As a Foundation committed to improving outcomes for all children, race equity has long been part of Casey’s DNA. In 2013, staff members created a new race equity and inclusion (REI) framework, which has become a guiding beacon for all of its work. Deploying Casey’s REI Framework: Lessons from the Civic Sites documents the efforts of the Foundation to embed a race equity lens in its programmatic units in Baltimore and Atlanta. Civic site staff agreed to undergo trainings, conduct deep team discussions, study data, engage external partners, identify equity gaps and develop strategies to address concerns. This document shares the story of their experiences, successes, challenges and 10 key lessons learned which encourage better understanding of such work in other Casey units and in the broader field of philanthropy.
Using data to frame the issues provides a clear focus and a way to present racial issues in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way.
Althought the tools incorporated into the race equity work are highly analytical, the very nature of the issue is highly personal.
Using Your Assets
Several team members noted that anyone working at Casey — regardless of race — works from a position of privilege, and that privilege can be engaged to make a difference.
The concept of equity is synonymous with fairness and justice. To be achieved and sustained, equity needs to be thought of not as a lofty goal, but as a structural and systemic concept.
Laying the Groundwork
Inclusion involves authentic and empowered participation and a true sense of belonging.
Statements & Quotations
I worked in education reform for several years, but I never looked at disparities based on race — probably because 99% of the kids at schools I was working with were African American. It didn’t occur to me to raise a question of equity in the way things were funded. I would say now, through this process, I am much better equipped to talk about race in the context of whatever I’m doing. Even though I’m a black man who’s lived in Atlanta for 30 years, I just feel better equipped now.
– Atlanta Civic Site Director Kweku Forstall
We’ve been focused on a community engagement strategy and emphasized resident engagement. But we landed on a need to develop our own selves in this area, to think differently about how to embed REI in all our work, how we conduct ourselves, do our strategic planning, everything we do.
– Baltimore Civic Site Director Sophie Dagenais
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