Why are we doing this? To hold ourselves accountable to our equity priorities and to contribute our experience to the regional and national conversation on giving to opportunity communities.

What are we trying to track? We want to know if our grantees and partners are represented by communities that reflect our region and our equity priorities. We want to know how these communities self-identify.


Multi-Cultural or Cross-Racial

Definition of a Multi-Cultural or Cross-Racial program: Fostering an inclusive environment that leverages the contributions of diverse individuals and communities, thereby collectively bringing different viewpoints together to collaborate effectively.

Multi-cultural or cross-racial services/programs are those that are informed by a variety of communities, where members/clients collectively create an inclusive environment of belonging and safety in which services are delivered.  These services and programs reflect the following characteristics:

  • Programs are designed and continually shaped by the communities’ input to exist without structural, cultural, and linguistic barriers to create an inclusive environment of accessibility, belonging and safety in which all individuals can thrive.
  • Organizational leaders, decision-makers and staff have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work with all community members, including but not limited to expertise in language(s), core cultural constructs and institutions; impact of structural racism, individual racism and intergenerational trauma among specific the communities and individuals; formal and informal relationships with community leaders; expertise in explicit and implicit social mores. Organizational leaders and decision-makers are engaged in improving the collective well-being of the overall communities, and addressing root causes.

Multi-cultural or cross-racial organizations must meet all the following criteria:

  • The members and/or clients must be representative of a variety of communities, such as African, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, Slavic, pan-immigrant and refugee, and/or from the disability community.
  • The staff of the organization must be representative of the communities being served, and the leadership (including individuals in leadership roles, management and director positions).
  • The organization has a track record of successful community engagement and involvement with the communities being served.
  • The communities being served recognize the organization as advancing their best interests, including their voices, and engaging in policy advocacy. The organization is a reflection of the communities’ priorities.

Multi-cultural or cross-racial services demonstrate:

  • Multiple formal and informal channels for meaningful community engagement, participation and feedback at all levels of the organization (from service complaints to community participation at the leadership and board level). Community participation can and does result in desired change.
  • Commitment to a highly skilled and experienced workforce by employing robust recruitment, hiring and leadership development practices including but not limited to valuing and caring for community and/or lived experience; requirements for profession and personal references within the community; training standards professional development opportunities and performance monitoring.
  • Commitment to safety and belonging through advocacy; design of services from the norms and worldviews of the community; are considerate of the constructs of the multi-cultural community; understand and incorporate shared histories; create rich support networks; engage all aspects of community; and address power relationships.

Culturally Specific

Definition of a Culturally Specific Program: Culturally specific services eliminate structural barriers and provide a sense of safety and belonging which will lead to better outcomes.

Culturally Specific services/programs are those that are informed by specific communities, where the majority of members/clients are reflective of that community, and use language, structures and settings familiar to the culture of the target population to create an environment of belonging and safety in which services are delivered.  These services and programs reflect the following characteristics:

  • Programs are designed and continually shaped by community input to exist without structural, cultural, and linguistic barriers encountered by the community in dominant culture services or organizations AND designed to include structural, cultural and linguistic elements specific to the community’s culture which create an environment of accessibility, belonging and safety in which individuals can thrive.
  • Organizational leaders, decision-makers and staff have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work with the community, including but not limited to expertise in language, core cultural constructs and institutions; impact of structural racism, individual racism and intergenerational trauma on the community and individuals; formal and informal relationships with community leaders; expertise in the culture’s explicit and implicit social mores. Organizational leaders and decision-makers are engaged in improving overall community well-being, and addressing root causes.

Culturally specific organizations must meet all the following criteria:

  • The majority of members and/or clients must be from a particular community, such as African, African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American, Slavic, pan-immigrant and refugee, or from the disability community.
  • The organizational environment is culturally focused and the community being served recognizes the organization as a culturally-specific organization.
  • The staff of the organization must be majority the community being served, and the leadership (including individuals in management and director positions) of the organization must be majority the community being served. 
  • The organization has a track record of successful community engagement and involvement with the community being served.
  • The community being served recognizes the organization as advancing the best interests of the community and engaging in policy advocacy on behalf of the community being served. 

Culturally-specific services demonstrate:

  • Intimate knowledge of lived experience of the community, including but not limited to the impact of structural or individual racism or discrimination on the community; knowledge of specific disparities documented in the community and how that influences the structure of their program or service; ability to describe the community’s cultural practices, health and safety beliefs/practices, positive cultural identity/pride/resilience, immigration dynamics, religious beliefs, etc., and how their services have been adapted to those cultural norms.
  • Multiple formal and informal channels for meaningful community engagement, participation and feedback at all levels of the organization (from service complaints to community participation at the leadership and board level).  Those channels are constructed within the cultural norms, practices, and beliefs of the community, and affirm the positive cultural identity/pride/resilience of the community.  Community participation can and does result in desired change.
  • Commitment to a highly skilled and experienced workforce by employing robust recruitment, hiring and leadership development practices including but not limited to valuing and caring for community and/or lived experience; requirements for profession and personal references within the community; training standards professional development opportunities and performance monitoring.
  • Commitment to safety and belonging through advocacy; design of services from the norms and worldviews of the community; reflect cultural constructs of the culturally specific community; understand and incorporate shared history; create rich support networks; engage all aspects of community; and address power relationships.

Disability-Led

Definition of a Disability-Led Program: Disability-led programs and services eliminate structural barriers and provide a sense of safety and belonging which will lead to better outcomes for people with disabilities and disability communities.

A disability-led program is directly informed by those within the disability community, in which the majority of members/clients are those with disabilities, and use language, structures and settings familiar to create an environment of belonging and safety in which services are delivered.  These services and programs reflect the following characteristics:

  • Programs are designed and continually shaped by the disability community’s input to exist without structural, cultural, and linguistic barriers to create an inclusive environment of accessibility, belonging and safety in which individuals can thrive.
  • Organizational leaders, decision-makers and staff have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work with the disability community, including but not limited to expertise in language, core cultural constructs and institutions; impact of structural exclusion, individual and intergenerational trauma on the community and individuals; formal and informal relationships with community leaders; expertise in the community’s explicit and implicit social mores. Organizational leaders and decision-makers are engaged in improving overall community well-being, and addressing root causes.

Disability-led organizations must meet all the following criteria:

  • The majority of members and/or clients must be representative of the disability community.
  • The majority of staff of the organization must be people with disabilities, and the majority of leadership (including individuals in management and director positions) of the organization must be people with disabilities. 
  • The organization has a track record of successful engagement and involvement with the disability community.
  • The disability community recognizes the organization as advancing their best interests and engaging in policy advocacy on their behalf.

Disability-led services demonstrate:

  •  Intimate knowledge of lived experience of the disability community, including but not limited to the impact of structural or individual discrimination on the community; knowledge of specific disparities documented in the disability community and how that influences the structure of their program or services; ability to describe the community’s cultural practices, health and safety beliefs/practices, positive identity/pride/resilience, etc., and how their services have been adapted to those cultural norms.
  • Multiple formal and informal channels for meaningful community engagement, participation and feedback at all levels of the organization (from service complaints to community participation at the leadership and board level).  Those channels are constructed within the practices, and beliefs of the community, and affirm the positive identity/pride/resilience of the disability community.  Community participation can and does result in desired change.
  • Commitment to a highly skilled and experienced workforce by employing robust recruitment, hiring and leadership development practices including but not limited to valuing and caring for community and/or lived experience; requirements for profession and personal references within the community; training standards professional development opportunities and performance monitoring.
  • Commitment to safety and belonging through advocacy; design of services from the norms and worldviews of the community; reflect the constructs of the disability community; understand and incorporate shared history; create rich support networks; engage all aspects of community; and address power relationships.