After 30+ Years, Rochester Organization Announces It Is Closing
A nonprofit that started in 1989 in Southeast Minnesota, announced that layoffs have begun for employees, and the doors of the organization will be closed as of March 8th, 2023.
Throughout my time in Rochester, Minnesota, I've had an opportunity to hear some fantastic speeches and even educate myself about the topic of diversity from individuals at the Diversity Council. I have loved that my own kids have had the opportunity to learn from this group as students in the Rochester Public Schools district. Unfortunately, according to a statement below that was published on their website, the Diversity Council will be ceasing operations as of March 8th, 2023.
On Saturday February 25, the Board of Directors of the Diversity Council (DC) voted to wind down Diversity Council operations and develop a dissolution plan.This decision was not taken lightly and was made only after all alternatives were considered and explored.DC will be concluding all programming on March 8 and the staff will be laid off over the next two weeks.
Approximately ten months ago, the Diversity Council Board began investigations into community and staff concerns brought to the board's attention. Ultimately, the Board determined that a new direction in leadership was needed. In late January, the Diversity Council Board of Directors hired consultants Terri Allred and Kristi Ackley of Allred Consulting as nonprofit organizational development experts with a trauma-informed lens. After a comprehensive review of the previous year and taking the entire picture of organizational health into account, it quickly became apparent that the Diversity Council did not have the financial and human resources or sufficient stakeholder support to continue. After considering many options, including trying to continue and grow the organization or merge with another DEI nonprofit, the Diversity Council Board came to the very difficult conclusion that the only path forward was to move toward dissolution. We appreciate concerns from the community and we are confident this is the right direction for both DC and the community. This will allow the transfer of much-needed DEI resources to partner organizations and provide space for healing to those individuals and communities who were previously harmed.
The DC Board has been consulting with an attorney over the previous weeks and is working in compliance with Minnesota Statute 317A which covers nonprofit corporations and the process for dissolution.
The Diversity Council began in 1989 as Building Equality Together when the leadership of Rochester Public Schools recognized the need to combat racism and discrimination in our schools. School district staff worked with community leaders to form an independent nonprofit organization to meet this need. Over the years, the Diversity Council has existed to compel both equitable access and equitable outcomes for all people, regardless of any facet of identity. In order to honor that rich and important history, the Board is working to ensure all of the important programming of the Diversity Council is transferred to other organizations doing similar work in our community. More information will be released as soon as plans are finalized.