to be integrated into the way the organization functions. In weaving inclusion and diversity into the fabric of the organization, it becomes the responsibility of everyone associated with the organization from top to bottom. Therefore, staff buy-in or ownership is also very important. The goal is to have a staff that considers racial, ethnic and other cultural inclusion as part of its work and values diversity. This happens with the direction of top management. Unless diversity is an organizational value from the top and through the organization, other efforts will have a limited effect.

This also means Board of Directors involvement. The board may be a driving force in the minority inclusion work of your organization. Include your board in some of the foundational work discussed below. Board approval may be required to establish some of the foundational work such as the vision statement, particularly if inclusion and diversity become integrated into the organization’s vision or mission statements. Its involvement will be another key to help integrate minority inclusion into the organization’s work. Options for involving other groups are also mentioned below.


Valuing diversity is a first step in developing and maintaining a diverse workplace or work group. This means being clear about the reasons for your minority inclusion or diversity efforts. This is why it is important to develop a rationale for your efforts. Although the reasons may be obvious to you, they will also need to be made clear to others in order to integrate cultural diversity throughout the organization. Thus, it is best to put the reasons in writing. This will help the rationale be consistently repeated. Making minority inclusion and diversity a regular and normal topic of workplace discussion and business will serve to integrate them fully throughout the organization. Periodic restatements of your rationale in meaningful ways let people know why you are committed to minority inclusion and why it is important.

You may already have a number of reasons for your minority inclusion or diversity efforts. Some reasons have also been stated in the previous section on the Rationale for this toolkit. Listed below are some statements that may work, either as is or modified, in your rationale statements.

Sample Rationale

  • A diverse workplace enhances creativity, including creative ideas and solutions.
  • A diverse workplace offers equal opportunities to people of all backgrounds including under-represented groups.
  • Diversity and inclusion enhances cultural awareness and learning about cultural differences.
  • Diverse workplaces or work groups provide more inspirational role models.
  • Minority inclusion is the right thing to do, and it goes beyond the minimal intent of anti-discrimination laws.
  • Diversity and inclusion are part of the positive values promoted by education-based interscholastic activity programs.
  • Developing an inclusive and diverse workplace models the NFHS efforts to promote fair play and provides professional development opportunities.
  • Diversity and inclusion enhance our understanding of the cultural backgrounds of others, and in turn, affects how we view the world.
  • Diversity and inclusion enhance our understanding of how cultural backgrounds affects how one views situations. Different cultures can have different views, which can be beneficial to our work.

You may choose to have a group assist in working on developing or revising your rationale. This can be a good means of weaving cultural diversity and minority inclusion into the organization. A management group, a top-level board and a cross-section of organizational employees are a few options for such groups. Involving a group of employees can develop more staff buy-in. Those who help develop the rationale typically feel more ownership.

You can add to the rationale over time. Recording these practical reasons to value diversity will be helpful in keeping your organization on target.


In order to help set a vision and goals for your organization, you may want to do an assessment of where your organization is currently in terms of diversity and inclusion. The assessment can be relatively simple or more complex. There are assessment tools available.

This assessment can provide a snapshot of diversity and inclusion in the organization. It can also provide a baseline of sorts, which can be used for comparison against later assessments. This comparison can help you see progress toward your goals. In this way, the initial assessment can help in both creating goals and monitoring progress toward those goals when later assessments are done.

The assessment can include numbers and percentages of minorities, women and other under-represented groups across the various components of your organization’s workforce. As indicated in MIP Use of Terms, “workforce” is the term used in this toolkit to describe all the people who work for, work on behalf of, provide a service for or otherwise represent a state or provincial association or the NFHS on a regular, occasional or even one-time basis, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteer. In the next section, parts of this workforce will be highlighted for various strategies for enhancing minority inclusion and diversity in education-based interscholastic athletic and performing arts governing organizations. You may want to compare the percentage of various components in your organization to corresponding state or national data for such groups as athletic directors, other school administrators, coaches, teachers, performing arts leaders or students. Again this may help establish a baseline. However, you will likely want your assessment to also reflect the “culture” of your organization, including awareness, receptiveness, competence and being proactive regarding diversity and inclusion. Some of the assessments tools can help with some of these measures.

Vision Statement

Another foundational step is the establishment of a vision for your minority inclusion program. What do you want the organization to look like in terms of diversity? Your vision statement should paint a picture of the diverse and inclusive place you expect the organization to be. This vision statement should also be reflective of and connected to your rationale for being a diverse, inclusive workforce. To help imbed your diversity and inclusion vision, consider the possibility of working your vision statement into the vision or mission of your organization.

Listed below are some statements that may work for your vision statement. Please feel free to use these as is or modify them for your program.

Sample Vision Statements

  • Minority inclusion is part of how we do business. Diversity is institutionalized in our work. It is part of our fabric.
  • We are excellent and diverse. Being diverse is part of our drive to be excellent.
  • We have a diverse workforce.
  • We have a workforce that reflects the faces in the schools we serve. Our workforce is representative of the schools we serve and their students.
  • We create a culture of inclusion.
  • We have a diverse work force that models or mirrors the NFHS belief that participation in education-based interscholastic athletics and performing arts fosters involvement of a diverse population.

Again, you may choose to have a group assist in working on developing or revising your vision statement to help weave cultural diversity and minority inclusion into the organization. This group could be the same group that helped develop the rationale: a management group, a top-level board or a cross-section of organizational employees. However, consider having a different group work on the vision statement. This can be another opportunity to get others involved in minority inclusion and cultural diversity in the organization. Another possibility is that those who look at the vision statement for cultural diversity and inclusion are those who deal with the organization’s vision and mission statements, particularly if this vision statement is to be integrated into the overall vision or mission statements of the organization. This provides another opportunity to strengthen staff or board ownership.


Following your rationale, vision statements and assessment, comes the development of specific, measurable goals for your minority inclusion or diversity efforts. It will be important to track the progress toward your goals. Your goals may also be targeted toward specific parts of your workforce, which is very broad for education-based interscholastic athletic and performing arts governing organizations. This includes the various levels or positions of employees, which should also be considered when looking at minority inclusion and diversity.

In the next section, strategies for minority inclusion and diversity are discussed in regard to the different parts of this workforce. You may want to refine your goals after reviewing the strategies and considering the parts of the workforce where those strategies can be used. It is always helpful to establish goals before diving into strategies, so first work on a few goals for your minority inclusion and diversity efforts.

Listed below are some statements that may help you establish goals for your minority inclusion and diversity work. Please feel free to use these as is or modify them for your program. Make sure yours are specific and measureable for your organization and its minority inclusion program.

Sample Goals

  • Increase the number of minority or under-represented employees.
  • Increase the diversity of our Board of Directors.
  • Add to the number of minorities and under-represented groups on our Soccer Committee.
  • Increase the male/female balance at the executive level of our organization.
  • Increase the balance of males and females at all levels of the organization.
  • Increase the balance of the majority population and under-represented groups at all (or specific) levels (or positions) within the organization.
  • Increase the number of minorities and women among our ancillary workers.
  • Work with vendors who have diverse staffs.
  • Have 15 percent of our vendors be minority or women-owned businesses (or have 15 percent of the money we spend with vendors be spent with minority or women-owned businesses).
  • Adapt our hiring policies and procedures to be more inclusive of minorities or under-represented groups.
  • Have minority applicants for all our staff and board positions.
  • Expand our pool of contacts for internships.
  • Have a staff that sees minority inclusion and diversity as part of its work.
  • Have staff actively identifying, recruiting and mentoring minorities, women, people with disabilities or other under-represented groups for future roles within the organization.
  • Create a workforce that is more aware of culture, cultural differences and how diversity improves the function of the workforce.
  • Increase the number of minority (ethnic, racial or gender) contest officials who work state playoff games or judge performing arts contests.

Again, you may choose to have a group assist in developing or refining goals to help weave cultural diversity and minority inclusion into the organization. This group could be the same group that helped develop the rationale or vision statements. Again, consider the benefit of a different group working on the goals to provide further opportunity to get others involved in minority inclusion and cultural diversity in the organization to further expand ownership and buy-in.

Note that some of these goals address diversity and inclusion at various levels of employees. You may also note that some of the goals listed are as much for the current staff and broader workforce as for the future workforce. Creating an environment that is receptive to inclusion and diversity will be important in retaining minorities and other under-represented groups and sustaining your efforts. More about this will be discussed in the next section on strategies.

Checklist for Forming a Foundation

Some of the work on these tasks may be easy to skip over or move through quickly. However, taking these steps can help you establish a foundation that will make your efforts more effective and sustain them over a longer period of time. Below is a checklist to help you establish a good foundation for taking steps toward enhancing minority inclusion in your work.

  • Decide which organizational groups to involve in the following processes. Remember they can be different groups for several of the processes.
  • Develop written reasons for wanting to include more minorities or under-represented groups in your work.
  • Conduct an assessment of your organization’s current status with regard to minority inclusion. This assessment may include recent history. Include some reflection of the organization’s cultural awareness, receptiveness and competence, as well as how proactive the organization is regarding inclusion and diversity.
  • Create a written vision statement for including more minorities and under-represented groups of people. Decide if it will be a part of your organizational vision or mission statements.
  • Establish written goals for your minority inclusion efforts. Have some initial and shorter-term goals as well as some longer-term goals. Have you included some goals for the current staff or workforce? Also, write down some ways you can measure progress toward these goals. You may want to review these goals to refine them or add to them after looking at the strategies in the next section.