Organization Change

The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) approach and framing are no longer relevant. Diversity and inclusion played a role in this work, but their outcomes are very limited and do not address nor lead to dismantling structural racism. The DEI approach does not address entrenched and accumulated racialized inequities in all qualities of life … [nor does it] focus on shifting power” (Operationalizing Racial Justice in Non-Profit Organizations). Racial equity organizational change processes are about aligning and operationalizing policies, practices, culture, and ethos with an organization’s commitment and value of racial equity. As Gita Gulati-Partee, OpenSource Leadership Strategies, discusses in their definition of racial equity, it “requi [...]

Case Studies

Vulnerability and Our Journey to Become an Anti-Racist Organization
Leah Pearson
We Were There: Reckoning with Living Cities’ History on Race
Shannon Jordy and Jeff Raderstrong
Living Cities
Putting Equity at the Heart of Our Mission: A Snapshot of PPGNY’s Journey
Fiona Kanagasingam
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York
Funders Together to End Homelessness: A Racial Equity Learning Journey
Sharmila Lawrence et al.
United Philanthropy Forum
The Racial Reckoning Inside Planned Parenthood
Dani McClain
Harper's Bazaar
Racial Equity in Co-ops: 6 Key Challenges and How to Meet Them
Jessica Gordon Nembhard
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
A Case Study of the Equity Initiative of Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services with Technical Assistance ...
Gita Gulati-Partee, OpenSource Leadership Strategies
Consumer Health Foundation; CommonHealth ACTION
Without Mincing Words: Sierra Club Commits to Accountability and Racial Justice
Jeanine Bell
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
About the Race and Social Justice Initiative
City of Seattle
BALLE–Racial Equity Change from the Outside In
Cyndi Suarez
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
Becoming an Anti-Racist / Racially Just Organization: The Environmental Support Center’s Story
Danyelle O'Hara
Environmental Support Center
Beyond Diversity and Multiculturalism: Towards the Development of Anti-Racist Institutions and Leaders
Mary Pender Greene
Journal for Nonprofit Management
Boston Builds Capacity to Address Racism and Achieve Health Equity
Human Impact Partners; Boston Public Health Commission, MA
Building an Inclusive Culture: Spreading and Embedding an Equity Lens at the Bush Foundation
Stephanie Andrews
Bush Foundation
Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment
Soya Jung with M. Potapchuk, R. Sen and L. Villarosa
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE); Applied Research Center (ARC)
Demos’ Racial Equity Tranformation: Key Components, Process & Lessons
Heather C. McGhee and Lucy Mayo with Angela Park
Equipping Organizations for Change: Video Case Studies
Equity in the Center; Year Up; Leadership for Educational Equity; SAGE; Demos
More Than Words, Part Two: Leadership Challenges – Navigating Organizational Transformation Emphasizing Racial, Social, and Economic Equity
George Penick
Foundation for the Mid South (FMS)
Moving Forward Together: CSSP’s Journey to Center Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
Juanita Gallion and Kristen Weber
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Putting Racial Justice at the Heart: How Did Compasspoint Get Here?
Lupe Poblano
Texas Child Welfare Partnership with The People’s Institute and Casey Family Programs Produces Positive Results for Children
Sheila Craig and Elizabeth Kromrei
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
The National Toxics Campaign: Some Reflections, Thoughts for the Movement
The National Toxics Campaign
Toward a Vision for Racial Equity & Inclusion at Starbucks: Review and Recommendations
Heather C. McGhee and Sherrilyn Ifill
Demos; LDF (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.)
What Does it Take to Embed a Racial Equity & Inclusion Lens?
Hafizah Omar and Nadia Owusu
Racial Equity & Inclusion Learning Question Team, Living Cities
Achieving Racial Equity: Calling the Social Work Profession to Action
NASW Foundation’s Social Work Policy Institute

Concepts and Frameworks

Continuum on Becoming a Transformative Anti-Oppression Organization
AORTA (Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance)
DEI Strategy is Limited and Potentially Harmful: So Now What?
Maggie Potapchuk
MP Associates
Seeing, Reckoning & Acting: A Practice Toward Deep Equity
Sheryl Petty
Change Elemental
With a Lever: A DIY Guide to Institutional Change for Racial Equity
Alda Yuan
Becoming an Anti-Racist Organization: An Anti-Racist Model for Organizational Change
Mary Pender Greene
MPG Consulting
The “Centering Blackness ” Edition
Ashley Irons, Elijah Misigaro, and Ryan Holmes
Systems Change & Deep Equity: Pathways Toward Sustainable Impact, Beyond “Eureka!,” Unawareness & Unwitting Harm
Sheryl Petty & Mark Leach
Change Elemental
Activating Systemic Change Toward Full Participation: The Pivotal Role Of Boundary Spanning Institutional Intermediaries
Susan Sturm
Saint Louis University Law Journal
Influences on Anti-Racist Social Work Practice
Kish Bhatti-Sinclair
Palgrave Macmillan
Operationalizing Racial Justice in Non-Profit Organizations
Maggie Potapchuk
MP Associates
Organization Development for Social Change: An Integrated Approach to Community Transformation
Zak Sinclair with Lisa Russ et al.
Movement Strategy Center (MSC)
Organizational Change and Accountability
Paul Kivel
Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity
Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk
OpenSource Leadership Strategies; MP Associates; The Foundation Review
Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide: 7 Steps to Advance and Embed Race Equity and Inclusion Within Your Organization
Terry Keleher, et al.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Uni-Versity to Poly-Versity Series on Anti-Oppression Organization Change: Creating Anti-Racist Organizations
Arnold Minors
Arnold Minors & Associates
Voice Under Domination
Cyndi Suarez
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
White Supremacy Culture
Tema Okun
Are You Guilty of Equity Offset?
Vu Le
Nonprofit AF

“So many institutions in our society need reinventing. The time has come for a new dream. That is what being a revolutionary is.”

~ Grace Lee Boggs


Racial Equity Journey – Tamika Mason, Equity in the Center

Also in this section:
  • Individual Transformation

  • Community Change

  • Leadership for Racial Equity

  • Accountability

  • Networks, Alliances, and Coalitions

  • Movement Building



In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it’s really about what happens after it’s done wrong.

SOURCE:  Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work, Bonnie Berman Cushing with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberly Richards (2010). 

Related Resources:  Accountability

Location: PLAN / Change Process

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” 

SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019).


When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. 

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge, 1997).

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Movement Building

Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can:

  • Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems.

  • Enable people to exercise their collective power.

  • Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected.

  • Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign.

  • Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice, and democracy.

SOURCE:  Julie Quiroz-Martinez, From the Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism (Akonadi Foundation, 2010), citing the Movement Strategy Center, which offers these further definitions.

Related Resources:  Movement Building

Location: PLAN / Change Process


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racist Policies

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also expressed through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Related Resources:  Laws and Policies

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / History of Racism and Movements

For specific topics, also see PLAN / Issues


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice.

Related Resources:  Reparations

Location: PLAN / Issues

Structural Racism

  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues