A funny thing happened during our pilot year.
We scoured the globe for the best resources to support diversity, equity, and inclusion capacity-building supports. We were excited to refer our Equity in Schools partners to tools like the Future Ready Integrated Schools Continuum of Excellence, the equity x design framework on school design, Charter Board Partners’ Standards for Effective Charter Governance, and Unrealized Impact, a survey on talent practices in education. When it came to our business and nonprofit partners, we dug into the tools from Nonprofit Leadership Alliance DEI Resource Library , Equity in the Center and Catalyst). We found that:
- DEI tools built for schools, nonprofits, and for profit businesses often used different language and expectations. To make things more complicated, it seemed like, after every important convening, there was newly coined language that we were racing to adopt. We started to understand how some orgs could spend months developing their internal definitions before getting to action. FYI: here’s a look at how we’re defining diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Most of the tools we found focused on the people-facing work of equity: policy, pedagogy, programs, and culture. Where were the tools to help leaders identify the finance and operations (not just talent) implications of an equity commitment?
- We spent a LOT of time triangulating multiple tools (and vocabularies) to help partners identify the broad range of institutional changes needed to advance equity.
- There wasn’t a single tool that we could use to assess diversity, equity, and inclusion across different types of organizations.
So we decided to build one! With the Equity Audit, we’ve built a comprehensive online tool that addresses both people-facing and system-facing change. The Equity Audit is informed by our DEI Standards and Indicators (DEISI) and requires leadership to consider the role of equity in their governance, finance, operations, program, pedagogy, and culture (adult culture and youth culture). In addition to addressing the key functions of any school or workplace, our Equity Audit assesses DEI for all of the key stakeholders in the organization.
One of our favorite features of the Equity Audit is that it’s free. Yep! Everyone gets an equity audit! If you have 3 team members or 300 team members, your organization likely hasn’t budgeted for a deep individualized equity needs assessment. We don’t want cost to be a barrier for companies to move from talk to action (because equity, duh!). We’re more interested in organizations asking themselves the tough questions that will guide their implementation strategy. We encourage you to gather a group of your company’s leaders and spend a couple of hours completing the audit together. Question each other, question the data, share your wonderings. The process of completing the Equity Audit will reveal as much about how you need to collect, disaggregate, and analyze data as it will about the impact of your current equity efforts. We’ve outlined a few more suggestions in the Equity Audit User Guide.
Who should use our Equity Audit? We’ve designed this so that any type of organization — schools, district or network of schools, nonprofits, hospitality, manufacturing, large consulting firms, foundations, mechanics — everyone can take the Equity Audit and get guidance on their equity journey. We ask you a few key questions to describe your organization and then use that information to assign you with the most relevant indicators. For example, Equity in Schools indicators are linked to: students, parents and family, community partners, vendors, faculty and staff, leadership, and the Board. Equity at Work indicators are linked to their target participants: clients and customers, community partners, B2B vendors, employees, management, and trustees or investors. Depending on the school or business structure, the Equity Audit also includes indicators that assess DEI in scholarships, grants, employee assistance benefits, and corporate giving.
In addition to stand-alone organizations, we think that the Equity Audit works well for companies that have an authorizing or accrediting body, provide management supports to a portfolio or cohort, or oversee multiple regions and campuses. The Equity Audit can help identify organizational progress and related technical assistance needs across an entire network.
Don’t take our word for it. We are totally biased! Are you *gulp* ready to complete your free, online Equity Audit now? Let’s get started.