Deeper Insight: Advancing Equity

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The Imperative for Advancing Equity: Equity is central to human and community development, well-being, and shared prosperity.

Instead of executing efforts to advance equity separately from programs or services, organizations view it as part of their social justice orientation to address issues of disparity and disproportionality. They seek to achieve systems change so that advantage and disadvantage are not distributed on the basis of race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability status, immigration status, country of origin, or religion.

Advancing Equity is embedded in every aspect of high-impact nonprofit organizations including practices, policies, and culture. As employers, high-impact organizations recognize the role they play in creating economic, educational, and leadership opportunities. At a governance level, they strive to ensure the boards and committees reflect the demographics of the communities with which they work. As economic contributors, high-impact organizations consider their contracts, vendor practices, and expenditures in the context of creating economic opportunity.

Within their communities and beyond, high-impact organizations address the issue of poverty alongside race, class, gender and access to opportunity. Organizations have courage and lead discussion on potentially volatile topics. Staff seek personal growth and increased understanding around these issues and bring along others on the same journey.

High-impact organizations unpack how and why inequities prevent children, families, and communities from reaching their full potential. Then, they tackle relationships that cause and sustain inequity and act to reduce the exclusion of underrepresented and marginalized communities from their organizational culture and civic and societal processes.

Advancing Equity: Aurora Family Service

Aurora Family Service in Milwaukee has engaged the community in local dialogues about race, families, and chosen themes during annual summits. At each event, a keynote speaker frames the dialogue and encourages participants to think about respective challenges and opportunities in the community. Following the keynote address, a reactor panel and breakout workshops give participants and opportunity to share their opinions and identify ways to take action. The summits have examined race through the lenses of many topics including entrepreneurship, infant mortality, religion, and sports. Aurora Family Service is now engaging additional nonprofits to broaden the discussion and impact.

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