As the world becomes more interconnected than ever, slow adopters of collaborative problem-solving techniques run the risk of being left behind. By 2050, seventy percent of the world’s population will live in an urban corridor. With the confluence of population growth and the desire to live in urban corridors, there is an increased risk for vulnerable populations with the need for new, rapid development to accommodate growing communities. These populations can be supported by centering equity in the work.
Implementing an Equity Framework necessitates the understanding of equity, the practice of institutional assessment and the intention to address structural inequities because of systemic racism.
- Equity means fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all people. It requires the purposeful identification and elimination of barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.
- Institutional Racial Equity assessments tease out tangible practices demonstrating adherence to principles and behaviors which foster systemic shifts in organizational culture. These lead to the cultivation of cross functional teams that outperform homogeneous ones.
- Structural Racism is a system of beliefs and practices that, through omission or commission, move people to perpetuate damages against marginalized groups whether or not they intend to. Its foundation consists of social, economic, and political paradigms that require systemic thrusts to move institutions from optimization to cultivation of ecosystems, with human beings at the center.
The proposed ecosystems model seeks to promote racial equity analysis through the creation of new experiences within institutions, leaders, managers, staff, and customers. These would lead changes through innovation and producing viable wireframes that are agile and iterative. We believe that fostering ecosystems will lead to a shift from traditional systems to change models to co-designed models based on a Human Centered Design approach. Organizational and institutional leadership should be particularly involved in experimenting with this idea of re-creating an anti-racist world.
Fred W. Brown Jr. is President & CEO of The Forbes Funds [TFF], a philanthropic organization focused in strengthening the management capacity and impact of community non-profits in the Pittsburgh area. The Forbes Funds (TFF) has a 35 year history of advancing well-being by helping human services and community-based non-profits build their management capacity, increasing the impact of their mission work.
In 2020, The Forbes Funds’ board approved a racial justice equity framework for all of TFF’s work. This framework includes investing in diverse leadership, increasing the capacity of minority-led organizations, and developing scenario planning and collaborative capacity of organizations within the region. Since the onset of COVID-19, TFF has held nearly 1,000 virtual meetings and engaged nearly 11,000 individuals in the region and across the state, Nation, and globe.
Related UNTITLED Agenda Theme: REIMAGINING human, REIMAGINING power
Photo: Fred W. Brown Jr., twitter.com/fredbrownpgh