Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

PLAN DEIB graphic

History of DEIB at PLAN Inc.  

The Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN Inc.) has always held a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through the work that was developed in both the MLK Fellowship & summer internship programs. These opportunities allow law students from diverse backgrounds to gain direct experience with PLAN Inc. Supported legal service providers. In 2022, PLAN hired its first Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. In 2023, after some transition and restructuring, PLAN hired its next Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging & HR Operations. Soon after, the Director added an additional staff position, DEI Support Specialist, to further support the organization’s DEIB initiatives and expand diversity-related services. With the diversity work constantly expanding within the network, PLAN’s DEIB office plans to:  

  • Develop additional training opportunities for employees within the network that highlight diverse concepts.  
  • Create more opportunities to host additional students in MLK programs.  
  • Increase funding for DEI-initiatives, and garner stakeholder support.  
  • Build rapport with local communities through education and service opportunities.  

DEIB Mission Statement  

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) are central to the mission of PLAN, Inc. and the PLAN Network.  In order to most effectively represent the clients we serve, to gain and build their trust and understanding, as well as that of the other constituents who have an interest in the work of the Network – the programs, pro bono volunteer lawyers, funders, alliances, and those who work in the same and adjacent public interest spaces -- DEIB must be integrated into everything that PLAN, Inc. and the PLAN Network does.  

Diversity is inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and economic / occupation class.  There are numerous reasons that DEIB is an essential part of who we are, but three keys are: 

  1. Providing a broader perspective on the work we do, including the identity of our clients, and the experiences that our staffs bring to work; 
  2. Developing and nurturing a more positive, inclusive workplace, where everyone has opportunities, is valued, and the PLAN Network recognizes and retains its valued staff; 
  3. Truly “walking the talk”:  PLAN, Inc. and the PLAN Network should exemplify the values of DEIB, fostering a culture of belonging, inclusivity, equity, and diversity as we are fully convinced that a diverse and inclusive workplace environment fosters creativity, maximizes our staff’s potential, and ultimately expands and improves service to our client community.

The PLAN, Inc. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Advisory Committee includes PLAN, Inc. staff; project directors and senior staff at PLAN-affiliated legal aid programs, PLAN, Inc. board members; and client community advocates.  

The DEIB Advisory Committee exists to ensure the work of PLAN, Inc. and the PLAN Network is viewed through a DEIB lens. That work is comprehensive and includes everything from client services to employee policies and program development to hiring and decision-making.

The DEIB Advisory Committee will work with PLAN, Inc.'s management to ensure that PLAN, Inc. is living up to its commitment to value diversity, provide equity, be inclusive, and foster a sense of belonging.  It is empowered to engage with PLAN, Inc.'s management where it perceives that these ideals are not being given appropriate attention. 


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