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In October 2017, the Partnership’s Executive Committee determined that its approach to racial equity would begin with a baseline racial equity assessment of our partner organizations to drive discussion and take collective action. The Tool for Organizational Self-Assessment Related to Racial Equity, originally developed by Coalition of Communities of Color for All Hands Raised Portland (2013) and adapted for Marin Promise Partnership, was recommended for partners to gather an overview of their policies and practices as they relate to racial equity.
Findings and recommended next steps are detailed in this report and are aimed at dismantling institutional racism and systemic disparities in the Marin County ecosystem.
After hours of meetings, rich dialogues with partners, data review, reflection and multiple report drafts, this final version was presented at the July 2019 Partnership Council.
Executive Summary of the Findings:
- A majority of board members in Marin County are white, with more than one school district reporting zero board members of color.
- The term racial equity was misunderstood by a large number of partners, who answered that a public statement committed to equity or diversity implies that an organization works to address individual, institutional, and systemic forms of racial disparities and oppression.
- More than one organization reported the value of the racial equity assessment, stating that they used it to inform meetings, planning, or next steps, and that it provided rich discussion for staff to consider. Partners who took the assessment with their broader leadership staff reported that their reflections reflected a broader view.
- A formal pipeline does not exist to attract employees of color and move them into highest positions of leadership within organizations. Informal mentoring programs do exist, but a person of color is often left with the responsibility of asking for, finding, or developing a relationship with a mentor or an internship possibility.
- Partner organizations that have engaged in reflective racial equity work were the least likely to provide lengthy justifications when they fell short of an ideal goal. For example, when an organization realized they had no mentoring or interning possibilities for people of color, leaders responded with, “We need to do this, but we haven’t.”
- Although many partner organizations used consultants to help support training in bias awareness and organizational equity goals and planning, it was unclear if consultants helped organizations explore strategies and solutions to disrupt systemic inequities across Marin or if they focused solely on their own organization’s work.
- Most organizations do not consider the potential impact of hiring minority-owned or women-owned businesses on economic mobility for these populations. Although county agencies give points to minority-owned, women-owned, or small business vendor bids, a majority of respondents did not previously consider contracting with these types of vendors as a way to disrupt income inequities across Marin.
- Several organizations provided examples of racial and intersectional equity in creative and thoughtful ways. For example, systematizing equity pay, implementing a racial equity task force and vendor task force, conducting research to investigate youth referrals into probation, Community School, or juvenile detention, and paying employees for translation support were strategies mentioned in the “Exemplary Practices” profiles in this report.
Marin Promise Partners commit to taking on concurrent and transformative work at the individual, organizational, and systemic levels to address racial inequities in our County. It is only through this deeply reflective and richly enhancing work that the Partnership might create a better community for all children and leave a lasting legacy we can all be proud of