Continuing Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

April 9, 2024 - By Pine Project

At the Pine Project, we believe that all people – regardless of age, culture, economic status, gender, gender identity, physical ability, race, or sexual orientation – have the right to equity in the outdoors and in the world. Yet, we know that not enough people are able to benefit from and access nature. In 2020, we acknowledged our commitment to creating opportunities for all children to access nature’s benefits.

From 2020-2022, we made strides in addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across the organization, focusing on areas such as professional development, our hiring practices, and programming. These efforts were largely opportunistic in nature and generated some notable results – visit our website for reports on our progress.

In 2023, we continued our commitment to DEI. We strengthened our training and processes for accommodating children with exceptionalities, including introducing a 1:1 support option for families at our summer day camps. We expanded our bursary program, increasing support for families in financial need by 50%, and formed a new partnership with Amici Children’s Camp, a charity that sends children from low-income households to overnight summer camps across Ontario. We also launched a new partnership with a model school to support over 300 equity deserving students. And we continued to invest in staff training, hosting sessions with external facilitators on gender inclusion, racism in the outdoors, age inclusion, and training on working with children with disabilities.

In addition, this year we initiated a process with Innoweave’s Impact and Strategic Clarity Program to realize our ambitions to center equity within our organization in a clear and strategic way. Questions we hoped to answer included; how we can contribute most effectively to addressing equitable access to nature’s benefits, what target audiences and strategies we should prioritize, and methods for measuring our impact. This process culminated in the development of a Theory of Change and an action plan outlining major milestones to 2028.

Highlights from the Pine Project Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change states: By 2028, we will address barriers and increase enablers of equity, diversity and inclusion, and make Pine a place where everyone feels like they can belong. Participants across our programs will more closely reflect the population of Toronto, with an increase in the proportion of BIPOC and low income participants that take part in Pine’s programs for two or more years.

Seed a connection to nature in children & youth

  • Integrate our magic ingredients into program offerings designed to meet the age & life-stage and level of experience of participants
  • Develop new programs tailored to the needs of specific communities that increase engagement in BIPOC and low income children and youth
  • Assess barriers and create accessible opportunities to be involved

Nurture a supportive community where everyone feels a sense of belonging

  • Recruit, train, and retain a team of staff & volunteers at all levels of the organization that includes and celebrates the many facets that contribute to human identities
  • Meet families and caregivers where they are through new engagement activities that will support nature connection for all
  • Find ways to uplift Black, Indigenous and People of Colour across all levels of the organization

Grow access to the benefits of nature connection with community partners

  • Co-create tailored programs with partners working with equity-deserving communities
  • Develop new partnerships with organizations that support equity deserving individual children & families