For the Reporter
The Mercer Island Community Connection Collaboration, led by the Mercer Island Community Fund (MICF), launched the Mercer Island Community Connection Directory on May 10.
All Mercer Island community members are invited to visit the directory at https://www.micommunityfund.org/community-connection-directory. There, they can learn about opportunities to become involved in the Mercer Island community as a volunteer, member or leader at one of 24 participating community organizations who are all committed to inclusivity and promoting belonging in Mercer Island.
Erin Krawiec, MICF board president, explained, “Many Mercer Island organizations have not been successful at attracting and retaining volunteers, members and leaders that are representative of our community’s diversity. Existing members and leaders invite their close friends to participate; but their close friends are often demographically similar to themselves. We have this idea that Mercer Island is so small and we know all of the people interested in volunteering, but that’s because the same people end up volunteering over and over again. The reality is that there are many community members who would like to become more involved, but don’t know about opportunities or who to contact to get involved. We hope that the MI Community Connection Directory will help bridge this gap.”
MICF’s mission includes building community, and the board sees its role as helping to push forward a movement to support a diverse, equitable and inclusive Mercer Island community.
The organization believes diversity of race, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation, cultural identity, religion, sex, gender, ability and socioeconomic status makes everyone stronger and more able to serve the community.
Added Melissa Neher, MICF’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion chair and one of the Mercer Island Community Connection leaders: “The directory is a small step to remove a barrier. The groups who are committed to creating welcoming spaces continue to work together so everyone is valued. For too long, the burden of equity work has been placed on the people who are disproportionately impacted by the current structures, white spaces. Important voices and communities are not in our membership and leadership spaces, and their absence means we are not fully embracing and serving our whole community.”