Conference Speaker Blog: What’s In My Racial Equity Toolkit
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
What’s In My Racial Equity Toolkit: Using Organizational Assessments to Advance Racial Equity
We’re getting excited about the opportunity to come together, learn and advance our work together next week. And as the three of us—Mala, Keith and Stephanie—put the last minute touches on our session, Racial Equity Toolkit: Using Organizational Assessments to Advance Racial Equity (come join us on Friday, October 12, at 11AM!), we thought to share a few resources and reflections with Alliance conference attendees in advance.
Asking the Right Questions: As the name of our session suggests, we believe in the value of asking questions. Most of us as capacity builders believe in asking questions, listening and gathering data. But what if we are talking about equity and inclusion? Assessments, on the surface, may seem race-neutral. However, unless they explicitly address race and equity, they will always tend to privilege dominant cultural standards by what questions they ask, what constitutes a best practice or success, and who says so.
Sharing DEI Tools and Resources: Our session will highlight one possible assessment, RoadMap’s My Healthy Organization (MHO), that has integrated racial equity-related questions throughout its instrument, is designed as a 360° assessment to maximize engagement and learning at all organizational levels, and illuminates how aligned or unaligned respondents are in their responses. Like many organizational assessment tools, MHO helps an organization take stock of its work, structure and culture; identify key strengths and challenge areas; and support data-driven decisions to strengthen its capacity. For those wondering if there is a catalogue of organizational assessments in the world, there was a recent field review commissioned by the Hewlett Foundation to inventory tools available to help nonprofits better understand a nonprofit’s health and capacity—areas of strength, and ways for improvement. We’ll also make sure to highlight the resources available at racialequitytools.org—the site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.
Creating the Space for Dialogue: As capacity builders, we also need to facilitate dialogue and create the space for reflection and change. We’re hoping the session will yield collective insights on how we can create meeting agendas and space for difficult conversations. We’ll also share some of what we ourselves learned such as using the Race Matters organizational self-assessment from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Looking forward to being together next week and to a rewarding, challenging, thought-provoking and invaluable opportunity to learn together.
Stephanie Leiderman, Center for Assessment and Policy Development
Mala Nagarajan, RoadMap/ Vega Mala Consulting
Keith Timko, Support Center for Nonprofit Management