HRC‘s Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI) survey is a first. Not only does it rate Jewish non-profits in the U.S. on their policies, practices and programs for LGBT employees and members, but the 18-month collaboration between the HRC Foundation and Jewish community organizations also includes a survey of current practices and educational resources.
It’s the first-ever survey of a faith-based community by the HRC, which is well-known for its Corporate Equality Index. Of the 204 Jewish nonprofit organizations that participated, 50 percent received the top score of “inclusion,” meaning they are taking significant steps to welcome LGBT individuals and families. By contrast, the first year of HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates Fortune 1000 companies on LGBT issues, only 13 organizations (4 percent) received the highest score.
“As times change, so do our places of worship and faith-based organizations,” says HRC President Chad Griffin, who touts the report for not only shedding light on a religious community, but also emphasizing the importance of inclusion.
The final report highlights the advances that have already been made – and the work still needed to be done to create an even more inclusive atmosphere in the Jewish non-profit world. Here are some highlights:
- 98% of participating membership-based organizations offer same-sex couples family memberships
- 90% of participating organizations include inclusive terms in their publicity materials
- 75% have not specifically recruited LGBT individuals to their lay leadership board in the past three years (often cited as a significant contributor to increased awareness about inclusive policies)
- 73% of responding organizations have a written non-discrimination policy
- 66% of participating organizations actively reach out to the LGBT community to attract members or clients
- 33% of participating organizations with youth programming have a written anti-bullying policy
“This is an important moment for our community,” says Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network. “We have an opportunity to use these findings to truly commit ourselves to the vital, but challenging work of forging a culture in which inclusivity, diversity and equality are paramount.”