Chronicle of Philanthropy Highlights Equity in the Center’s Publication as a Resource for Race Equity Work


The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an independent news organization that serves leaders, funders, and others in the social sector, recently featured Equity in the Center’s publication, Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture. The article, 5 Steps to Building a Culture of Racial Equity, identifies some of the actions that individuals can take to begin building a Race Equity Culture. It was highlighted in the Resources & Tools section of The Chronicle’s website and included in the publication’s daily and weekly email digests to subscribers.

Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture, represents months of research by Equity in the Center and illustrates in detail how organizations can move through the Race Equity Cycle by activating specific organizational levers. The publication provides insights, tactics, and practices social sector organizations can and have used to measurably shift organizational culture, operationalize equity, and move from a dominant organizational culture to a Race Equity Culture.

Equity in the Center works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase race equity. An initiative of ProInspire, Equity in the Center believes in a future where nonprofit and philanthropic organizations define, implement, and advance race equity internally while advocating and centering it in their work externally. Click here to learn more and to get connected with this work.


This article is reprinted with permission of The Chronicle of Philanthropy,

5 Steps to Building a Culture of Racial Equity

A new report evaluates efforts to promote racial equity within nonprofits and offers guidance to charity leaders on how to advance racial equity. Published by Equity in the Center, with support from ProInspire, the study identifies three actions an organization must take to become racially equitable: first, diversify your workforce, then foster a culture of inclusion, and finally update and evaluate activities and operations to ensure that racial equity is woven into all decision making. The study draws on findings from focus groups as well as interviews with practitioners, experts, and thought leaders.

Here are five steps, adapted from that report, that you can use to begin building a culture of racial equity at your organization.

1. Establish a shared vocabulary. Ground your organization in shared meaning around race equity and structural racism. These terms work hand in hand; by achieving race equity, you will be dismantling structural racism. Many organizations maintain a running dictionary of terms from which to draw when needed; the glossary found in the appendix of the report is a helpful starting point.

2. Identify race-equity champions at the board and senior leadership levels. Although race-equity work succeeds only as an organization-wide effort, a critical component is buy-in from board members and senior leaders who can set race-equity priorities and communicate them throughout the organization. As these constituent groups make up distinct levers, it’s imperative that they independently demonstrate a firm commitment to race equity. Senior leaders must encourage others in the organization to engage in the work, influence the speed and depth at which race equity is embedded in the organization, and continuously drive progress and accountability.

3. Name race-equity work as a strategic imperative for your organization. Hold race equity as a north star for your organization. Define and communicate how race- equity work helps the organization achieve its mission. The more you connect the reasons for doing this work to your mission, vision, values, and strategies, the more vital it will feel to everyone in the organization, at every level.

4. Open a continuous dialogue about race-equity work. There are many ways to engage in effective conversations on race equity. Host a brown-bag lunch about race-equity efforts on your team or for individuals who are invested in your cause, and secure an external facilitator to ensure discussion is both objectively and effectively managed. Whether it’s environmental justice, access to education, or philanthropy and grant making, you can find research and examples of organizations that have done race-equity work and shared their findings. Use these stories to start the conversation about race equity within your team, and discuss how the approaches of other organizations might apply to your work.

5. Disaggregate data. Start looking at your numbers. The only way to get a clear picture of inequities and outcome gaps both internally and externally is to collect, disaggregate, and report relevant data. Organizations should examine staff engagement, performance, and compensation data by race, at all staff levels. Program data should also be disaggregated and analyzed by race. Hold your organization from top to bottom accountable for this work.”.

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