Modeled after HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) and Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), JOEI is designed to measure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion in the programs and employment practices at Jewish non-profit organizations.
“HRC’s work has transformed workplace policies in many of the nation’s major corporations, allowing LGBT employees to work productively and free of discrimination,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese, “The goal of this work is to inspire a new dialogue on LGBT diversity in the Jewish community. HRC will establish collaborative partnerships with participating organizations and act as a conduit to the wealth of existing resources within the LGBT Jewish community.”
“It is my hope that the Jewish Organization Equality Index will serve as a strong step toward strengthening the important Torah value of seeing all Jews as made in the image of God and deserving of the highest of human dignity and kavod, no matter their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or background,” said Rabbi Hyim Shafner of the Bais Abraham Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri.
HRC first announced the formation of JOEI in January 2011. Shortly thereafter, HRC hired a program manager who has spent the past ten months consulting with leaders in the Jewish community, executives of Jewish non-profit organizations and members of the clergy on how to most effectively rate Jewish nonprofit organizations on their workplace policies related to LGBT employees. The work will also include an assessment of organizations’ cultural competency in delivering services to the LGBT community, such as whether the agency has inclusive language and messaging for LGBT clients, members, students, campers, youth or parents.
The final JOEI report, due in the spring of 2012, will focus on accomplishments and highlight opportunities for improvement within organizations and the community as a whole in a non-punitive framework that encourages education, dialogue and improvement.
JOEI is supported by a lead grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and supporting grants from The Morningstar Foundation, Stuart S. Kurlander—a leader in several non-profit Jewish and Jewish LGBT community organizations—and an anonymous donor.The survey is open to all Jewish community non-profit organizations. Participants have until March to complete the survey. HRC will work independently with each organization to provide an opportunity to implement positive changes in their policies and resubmit these changes in order to receive a more inclusive evaluation. Any organization interested in participating in the survey can email HRC Foundation staff at JewishEquality@hrc.org or can visit www.hrc.org/joei.