"— noun. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own."
We picked Sonder as our name because we see that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion work is about truly seeing other people as human. Expanding who you see as your neighbor.
WHAT IS THE NETWORK
Our goal is to foster a Culture of Belonging in our homes, businesses, and community.
And to do this, we are gathering our network members to share their organizational and individual resources to address 4 Topic Specific Projects and multiple Network-Wide initiative each year.
In early 2021, the Network first came together out of a conversation between the United Way of Northwest Michigan, Northern Michigan E3, Rotary Charities, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Traverse Connect, and Raven & Lotus. As these groups discussed opportunities for partnership around DEI in the region, they were noticing that there was no central table to gather around.
With support from the Traverse Connect DEIB Committee three initial convenings were held brining together 43 interested community members. The group sought to discuss how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion could be better supported in the region.
This DEIB Consortium was the first structure for the Network. And with a Seed Grant from Rotary Charities to the United Way of Northwest Michigan, Raven & Lotus brought together an Advisory Council.
This Council, sought to build out the structure of the network. Setting the table for the initial 43 community members to gather and organically build DEI systems in the region together.
NETWORK MEETINGS, FOCUS AREAS, AND IMPLEMENTATION TEAMS
Every month the entire network comes together to share opportunities, challenges, and requests for resources. This is a largely self-directed time to respond to needs the members see in their communities.
There are also scheduled guest speakers brought in to help the network increase its capabilities to do work around DEI.
At the start of every year, the Network Members come together to identify 4 key subject areas to focus their attention on. This can include culture, accessibility, business development, education, or a whole list of directions.
These 4 Focus Areas become the topics that the Implementation teams will work to address over the course of a year.
Based on the 4 Focus Areas, members self select what Implementation Team they will spend the year supporting. There is one Team for each area. The Implementation Team will identify a project that can best support that community need - and aim to have the project implemented by the end of the year.
SETTING THE TABLE
This network is like a potluck. We bring what we can and we take what we need while gathering around the same table.
And in the same way, our network members bring to the table what resources they have to share freely with eachother. While we collectively work to affirm Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our region.
To convene local organizations and individuals to co-create systems change that affirms a Culture of Belonging using tools developed through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices.
A cohesive community where all members can thrive in a barrier free ecosystem that reverberates through professional and personal aspects of society using a dialogue based approach.
These ideas are at the center of how the Network supports our community. Think of these like our Operating System.
The 5 Core Values shape how Members experience the Network and how the Network engages the Community.
CULTURE OF BELONGING
Balancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to help community members, employees, and organizations feel valued, welcomed, and understood.
Honestly exchanging information and building relationships with intent to understand and collaborate.
ECOSYSTEM OF SHARED RESOURCES
Brining together our community resources for the betterment of all of our community.
Fostering a Culture of Belonging by looking at where we are now, where we want to be, and how to build a stable path to connect the two.
All parts of our society are connected and the bonds between us are strengthened the more we use them.