The Building Change DEI Commitment
Building Change, Inc. was founded in order to serve culturally diverse communities in counties, cities, and townships across the state of Maryland. Our driving focus is to connect low- and moderate-income residents and their families to funding to make vital home improvements. That not only improves their quality of life, but by making homes more efficient also contributes to the state’s carbon reduction and energy targets. Our long term goal is to replicate and expand the work we do in Maryland, implement similar programs across the United States, and share the knowledge and experience we gain with developing communities around the globe. Everyone has the right to comfortable, efficient, healthy, and safe shelter. Our Wayfinder Initiative was conceived to make quality homes accessible to young families, aging in place seniors on fixed incomes, underrepresented ethnic minorities, and individuals living with cognitive and/or physical disabilities.
The Building Change Board of Directors currently stands at three members.
Founder/President Jason Dispenza is the father of three young children, applying his creative problem-solving skills to ensuring that they have a biologically diverse, equitable, and inclusive world to grow up and thrive in. He is a pioneer in the application of tech solutions to sustainability challenges in built environments.
Board Secretary James Miletello is of both African American and European descent, married to a member of the Latin American community, and a devoted father. He has many years of experience advocating for neighborhoods with very diverse populations and championing local as well as global environmental issues.
Board Treasurer Victoria King Kondos is a behavioral scientist and educator, mother of two and grandmother to two, and LGBTQ+ family. They have developed cultural humility curricula for all age levels and implemented European Union sponsored programs for equal access to education and cultivation of inclusive educational environments.
We also have a diverse Strategic Advisory Committee of international subject matter experts who support and endorse the Building Change mission.
DEI Competence and Training
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, non-stock corporation, Building Change relies upon skilled independent contractors for project implementation. Demonstration of cultural humility and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a prerequisite to our entering into a contractual relationship with any third party for specific services. In the event that a potential contractor has not had access to relevant DEI training, Building Change provides material in the following areas:
- Unconscious bias and microaggressions.
- Person-first language and meeting people where they are.
- Respecting the agency and dignity of all community members.
- Culture specific briefing of contractors who will be interacting with service recipients of creeds or with religious beliefs with which they are unfamiliar.
Building Change crews are also instructed to encourage the interest of local youth in what they are doing and direct them to sources of information about how to become licensed in construction and other home performance related trades.
All three Board members share responsibility for ensuring that all contractors and/or their employees or representatives are aware of and competent to function under these Building Change DEI policies as well as any procedures specifically outlined for each project. We actively elicit feedback from program participants and will act immediately in the event that a service recipient has had a less than optimal experience. People’s homes are their sanctuaries, and the crews we engage are not there to judge but to enhance quality of life while respecting the dignity and privacy of the occupants.