DEI Statement

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne lives out its mission by helping people make their charitable giving more impactful, connecting resources to nonprofits through grantmaking and education, and providing leadership to address community needs. We seek and welcome diversity in all our efforts. We believe that maximizing the impact of our mission and fostering a commitment to excellence can best be pursued with a governing body, workforce, donors, grantees, and community partners that include individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are embedded in all of our work. We define diversity as all the differences that make us unique, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, gender identity, socio-economic status, age, and physical and mental ability. We strive to be equitable and inclusive by honoring the unique needs of each individual and organization we work with and providing equitable access to resources and opportunities.

We respect and celebrate the unique needs and diversity contributing to a healthy and caring community. The Community Foundation commits its resources to facilitate and enable change that is inclusive of groups with diverse cultures, philosophies, and experiences. We believe a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive will only happen when every voice is heard and respected and all our neighbors can dream fearlessly.



What We Are Doing (As of Spring 2024)

We know we don’t have all the answers. We have work to do, and this written commitment is a small part of that work. We have passion for this work and an eagerness to listen, learn, educate, and influence our community to be more inclusive and equitable. We’ll update this space at least annually with information about actions we have taken on the Community Foundation’s DEI strategy.

The Community Foundation is working to be more intentional about how we incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into all that we do. In 2019, as the Community Foundation’s Vision Plan was finalized, our Board of Directors was intentional about incorporating DEI into all our work through our external pillars and our internal Organizational Excellence pillar. We carry that work forward as we live the Vision Plan through our daily work with donors, nonprofits, and community stakeholders.

Over the past four years, our entire team, including staff and board, has been on a learning journey alongside numerous community members participating in Fort Wayne United’s United Front initiative, a program built around shared humanity. We’ve learned common language, how to bring shared humanity to our workplace, been open with viewpoints and feelings with others in community breakout groups, and debriefed as a staff on DEI efforts we’ve learned and are working to incorporate into our daily lives.  Through United Front, we are continually building relationships that connect us to the groups and people whose involvement is critical to achieving our organization’s goals.

The Community Foundation launched the Women’s Fund of Greater Fort Wayne in 2019. The Women’s Fund mobilizes resources and establishes research-informed priorities to close opportunity gaps for women and girls regardless of place, race, and identity.

In 2022, we engaged with Ellequate, an award-winning cohort-based employer certification program for workplace equity, to facilitate a deeper internal look at the Community Foundation as a workplace. Ellequate helps employers redesign workplace systems to better support the whole employee, promote behavioral change, and strengthen organizational culture.

A key benefit experienced as a result of participating in the Ellequate program is that it gave us the framework to move from talking about equity to putting a plan in place to take action steps on staff-driven goals and priorities. It allowed us to look at what we already had in place and identify gaps where we could do better to support an inclusive culture.

Through this process, the Community Foundation was certified as a leader in workplace equity by Ellequate in December 2022. The organization is in the process of continuing to implement DEI goals for recertification in December 2024.

Our Governance Committee reviews the demographic makeup of the Community Foundation’s governing board and volunteer committees annually, comparing it with Allen County data to ensure diversity and inclusion metrics reflect that of the county we serve.

Our staff regularly examines the skills, knowledge, perspectives, and identities that are needed in our grants and scholarships committee members and makes a priority of recruitment and retention of members reflecting and representing the diversity of our community.

The Community Foundation promotes equity through evaluation criteria for all discretionary grant programs.

We ask for and welcome everyone to help us listen, learn, educate, and influence so that our community is diverse and culturally rich, where all people feel they belong and can thrive and contribute. 


Ellequate’s rigorous assessment of workplace policies and practices, as well as employee experience, provides a data-driven standard of equity-centered performance. Organizations that are recognized as Leaders in Workplace Equity have demonstrated a readiness and commitment to de-biasing systems and instituting people-first practices that promote employee well-being.


To learn more, please contact:

Heidi Ludwig
Chief Operating Officer

You can also contact another member of our Leadership team.