Welcoming Environment Resource Center

Welcoming Environment Resource Center

This resource center is designed for association executives who are interested in learning, practicing and implementing a WE at their association.  These concepts can be immediately implemented in every facet of the association including workforce, membership, and leadership.

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What is a Welcoming Environment?

When an association values differences and creates a Welcoming Environment® that is comfortable, inclusive, and empowering, it opens the door for innovation, increased participation, and an elevated sense of community and belonging for all.
A Welcoming Environment is defined as the creation of a sense of belonging and connectedness that engages individuals in an authentic manner in which uniqueness is valued, respected, and supported through opportunities and interaction.
A Welcoming Environment drives deeper engagement and increased participation with the Association and will ultimately increase revenue and build sustainable relationships.
One of Association Forum's Core Values is to be a Welcoming Environment: We are a welcoming environment that actively seeks to enhance the larger community by recognizing the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We will make everyone interacting with us feel welcomed, represented, engaged, inspired, and empowered.
The environment we create communicates our beliefs about the people we serve. Association Forum has made a commitment to building a Welcoming Environment (WE) in our community and to equipping members with the tools that they need to build a WE at their association. Association Forum’s value and wisdom draws upon and reflects the population we serve, and that which our members serve.

WE Research Study

In the summer of 2020 Association Forum released the findings from our groundbreaking Welcoming Environment® (WE) Research Study built in partnership with McKinley Advisors.
This research shines a spotlight on the disconnect between what is identified as necessary Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies and where these strategies are being implemented in associations.
The resources below, stemming from the study, are meant to serve as a guide to help our members implement DEI in their organizations.

Welcoming Environment Organizational Award

The Welcoming Environment Organizational Award is awarded to an association that has demonstrated exemplary outcomes in providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and culture.


Past Recipients

  • 2018 Honoree: CCIM Institute
  • 2019 Honoree: American College of Healthcare Executives
  • 2020 Honoree: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
  • 2021 Honoree: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • 2022 Honoree: Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES)
  • 2023 Honoree: American Society of Anesthesiologists®

Welcoming Environment Advisory Groups

Association Forum is pleased to announce the formation of Identity-Based Advisory Groups to provide guidance on how to advance Welcoming Environment® strategies that will enrich member experiences, professional development, leadership development, cultural awareness, and competency. The advisory groups will assist with membership outreach, engagement and retention, and ensuring representation throughout the association.  Learn more about the Advisory Groups.  

Welcoming Environment® is a registered trademark of Association Forum.  Permission to use is required.