Campaign Puts Racial Equity in the Center of the Social Sector

Posted January 11, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog campaignputsracialeqiuty 2018

Photo credit: Equity in the Center for the Casey Foundation

Diverse lead­er­ship makes non­prof­its more effec­tive, accord­ing to research.

Yet, in the non­prof­it sec­tor today, just 10% of CEOs and board chairs and 16% of board mem­bers are peo­ple of col­or. These rates of rep­re­sen­ta­tion fall far short of mir­ror­ing the nation’s employ­ment land­scape, where 39% of work­ers are peo­ple of color.

Giv­en these sta­tis­tics, it’s hard­ly sur­pris­ing that peo­ple of col­or are less like­ly to be offered lead­er­ship roles in non­prof­its, despite hav­ing the same aca­d­e­m­ic accom­plish­ments, skills and aspi­ra­tions as their white coun­ter­parts. Such dis­par­i­ties are root­ed in implic­it bias­es and sys­temic bar­ri­ers, say experts.

Lev­el­ing this pro­fes­sion­al play­ing field involves build­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al cul­tures in the social sec­tor that place racial equi­ty at the cen­ter of inter­nal oper­a­tions and exter­nal pro­gram­ing. To help advance this work, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is fund­ing the Equi­ty in the Cen­ter cam­paign, which uti­lizes its Results Count™ tools and methodology.

Some foun­da­tions hold their grantees account­able for using a racial equi­ty lens in their pro­grams,” says Ker­rien Suarez, direc­tor of Equi­ty in the Cen­ter. The irony is that there may be no such stan­dards for a philanthropy’s own inter­nal orga­ni­za­tion­al culture.”

Equi­ty in the Cen­ter emerged from the Social Sec­tor Tal­ent Pipelines Strat­e­gy & Learn­ing Lab, where Foun­da­tion grantees learned how to become more results based and data dri­ven while con­sis­tent­ly apply­ing a racial equi­ty lens to their work. When the lab end­ed, four par­tic­i­pants rep­re­sent­ing Ameri­Corps Alums, ProIn­spire and Pub­lic Allies set out to cre­ate a sec­tor-lev­el effort that was greater than the sum of their indi­vid­ual parts,” says Ash­ley B. Stew­art, a senior asso­ciate at Casey. From here, the Equi­ty in the Cen­ter cam­paign was born.

In 2017, its first full year of oper­a­tion, Equi­ty in the Cen­ter focused on con­ven­ing non­prof­it exec­u­tives and thought lead­ers who shared data, best prac­tices and oth­er research relat­ed to build­ing a race equi­ty cul­ture in the social sec­tor. This work is sum­ma­rized in an info­graph­ic that illus­trates how orga­ni­za­tions move from Awake” (focused on diver­si­ty) to Woke” (focused on inclu­sion) to Work” (focused on race equity).

In 2018, Equi­ty in the Cen­ter plans to gen­er­ate detailed research on the equi­ty cycle and out­line strate­gies for trans­form­ing mind­sets, prac­tices and sys­tems. At the same time, the cam­paign will con­tin­ue con­ven­ing lead­ers in the non­prof­it and human resources sectors.

If you are the only per­son in an orga­ni­za­tion try­ing to do this work, it can be very hard to think about how to shift the cul­ture,” says Mon­isha Kapi­la, CEO of ProIn­spire, the fis­cal spon­sor and back­bone orga­ni­za­tion for Equi­ty in the Cen­ter. But if you are con­nect­ed to oth­ers doing this work, you get the pow­er of the net­work to help advance race equity.”

Oth­er fun­ders of Equi­ty in the Cen­ter are the Ford Foun­da­tion, W.K. Kel­logg Foun­da­tion, Kres­ge Foun­da­tion and the William and Flo­ra Hewlett Foundation.

Read sev­en steps to advance and embed race equi­ty and inclu­sion with­in your organization

Watch videos on cre­at­ing lead­ers of color

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