Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

Building a Culture of Equity and Inclusion

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is 64,000 square miles, includes parts of six states and the District of Columbia, and is home to a diverse population. Ensuring that the restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are inclusive means considering the needs and perspectives of all members of the diverse communities. We know that creating accessible and intentional engagement results in sustainable solutions and lasting support in our communities.

We prioritize this commitment within the organization’s programs and internal structure, making equity and inclusion integral in our policies, board of directors, staff, strategic goals, and program delivery.

The Alliance welcomes people of all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, veteran-status, socio-economic status, gender variance, or sexual identity. We recognize that diversity is an asset and we welcome people of all backgrounds; seeking a culture of respect, openness, learning, integrity, and honesty.

The Alliance is on a DEIJ journey, actively integrating the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) into all aspects of our work.

The journey is a continual process that involves ongoing self-reflection and improvement, as well as a commitment to continuously learning and evolving to better serve and support our stakeholders at every level.

We recognize that environmental burdens and benefits are not distributed equitably across the Chesapeake Watershed. The collaboration and inclusion of diverse community voices across the watershed is core to the Alliance’s programmatic delivery. Prioritizing equitable impacts helps address environmental injustices, as under-resourced or marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and often have limited access to sustainable solutions. By incorporating DEIJ values into our collective restoration efforts we will see more effective, creative, and expansive environmental impacts that benefit all members of the broad Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Bringing about greater diversity and equitable practices within our organization’s efforts not only requires action in our programmatic delivery, but also starts with a critical look at how we operate internally in the ways we govern, manage, and work in the watershed. The Alliance continues to embrace a process of DEIJ change with dedicated staff, funding, and programming.

View Our DEIJ Timeline

Environmental Resilience Requires Social Justice

Environmental resilience refers to the ability of a community or ecosystem to withstand and recover from environmental stressors such as natural disasters, pollution, or climate change. Social justice, on the other hand, refers to the fair and just treatment of all members of a society, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or disadvantaged. The Alliance sees a strong connection between environmental resilience and social justice, as overburdened communities are often disproportionately affected by environmental stressors and may have fewer resources to cope with and recover from them. A significant social justice barrier to environmental resilience also comes in the form of accessibility, be it green spaces, green solutions, and the green economy.

While the Alliance’s programming inherently focuses around restoration, conservation, and environmental resilience, it is with social justice efforts that we see the sustained impacts of this work, and in turn communities that are better able to address environmental challenges.

The Alliance believes that clean water and access to nature should be available to each individual that lives in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We strive to collaborate with partners in the Chesapeake Bay community who demonstrate integrity and amplify diverse voices for equitable and inclusive impact. As an organization, our mission is to bring together communities, companies, and conservationists to improve the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

We are committed to creating a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just environmental movement because it is the only way to ensure all communities are resilient in the face of our changing climate. We know that an inclusive approach and diversity of mindsets lead to more creative and permanent solutions!

Alliance DEIJ Commitments

The Alliance staff, as spearheaded by organizational leadership and its internal DEIJ team will continue to be instrumental in:

Providing education and training to staff related to internal expectations, policies, and culture, programs, and partnerships that promote equitable, diverse, and inclusive outcomes and actions.

Working across programs to effectively integrate DEIJ values into project concepts, tactics, and partnerships.

Advancing critical internal infrastructure documents that govern the Alliance’s employees and programs.

Ensuring DEIJ values are present throughout the Alliance’s next Strategic Plan (anticipated in 2023) and supporting the implementation of relevant implementation activities.

Communicate DEI programmatic work at the Alliance and across the watershed.

Convey the internal DEIJ work of the Alliance as it advances the organization’s structure and systems in order to hold ourselves accountable and encourage partners and supporters to do the same.

Leverage the Alliance’s voice to highlight EJ issues and DEIJ news in the watershed and uplift the voices and stories of our partners and communities – specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Regularly engage Board and staff (at all levels) in DEIJ accountability as we work towards the inclusive multicultural organization that the Alliance aspires to be.


If you are interested in learning more about the Alliance’s DEI resources, best practices, or programmatic impacts, please reach out to the DEIJ Team at dei@allianceforthebay.org.

We Believe that Language Matters

Pronouns are how people refer to one another and how we talk about each other- they are an extension of our names and therefore an extension of our identity.

“Mistaking or assuming peoples’ pronouns…mistakes their gender and sends a harmful message. Using someone’s correct gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity” (UCSF).

Examples of pronouns include she/her/hers/herself, he/him/his/himself, they/them/theirs/themself or themselves, and ze/hir/hirs/hirself.

You may see Alliance staff with pronouns noted in their emails, on virtual calls, or at their events. This intentional and encouraged practice is a critical piece of our mission to create an inclusive environment for all.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Terminology Communications Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide communication guidance on commonly used DEIJ terminology for organizations operating in the environmental field. To learn more about the Alliance’s DEIJ Terminology Communications Guide check out our blog.

Download the Guide

Stories From the Blog

Inspiring Action and a Sense of Adventure One Film at a Time

Since 2019, the Alliance has brought communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC together by hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in all four states on the same night. This spring, the Film Festival will provide warmth, inspire action, and raise hope during a time of growth and rebirth.

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The Alliance’s DEIJ-Infused Strategic Vision

The Alliance launched its 2023-2028 Strategic Plan. The 5+ year roadmap for this Plan furthers the efforts within our four program areas, and serves as a recommitment to prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) in our policies, strategic efforts, and program delivery.

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DEIJ at the Alliance: Greater Transparency & Accountability

Excitement, discomfort and growth are just some of the feelings that come to mind when describing the Alliance’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) journey as an organization. While the Alliance’s programming inherently focuses around restoration, conservation, and environmental resilience, it is with social justice efforts that we see the sustained impacts of this work, and in turn communities that are better able to address environmental challenges.

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The Alliance’s DEIJ Terminology Guide Continues to Evolve

The latest version of the Alliance’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Terminology Guide has been released! Since its debut in 2021, the DEIJ Terminology Guide has maintained the goal of providing communicative guidance on commonly used DEIJ expressions for organizations operating within the environmental field. With continued research and much feedback from our partners, …

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Juneteenth Celebrations Throughout the Watershed

Below are a few events happening across the watershed, along with a few virtual events you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. The Alliance encourages all our friends and partners to join us in recognizing the Juneteenth Holiday. Take an opportunity to learn, discuss, or celebrate in your community – and walk away with growing knowledge of where we have been and where we hope to go in our effort for social and racial justice.

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The Greening of St. Catherine Laboure

In May 2021 the Alliance and our partners at ecoLatinos set forth on a new project: The Greening of St. Catherine Laboure. I should start by saying St. Catherine was very green already. Sitting on almost 10 acres of beautiful property in Montgomery County, MD, the Catholic church has immaculate grounds. However, more than half …

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The Newest Chapter of The Feminist Bird Club is in Richmond, Virginia!

The following blog is written by Dylan Slusarz, a co-founder of the Richmond, Virginia chapter of The Feminist Bird Club, whose mission is to make birding and the outdoors inclusive and affirming to people who may not have safe access to it, and leverage people’s passion for the environment and social justice to help create lasting social change. 

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Global Trends the Chesapeake Community Can’t Ignore

Last year, as we at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay celebrated our 50th anniversary, we had a great time looking through our archives. It was also enlightening; we uncovered so many photos, partnership letters, project reports, and board meeting minutes — all of which helped us piece together where the organization has been in …

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The Fast Lane to Stewardship

Can you imagine the scale of our impact if each of us took one of the 18 million individuals under our wing, showed them the extraordinary value of our watershed, and put them in the fast lane to Chesapeake Bay stewardship?

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Finding Your Outside

During the last 18 months, many of us acquired new hobbies. Learn how Alliance CEO Kate Fritz found a new passion and developed a network of fellow female anglers in the process.

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