Community Racial Equity Initiatives - A Literature Review

The ESL Charitable Foundation commissioned CGR to conduct a literature scan of community-based racial justice and equity initiatives to better understand the types of initiatives that communities are engaged with nationally, the traits and best practices associated with these initiatives, and how is success defined and measured. To accomplish this, CGR conducted a review of publicly available literature and research studies via internet and library searches and interviewed four community racial equity initiatives in Charlotte, NC; Syracuse, NY; Buffalo, NY; and Dubuque, IA. CGR’s research found that initiatives varied in their focus on community issues and strategies deployed, but that best practice associated with strategy development and deployment include employing multi-pronged strategies, creating a shared understanding of systemic racism locally and nationally, building a common understanding of concepts and terms, utilizing tools and toolkits, integrating a communication strategy early in the process, and engaging the community. While there is not a standard in the field on measuring this kind of work, the most commonly reported outcomes among racial equity initiatives include increased community awareness, different/increased conversations about race, a growing group with knowledge or skills, and new alliances across racial/ethnic lines. Common themes and approaches to evaluation and learning include embracing complexity, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods, checking evaluation biases and embracing inclusive evaluation practices and using data to set baselines and as a tool for change.

Report Date: Apr 2020
Author(s): Erika Rosenberg , Donna Harris , Alice Carle
Subject(s): Organizational Development , Strategic Planning & Facilitation
Location: Monroe, New York

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