Reston, VA – This weekend, the National Wildlife Federation honored Quixote Foundation with a Conservation Achievement Award for National Conservation Organization of the Year.
"Quixote Foundation is a remarkable organization that has played an essential role in the National Wildlife Federation ongoing efforts to become more inclusive of the full diversity of America,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The mission -- to see free people in fair societies on a healthy planet – is inarguably simple and just. Quixote Foundation’s investments in the National Wildlife Federation have made us stronger and better prepared to protect wildlife in the 21st century."
The ceremony took place at the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting and 80th anniversary celebration, held in Estes Park, Colorado.
“National Wildlife Federation has opened itself up to change at every level, and that’s what has made their commitment to conservation through diversity, equity and inclusion so meaningful,” said June Wilson, Quixote Foundation’s executive director. “While we’re delighted to receive this award, the achievement it represents is really NWF’s. We played a small part in funding—and now they are doing the thoughtful work of building a movement that belongs to everyone.”
Quixote Foundation: National Conservation Organization
Stuart Hanisch founded Quixote Foundation in the spirit of Don Quixote’s idealism, and the foundation’s support for environmental conservation started with its earliest grants. The Foundation is spending its entire endowment by 2017 because the QF team believes “spending up”—giving upfront instead of staying around forever—is the best way for their foundation to have a perpetual impact. Quixote Foundation is convinced everyone has a stake in the environment and a personal interest in protecting its health. That conviction has made waves at the National Wildlife Federation.
In 2009, recognizing NWF’s national reach and potential to affect the conservation movement broadly, the Foundation took the bold and visionary step to invest in NWF’s potential as an emerging leader on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Since then, thanks in part to the Foundation’s generous support, NWF has made tremendous strides toward becoming a multicultural organization that seeks out the rich dimensions of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, and religious and political beliefs.
Quixote Foundation’s support enabled NWF to hold a series of diversity and bias-awareness training sessions for more than 100 staff, board members, and affiliate members. Because so many staff participated in the training sessions, including nearly all of the leadership team, there has been a significant increase in awareness and an infusion of skill within the organization. NWF also revised its non-discrimination policy specifically to include gender identity and gender presentation. This revision was the most recent benchmark in our continued commitment to making our workplace welcoming and rewarding to all who pursue NWF’s mission.
With generous funding from Quixote Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation instituted a comprehensive leadership development initiative for staff called Leader to Leader. These collaborative workshops were highly influential in setting new DEI recommendations and initiatives, and their influence continues to elevate leadership team discussions. Thanks to Quixote Foundation’s guidance and support, NWF continues to expand its commitment to DEI as it develops core competencies for board and staff, and develops actionable and measurable trainings for its affiliates nationwide. Quixote Foundation will make its last grants by the end of this year, but the effects of bold support for the National Wildlife Federation will be felt for years to come.
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