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Ensuring Equitable Opportunities for Children and Families

Posted By Nonet Sykes, Monday, May 20, 2013
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 20, 2013

By Nonet Sykes, Senior Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation & Co-Chair, ABAG's Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

Ensuring equitable opportunities for children and families is of great importance to The Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Casey has a long history of implementing programs, supporting research, promoting understanding and sharing data on issues of racial equity aimed at increasing equitable opportunity for all children, families and communities.

Why does the Foundation invest in race equity and inclusion?  

Casey seeks to develop solutions to build brighter futures for children, families and communities.  We foster public policies, human-service reform and community supports to help vulnerable children and families succeed.  Racial disparities exist in virtually every indicator of child and family well-being and span the areas of child welfare, juvenile justice, income, wealth, housing, education and health - all areas that are of utmost interest to the Foundation.  These disparities have made it more difficult for people of color to gain a foothold in mainstream society.

As the country’s demographics shift and communities of color become the fastest growing group of Americans, the very same racial and ethnic groups who have traditionally been underserved in America are quickly growing in number and population share. Unless current trends are reversed, the situation is likely to worsen. Casey recognizes that achieving our results at scale requires that we heighten our effectiveness in addressing issues of racial equity.  

We believe that ensuring equitable opportunity for children, families and communities of color is fundamental to achieving our mission.

Tackling issues of racial equity and inclusion in policy, advocacy and at the programmatic level is integral to the success of our mission and has required greater focus and intentionality.  

Casey’s Race Equity and Inclusion (REI) portfolio serves as an "engine” and driver of this work and aims to provide the data, tools and supports needed to achieve our long term desired result that a child’s race or ethnicity will no longer be a predictor of their well-being or future.  

To help advance our work around race equity in the field, Casey developed the Race Matters Toolkit which is designed to help decision-makers, advocates and elected officials to get better results in their work by dismantling the systems and structures that prevent kids and families of color from reaching their full potential.  

The Race Matters Toolkit provides tools and strategies for engaging in a deeper analysis, dialogue, and messaging about racial inequities that will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for children and families of color. In January 2011, Casey supported the launch of the Race Matters Institute to broaden the knowledge, awareness and application of the Race Matters Toolkit. 

We are funding partners of the D5Coalition, a five year effort to increase diversity, equity and inclusion within philanthropy and the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group (REPG), a group of funders dedicated to strengthening organizational policies and practices to advance racial equity. 

These investments are all aimed at leveraging Casey’s opportunity to partner with the philanthropic community to align our thinking, build collective action, disseminate best practices and increase equitable opportunities for children and families.

In addition to my work at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, I am pleased to share my experience and expertise as chair of ABAG’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee where we work with ABAG staff and members to ensure that ABAG’s values of equity, inclusiveness and respect are apparent in our work. 

You can read more about our recent workshop on Race Matters in Elisabeth Hyleck’s Adventures in Philanthropy blog this month, "Exploring Race Matters”.

Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  And Now a Word from Our Members  Annie E. Casey Foundation  Diversity  Equity  Inclusion  May 2013 Members' Memo  Race Matters 

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