Casey Strengthens Infrastructure for Advancing Racial Equity

Posted June 17, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Young child plays with bubbles

Many orga­ni­za­tions are look­ing to design an infra­struc­ture that inte­grates a focus on racial equi­ty at every turn — and the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is no exception.

That’s why the non­prof­it Nation­al Equi­ty Project is work­ing with Casey Foun­da­tion staff to deep­en the organization’s equi­ty-based strategies.

The Nation­al Equi­ty Project shares our belief that every child has a right to have a fair oppor­tu­ni­ty to suc­ceed — and that effec­tive, equi­ty-focused lead­ers help make good on this promise,” says Angelique Kedem, a senior asso­ciate with the Casey Foundation.

On this front, Stephen Chang — the Nation­al Equi­ty Project’s man­ag­ing direc­tor — spends his days teach­ing indi­vid­u­als and teams to:

  • learn the his­tor­i­cal con­text and inequitable pat­terns of racism and bias;
  • fig­ure out how to work with com­mu­ni­ties, rather than on their behalf; and
  • invest in rela­tion­ship build­ing, in addi­tion to tech­ni­cal skills.

Orga­ni­za­tions that work with the Nation­al Equi­ty Project start by acknowl­edg­ing the deep-root­ed poli­cies that have cre­at­ed endur­ing bar­ri­ers for peo­ple of col­or. Lead­ers with­in these orga­ni­za­tions also have a role to play — and must be able to rec­og­nize the com­plex­i­ty and inten­si­ty of cur­rent issues.

To tru­ly trans­form expe­ri­ences and out­comes for the chil­dren in the com­mu­ni­ties that have been most under­served, we need to under­stand how our nation’s his­to­ry repro­duces many of the pat­terns that we see per­va­sive­ly across the coun­try,” Chang explains.

Build­ing equi­ty, he says, requires work­ing close­ly with those who have been direct­ly affect­ed by inequitable prac­tices. To this end, the Nation­al Equi­ty Project has taught Foun­da­tion staff new strate­gies for effec­tive­ly lever­ag­ing com­mu­ni­ty feed­back in pro­gram evaluations.

Anoth­er change: Casey teams now talk more open­ly about top­ics that are uncom­fort­able or were pre­vi­ous­ly off-lim­its. Doing so has paved the way for deep­er dis­cus­sions about race and inequity, says Chang.

Read more about Casey’s race equi­ty journey

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