Equity in Communications Standards and Style Guide

The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York’s vision is a healthy central and western New York where racial and socioeconomic equity are prioritized so all people can reach their full potential and achieve equitable health outcomes.

In pursuit of that vision, the Health Foundation team has committed to an ongoing process of assessing our internal and external processes and procedures to ensure they operate within best practices for pursuing racial equity. This process also aims to ensure that our operational decisions are not unintentionally reinforcing inequity or creating barriers to partnership for grassroots organizations in our community. Existing power disparities in philanthropy and health care are often reflected in how we frame issues.

Our communications strategies are a key element of our overall racial equity practices. The way we frame and talk about our work—within our own team, with our board of trustees, or with our community partners—helps ensure that our steadfast commitment to health equity is unequivocal. Using terms that reinforce stereotypes or unhelpful framing of systemic issues can unintentionally detract from our pursuit of health equity.

This style guide is intended to be a resource and guidepost for our staff and board in the way we present ourselves to the community. 

Our intention is not to be prescriptivist. 

We acknowledge that language is informed by cultural, racial, and ethnic context. The core guiding principle for communications strategy should be to listen to the people at the center of an issue and respect their cultural standards, even if they differ from some of the information in this guide.

Like all of our equity work, this guide will continue to evolve as our learning journey continues. The guide exists in an editable format for that reason.

View the Health Foundation’s equity style guide here. (Opens in Google Docs)

Focus Area: Community Health Capacity, Older Adults, Young Children Impacted by Poverty

Category: Evaluation, Infographic, Report, Toolkit

Date Published: August 1, 2023