diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging statement
and land acknowledgement


Rocking the Boat was founded in 1998 to address fundamental inequities in education, opportunity, and access to hands-on experiences in waterways. Located on the Bronx River, we offer young people a place to develop the skills, confidence, and sense of community necessary to succeed in life.

For decades, the organization has made perspective-changing experiences available to hundreds of young people. Comprehensive social work and college and career guidance enhances these opportunities for participants and alumni alike. Prioritizing hiring its own graduates for part-time and full-time leadership positions, Rocking the Boat is committed to diversity, equity, and access that ensures everyone has equal opportunities to thrive and feel valued. Essential to that commitment is a culture that promotes belonging and respect for all individuals within the organization. We encourage open dialogue, embrace diverse perspectives, and strive to create a safe space for everyone to contribute and be heard.

Rocking the Boat exists to address inequities resulting from systemic racism past and present. We must continually ensure that our culture and practices operate in service of our aspirations, energized by our participants, alumni, and the communities we serve. In 2022 we began an organization-wide, year-long process centered on the voices, perspectives, and experiences of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues, participants, alumni and parents, across all areas of the organization. As a result of this work, we launched a DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) Action Plan—an initial set of external and internal goals designed to further Rocking the Boat’s commitment to its original mission. This plan includes a standing DEIB Committee combining board members, staff members, and alumni to steward its implementation.

The following pledges are among many outlined in the DEIB Action Plan:

  • Sensitively describe the challenges and honor the strengths of participants, alumni, and the broader South Bronx community in Rocking the Boat’s public-facing narratives and images
  • Develop programmatic activities to reflect the culture and the priorities of the community we serve
  • Incorporate active participation in social and environmental justice campaigns into environmental programming
  • Increase Youth Development programs’ commitment to developing the civic awareness of participants
  • Expand programming to make Rocking the Boat’s unique activities accessible to everyone regardless of their abilities or disabilities
  • Heighten solidarity and allyship with BIPOC staff, participants, and alumni
  • Strengthen policies, practices, and workplace expectations that combat racism and support an equitable organizational work culture
  • Increase BIPOC representation in full-time staff roles; on the Board of Directors; and among Rocking the Boat’s volunteers
  • Prioritize M/WBE-owned businesses when hiring vendors, contractors, and consultants
  • Hire qualified former students whenever possible for open positions and pay competitive wages for all positions across the organization 

Land Acknowledgement
We respectfully acknowledge the Indigenous inhabitants of the unceded land and waters of Hunts Point and the South Bronx. The Lenape people stewarded the land that would become the Bronx. They protected the Bronx River that sustained them for generations. European settlers arrived and exploited the land and water of this rich place, using it to dump their waste and power their mills, spurring economic growth and the built environment. We work to dismantle this legacy and to understand how we live within this history of human erasure and environmental harm. We honor the Lenapes’ interdependent relationship with land and waterways, and pledge to steward, celebrate, and advocate for the natural world and the people who depend on its health.

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474

phone: 718.466.5799

Rocking the Boat is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Download Form 990.