Words matter, especially in our new Strategic Plan.

To say that we are excited about this new strategic direction and the work ahead is really an understatement. So much effort has gone into building this roadmap of impact, and we believe that it reflects the future of The San Diego Foundation and our important role in San Diego County. 

Building a region that envisions just, equitable and resilient communities demands an intentionality about our work and requires us to have a common understanding of the goals and language that will guide us. 

Below, we’ve identified a few key words and their definitions to share with you to ensure that we’re all on the same page when we talk about our strategic priorities. 

Visit our Strategic Plan page to see how we use these terms throughout.  

The Strategic Plan Glossary 

Discrimination: The unfair or prejudicial treatment of people and groups based on characteristics such as race, gender, age, or sexual orientation.1

Diversity: The psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, and/or learning styles.2

Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations, and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.2

Ethnicity: The designation of groups, such as Irish, Fijian, or Sioux, etc., that share a common identity-based ancestry, language, or culture. It is often based on religion, beliefs, and customs as well as memories of migration or colonization.3 (See “Race” for comparison)

Inclusion: The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves to work. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words/actions/thoughts of all people.2

Just: The freedom from favor toward either or any side; implies an exact following of a standard of what is right and proper.4

Race: The socially constructed system of categorizing humans largely based on observable physical features (phenotypes), such as skin color, and or ancestry. There is no scientific basis for or discernible distinction between racial categories.5 (see “Ethnicity” for comparison)

Racial Justice: The systematic fair treatment of people of all races that results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone. All people are able to achieve their full potential in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, or the community in which they live.5

Resilience: The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.6

Social Justice: The concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of power, wealth, education, healthcare, and other opportunities for personal activity and social privileges.2

Systemic Discrimination: The patterns of behaviour, policies or practices that are part of the structures of an organization and which create or perpetuate disadvantage for racialized persons.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2019, October 31). Discrimination: What it is, and how to cope. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/racism-bias-discrimination/types-stress
  2. (2020). Awake To Woke To Work: Building a Race Equity Culture. Equity in the Center. https://equityinthecenter.org/aww/
  3. Cornell, S., & Hartmann, D. (2007). Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press. Retrieved from https://genderedinnovations.stanford.edu/terms/race.html
  4. Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Just. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved June 11, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/just
  5. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2020, August 24). Equity vs. Equality and Other Racial Justice Definitions. Retrieved from https://www.aecf.org/blog/racial-justice-definitions
  6. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Building your resilience. Retrieved June 11, 2021, from https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience
  7. Ontario Human Rights Coalition. (n.d.). Racism and racial discrimination: Systemic discrimination (fact sheet). Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/racism-and-racial-discrimination-systemic-discrimination-fact-sheet