Values Matter. Policies Help. Here’s Why We Implemented a Code of Conduct.

Blog

By: Lisa Eisen, Julie Mikuta, David Weil and Ohad Reifen

Our work at the Schusterman Family Foundation is guided by steadfast Jewish values that call us to treat each other with respect and dignity. We believe that we are all responsible for one another and that we must not stand idly by while others are harmed. These values also inform our conduct and shape how we do our jobs. 

In the wake of painful #MeToo revelations across all sectors of society, it is clear that our society is collectively falling short of protecting all individuals from mistreatment. It is upon each of us to contribute to creating a universal standard of safety and respect within our workplaces and communal spaces. 

With this in mind, we have been reflecting on our own policies and procedures at the Foundation and working to codify our ideals. Within the past year, we have rallied around a core set of values, updated our Equal Opportunity, Discrimination and Harassment policy and recently adopted a new Code of Conduct.

Our Code of Conduct establishes a set of standards and expectations for how Schusterman Foundation staff, program participants and vendors conduct themselves and treat others. It also enables our team members to take the necessary steps to minimize the likelihood of inappropriate conduct under our watch. 

You can find the Code on our website at www.schusterman.org/conduct

All Schusterman employees are required to abide by this Code. We have trained Schusterman staff on how they can properly handle any violations that they observe or that are brought to their attention.

Additionally, we have mapped out ways to ensure program participants and relevant partners consent to our new Code. We are now incorporating the Code of Conduct into program orientations and relevant vendor agreements. We have also been taking the time to discuss and share the Code with our grantee partners, many of whom have or are working to put similar policies in place.

We recently sent a dedicated email to program participants who are already in our network to inform them of the new Code and to ask them to log in to our website and note their consent. As we described in the email, agreeing to the updated Code of Conduct is required for participation in future Schusterman-related activities.

While codes of conduct are often seen as prohibitive, we hope that people will see this policy as a tool that is there to help and protect them. Included in the Code are instructions for people who experience, see or learn of conduct not in compliance with our Code and guidelines they can follow to address actions they perceive to be in conflict with the Code. 

Our Code of Conduct follows in the footsteps of the one presented by the SafetyRespectEquity (SRE) Coalition earlier this spring. As part of their efforts to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination, the Coalition debuted a Code of Conduct to ensure safety and respect at conferences and other communal events. They have also made a Code of Conduct template available on their website that organizations should feel free to use and adapt (see “Model Event Code of Conduct”).  The Schusterman Foundation is a founding member of the SRE Coalition, and we are firmly committed to its mission of fostering safe, respectful and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces.

Of course, no amount of policies can address everyone’s behavior, but they can serve as essential tools for articulating and upholding our expectations of each other. They can help to create environments where everyone can thrive.

We hope that you will consider our Code of Conduct as an example* of what might be a valuable tool for your organization. We also hope to continue learning from our many partners in the field about how we can help to foster a culture that reflects our values and, together, honor the dignity and promote the safety and equity of all people.

*The Foundation makes no representation or warranty regarding the terms of its Code of Conduct. Any use of its language is at the sole risk of the user and should remove any references to the Foundation, its personnel, or the applicable contact information.