As a national agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Board of Pensions shares the PC(USA)'s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to dismantling structural racism. We are taking tangible, intentional steps to ensure a workplace culture that inspires a sense of belonging. And we are continuing to actively engage throughout the Church to ensure access to benefits plans and programs that provide wholeness.
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion shapes our work. A staff council works alongside agency leadership on DEI activity internally, guided by its mission of Serving Our Community, Serving Each Other, Serving Us All. And we follow the formal guidance of our Board of Directors in our service as a national agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council (DEILC) comprises staff members who represent racial, ethnic, and gender diversity and a range of professional expertise. The DEILC advocates for inclusive practices within the agency and monitors the organization's strategic diversity activities.
Our Board of Directors reflects diversity in gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, with 35 percent of its members people of color. Directors charged a task force with providing recommendations on advancing DEI throughout the agency. Those recommendations, adopted by the Board of Directors, provide overall guidance for the agency.
The guidance states that
Six principles guide us as we serve more, serve better, and serve the Church:
To engage the six principles, we are taking action in five categories:
The Reverend Dr. Frank Clark Spencer, Board of Pensions President, is among a growing list of CEOs and Presidents from across the country and wide-ranging industries who have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge — a leadership-driven commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
By signing this pledge, Dr. Spencer committed to
This pledge is part of the Board’s formal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to dismantling structural racism.
We administer the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). But we also provide need-based grants through our Assistance Program for active and retired plan members and their families. To ensure equitable and inclusive distribution of assistance, we continue to expand eligibility requirements for the Assistance Program. In 2022, for example, more pensioners will be eligible for Income and Housing supplements. And applicants for Transition-to-College Assistance will no longer need to be on the path of full-time enrollment in a four-year college or university; trade school will be an option, for example, as will part-time enrollment. Our promotion of the Assistance Program is also expanding to heighten awareness among groups that have been historically marginalized in the denomination.
We have adapted programs that focus on nurturing ministry to better serve more communities. Pastors of immigrant worshiping communities are pouring their energies into ministry after receiving Benefits Grants for Organizing Pastors and Evangelists, which fund enrollment in Pastor's Participation. Korean and Spanish speakers participated in the highly popular Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations, designed to restore ministers' financial health, freeing them to revitalize their congregations.
Our workforce is diverse in background and talent, reflecting metropolitan Philadelphia, where the agency is headquartered. Over one-third of our employees are people of color, and over half are women. Mutual respect supports a culture of innovation, which is so important to our mission. We serve the PC(USA) by promoting the spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being of ministers and employees. We encourage people of color and candidates from various backgrounds to share their talents with us.
In June 2020, in the midst of nationwide unrest and cries for justice in the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd, the Board of Pensions released its statement on racial justice, unanimously endorsed by the DEILC and shared with the full support of all at the Board. The statement emphasizes the Board's role as an active ally for change and its position "in support of racial equality, and against deeply ingrained prejudices against Black Americans and other people of color simply because of the color of their skin."
The Board of Pensions was recognized nationally for making diversity and inclusion a priority with a 2020 NACD NXT award. The award was presented by the National Association of Corporate Directors, whose membership represents over half of the Fortune 1000. The Board was one of three winners selected from among 10 finalists.