This past spring, Co-op Board president Bill Craig and I drafted a letter on the topic of diversity, a letter we released to the local media. We entitled the letter Open to All. Our overarching point was this: a community is enriched by inclusion, and everyone, no matter who they are, should feel welcome.
In the months since then, our Board, much to its credit, has gone a step further and woven that ideal into the language that guides everything we do here. Our belief in the value of human dignity and diversity is now the foundation of a new Ends statement, approved by the Board this summer. Today, I’d like to offer a few reflections on why I believe this is so important.
First, a bit about the Ends. You hear this word a lot around here, but not everyone knows what it means. The Co-op Ends can be thought of as the end results we aim to achieve in the world. Think of the Ends as a North Star, guiding us into the future and keeping us on track.
The Ends are organized into two parts: a Global Ends statement, or overriding concept, and a subsequent Ends policy, which takes that statement and breaks it down. For years, the policy was composed of seven Ends. This summer, the Board added an eighth:
Everyone engaging with our business shall be included, welcomed, and appreciated, contributing toward more diversity, inclusivity, and equity in our Upper Valley community.
Lofty goals, right? That’s what the Ends are. This is an important point to understand. The Ends are soaring, long-term hopes and dreams. We believe that working toward these Ends, as broad and noble as they are, will help build a more just and egalitarian world for future generations.
Our newest End couldn’t be more timely. As we all know, we live in a time of great divisiveness. Sometimes it feels like there are more voices pushing people apart than there are calling people together. Our Co-op’s answer to that is to state, unequivocally, that ours is a collective voice calling for reconciliation. Here we strive for a culture that welcomes people and values inclusion and diversity.
My thanks to our Board, members, and employees for making this possible. Want to talk more about it? Reach out to me anytime. My door is always open—and anyone is welcome.