Governance Policies of Forest Bridges

Decision Making, Diversity Equity Inclusion, Donations, Conflicts of Interest

Decision Making

Decisions of Forest Bridges are made collaboratively and with the full support of the Board of Directors. A quorum of the Board of Directors (a majority) can conduct business at any given meeting, but decisions are also subject to full Board collaboration. Decision of Forest Bridges may be subject to reconsideration by members who were not present when the business was conducted. This is not a time-efficient process, but an inclusive one. The Board will decide how to move forward in each case, after hearing from all viewpoints, with a priority of keeping stakeholders engaged and building trust and mutual respect among Board members. As part of the collaborative process, every Board member should be heard and not feel disenfranchised.

 

Diversity Equity Inclusion

The Forest Bridges Board represents a broad, inclusive diversity of viewpoints on issues of Forest Management. This diversity of thought and inclusiveness among individuals is the strength of Forest Bridges. It includes timber users, conservationists and tribes.

In all of its outreach, Forest Bridges makes every effort to be inclusive, to hear every voice, and excludes no voices or points of view, with a bias toward those who embrace our basic management principles.

Forest Bridges basic management principles do represent sideboards of process that any contributor, Friend, or stakeholder is expected to support. These principles are intended to be free of any gender, race or social bias. If any such bias is identified, Forest Bridges welcomes the input and will address the issue.

 

FOREST BRIDGES is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in who we are and what we do in ways that align with our mission to inspire and catalyze Forest Bridges to be a leader in sustainability transformation.

We welcome and value diversity in its broadest possible view, going beyond visible differences to affirm the essence that makes each person who they are and encourage an organizational culture that can be an example to the forestry community that we serve.

We believe that our greatest asset lies in our understanding of the broad range of members, partners and stakeholders we represent, and who could benefit from the work created by implementation of the elements of the Forest Bridges Framework. By modeling diversity, equity, and inclusion, FOREST BRIDGES serves the unique needs of our Friends and stakeholders to accomplish our mission, vision and goals.

Diversity, equity and inclusion complement our other organizational values of transparency, collaboration, hope, stewardship, innovation, courage and accountability, and also encompass the way we work, the work environments of both the forest and the office, and respect for all people and their ideas.

Diversity

FOREST BRIDGES respects, values and celebrates the unique attributes, characteristics, and perspectives that make each person who they are. We actively seek out diversity of participation, thought and action. It is our aim, therefore, that our members, partners, stakeholders, vendors and the beneficiaries of jobs created by the FOREST BRIDGES framework reflect and embrace these core values.

FOREST BRIDGES defines diversity as the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; skin color; socio­economic status; education; work and behavioral styles; the perspectives of each individual shaped by their nation, experiences and culture; and more.

Equity

FOREST BRIDGES believes in equal, fair and just distribution of power and resources. Equity transcends fairness, creating an environment that ensures equal access and opportunity for everyone – especially those who have suffered the most from pollution, environmental degradation and systemic oppression.  Forest Bridges will strive, for the O&C BLM lands, and for those who have suffered most, to mitigate and/or restore the loss of historic diversity of habitats, the loss of structurally complex and early seral moist forests, the loss of fire-resilient dry forests, the loss of jobs, the loss of O&C county revenues, the loss of access and enjoyment, the loss of the ability to manage efficiently, and to mitigate the health, environmental effects and losses created by destructive wildfire.

Improving equity is to promote justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. It means sharing power, influence, resources and a commitment to the eradication of all forms of social oppression. Achieving equity requires both an understanding of existing disparities and their root causes, and thoughtful action to break down barriers, share power and resources, and address imbalances.

Inclusion

FOREST BRIDGES recognizes that the historical legacy and persistence of discrimination based on race, gender, class and other differences makes a proactive approach to promoting a culture of inclusiveness an important component of creating an equitable society. This is particularly true in rural Western Oregon where many ethnic groups were historically excluded.

Inclusion puts the concept and practice of diversity into action by creating spaces that support equal and active participation, and mutual respect and connection.

FOREST BRIDGES Framework will create opportunities on many fronts: the BLM workforce itself, contract forest workers in the woods (jobs include forest restoration, logging, silviculture), and long-term monitoring under the lead of FOREST BRIDGES. In addition to the BLM and the University Research, Forest Bridges is exploring the use of secondary school and college level educational institutions (science and research classes) in collecting, compiling, and analyzing monitoring data. We are also developing a forest patrol program that would rely on retired law enforcement and veterans to increase woods surveillance and create owner comfort for greater public access.

 

Our Commitment

Foster diversity, equity and inclusion in the forest and office workplaces, in governance, in the solicitation of Friends of Forest Bridges, and the broader public sustainability movement.

  • Maintain an open, safe and welcoming atmosphere for everyone, both in offices and in the forest.
  • Make our programs and services accessible and affordable to underrepresented groups and vulnerable populations, especially in the rural areas of Western Oregon.
  • Equalize power and create spaces where all are encouraged to actively engage, listen, speak and act, and perform work functions with respect.
  • Listen to, learn from and amplify the voices of historically marginalized, underrepresented and oppressed people.
  • Build equitable relationships with a broad base of stakeholders across social, economic and political divides.
  • Take public positions against oppression and help build broad-based sustainable movements for environmental, social and economic justice.
  • Continue to evolve and evaluate our thinking, practices and policies around DEI, around work and engagement in the forest and the office.

FOREST BRIDGES extends its appreciation to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for permission to adapt portions of their DEI policy.

Donations

Forest Bridges is a Public Charity, and contributions from a diversity of sources is welcomed and encouraged, including individuals, private industry and various charitable foundations and donor-advised funds. Contributions are made to support the collaborative, inclusive process of creating the elements of the Forest Bridges framework for BLM lands management, rather than any particular outcome.

Although a contributor may express interest and even potentially become a member of the Board, seats on the Board are not for sale and the decision to add a new member shall be made by the existing Board with equity and to broaden diversity and inclusiveness.

There is no direct or implied commitment to the wishes of any contributor as a result of the size of a particular donation. Policy is developed through Board collaboration and adherence to, or refinement of, Forest Bridges principles, independent of donations. Donors are free to express opinions on the direction Forest Bridges is taking, as is true for any stakeholder.

While certain Board members may share a donor’s viewpoint, Board members act based on their own judgement as part of Forest Bridges, and independent of the views of particular contributors.

 

Conflicts of Interest

Board Members agree with and adhere to the Conflict of Interest Policy, which is part of Forest Bridges By-laws.  Forest Bridges policy follows Federal guidelines for such policies.  It is Available on request.