We want to provide you with an important update.
Over the past several months we have sought input, counsel and feedback from our players, supporters, staff and outside experts, and have completed a full-scale internal audit.
Our action plan to bolster accountability, equity and engagement that we’re sharing with you today is the result of that process. This plan is a comprehensive series of new initiatives and new practices. Some we’ve already implemented; others we’re committed to implementing this season. The plan will guide us now and, in the future, to ensure the utmost health, wellbeing, safety and respect for our players and everyone else associated with our clubs.
The plan outlined below includes the creation of new full-time positions, mandatory trainings at all levels of the organization, new community initiatives and engaging outside consultants to provide expertise in areas of need and opportunity.
Some of these steps were part of Merritt Paulson’s open letter in October and many more have been added as a result of the processes it inspired. We hope the steps below, along with a renewed commitment to communication and transparency, can continue to make Providence Park a place where our players, our staff and our supporters can all unite in the process of celebrating soccer and improving the lives of all those in our soccer community, and beyond.
Accountability, Engagement and Equity Initiatives
VP of Community and Social Impact
The Club will hire a Vice President of Community and Social Impact to oversee our Stand Together initiatives and lead new outreach and diversity initiatives. The role will build on our decade-long effort to harness the power of sport to improve the lives of children and families through targeted programs, deep partnerships and philanthropic giving.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We have partnered with Workplace Change, a local BIPOC-owned firm specializing in workplace diversity and inclusion, to assess our practices and help guide future planning so we may better reflect our broader community and give greater voice within the organization to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The club is committed to bolstering its HR and legal team with a compliance focused position to ensure that all reporting, training and due diligence across the entire Timbers and Thorns ecosystems are applied and adhered to.
New Scholarship Program
We are proud to announce a new Thorns and Timbers local scholarship fund to be awarded through local nonprofits focused on women’s rights, gender equity and aiding those impacted by domestic violence. The beneficiaries are: Bradley Angle, New Avenues For Youth, Saving Grace and Clackamas Women’s Services.
We opened a dialogue with Thorns and Timbers players and staff to ensure they have a more direct line to management. Players will be empowered to safely raise potential complaints or issues, and feedback from players can be directly shared with decision makers in the front office to ensure that player voices are heard and amplified.
New Fan Engagement Programs
This season, we will broaden communications and engagement opportunities for Annual Members to ensure a wide range of voices are heard, offer more ways to engage with the club and increase transparency. New fan engagement programs include access to team Town Halls, a series of small-scale open house meetings with club officials, monthly newsletters with engagement opportunities and surveys to gather input and drive club decision making.
At the heart of Stand Together is our youth focused programming. Stand Together is excited to continue partnerships with local nonprofits, whose collective work is dedicated to supporting young women and advancing women’s rights and issues in the greater Portland community, such as Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Club and Adelante Mujeres. In addition, the Thorns will continue to further advance their Girls Strong initiative by evolving the one-day event led by Thorns players into a yearlong program to inspire confidence, wellness, and empowerment through soccer and other activities.
Discrimination Education Training for Staff
Portland-based, Black-owned company, Construct the Present, will lead training sessions focused on the history of discrimination in Oregon, allyship, privilege and interrupting microaggressions for all full-time employees of the club. Additionally, all full-time employees are required to take part in annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination trainings.
As part of our commitment to promote player health and safety, all individuals within the organization who have regular contact with players are required to complete SafeSport training on an annual basis, including the CEO, President of Business Operations, President of Soccer Operations, and each team’s general manager and coaching staff. The training is designed to help individuals become more proficient at identifying, preventing and responding to misconduct and abuse in sport.
Expanded Background Checks
We expanded our background check process before hiring the new Thorns coaching staff. Background checks are now conducted through the NWSL’s independent third-party investigator, and we pledge to continue to apply this process in any Thorns new hires moving forward.
Anonymous Internal Reporting System
A safe and inclusive work environment for all employees is our top priority. We have put in place a confidential and anonymous online reporting system for HR issues, including harassment or discrimination within the organization that is available to all employees, as well as Timbers and Thorns FC players.
Anonymous Reporting System for Supporters
We are committed to an environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. We condemn, and will investigate, all forms of discrimination and harassment and have created this form so anyone may report an incident or concern to our organization anonymously through this online form.