July 24, 2016

From Ann Curry-Stevens, Ph.D, Associate Professor and Founding Director, Center to Advance Racial Equity, School of Social Work, Portland State University

This resource was created by a leading group of racial equity practitioners, gathered by the Coalition of Communities of Color and All Hands Raised. The domains of the tool (nine of them) ensure a holistic assessment of the context in which clients and communities of color are served, and the organizations where workers of color are employed. At present, Oregon is a site for racial equity progress, at the organizational level, and several funders are requiring their grantees to move forward on racial equity and conduct an equity assessment and develop (and implement) an action plan that addresses racial disparities and improves cultural responsiveness. Our best tracking suggests that more than 200 organizations, including major school districts, have implemented the assessment tool.

Within the document, there are two forms of the tool. Both contain the same questions, but are organized differently. The first is called the “stepped” version. It begins with close-ended questions that are simpler to answer, and then moves to more complex questions requiring narrative paragraphs to answer. The second is un-stepped and has the questions for each domain together. The stepped version aims to move organizations into the work gradually, while the un-stepped version moves categorically across parts of the organization.

For an organization deciding to use the Tool, emerging best practice is for the initiative to be led by the organization’s equity or diversity team (if one exists) and supplementing this with top leadership, and ensuring that the breadth of the organization is included, up to a suggested maximum of 25 people. For a small organization of ten or less, we recommend that all participate.