Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | NSpire — A Park Community Initiative
Keisha Deonarine, Executive Director, Nspire – A Park Community Initiative, Inc.
The population isn’t made up of just one kind of person, and more and more companies understand that the workforce needs to reflect and mirror the population. Keisha Deonarine, Executive Director of Nspire – A Park Community Initiative, Inc., shares about how the organization continuously works toward this goal.
How have DEI initiatives enhanced your workplace and overall success?
As an immigrant, I understand the importance of anti-racism work. Through my ABFE Fellows Class 2021, I worked on learning and living my personal missions through my philanthropy work; racial equity, social justice, health & wellness, social change and policy. Living by these principles helps me stay true to what I do. With my work at Nspire, in the first year, I have established anti-racist policies and practices by creating a Black-led board and focusing on health equity, trust-based philanthropy and advocacy. Nspire is an anchor institution working with nonprofits to provide support, resources, education and funding to help the most vulnerable, silenced communities in Kentucky — both BIPOC and rural.
What short- and long-term goals do you have for your DEI program?
Short-term goals are to raise even more funds at Nspire that we can use to fund health initiatives. Long-term, we aim to fund and support advocacy efforts. We realize programs don’t change poverty. Policies help to eradicate poverty. I want to see more change for the people of Kentucky.
What has your leadership learned from implementing this program?
Nspire is new and different as the sister philanthropic arm to Park Community Credit Union. Just established in 2019, leadership has learned they must push beyond their comfort zones to make change. For Nspire to have this impact, we are not shying away from uncomfortable language and action in the areas of racism and equity. Nspire’s leadership and board understands that we must be bold, daring and trusting in order to undo the path of historic wrongs, to make valuable and sustainable change.
What impact do you hope your program has on the city?
Nspire will make change, educate others, hold accountable parties involved in racist policies and practices, and most of all, implement funding that could possibly save lives. There are areas that have been traditionally redlined from housing, capital and philanthropy for hundreds of years. I am creating opportunity that could change that. Not all in one day, but day by day. Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ I think that is a pretty amazing way to live!