People are the greatest unit of change. When people embrace shared values, they maintain systems that amplify those values.

Our theory of change begins and ends with people realizing their power.  Early desegregation and integration efforts were typically done to communities, not with or for communities.

Our school engagement services all begin in partnership with the current families, students, and administrators to define what an equitable, diverse school will look like and it what ways it will be beneficial from their perspective. 

Shared Values:

Living, working, and learning together in a country designed to keep us separate requires significant emotional shifts.

Segregation and structural oppression hurts every member of our society.  Building a shared value for diversity allows the people in our communities an opportunity for common ground. What do we believe together?  What will it look like when we live this value?


Champions are vocal proponents of their community’s values who show up in times of challenge and celebration.


Everyone has an obligation to make personally relevant change.  When our leaders change, they also accelerate structural change for the organizations they lead.  

Personally relevant:

Start where you are.  There’s a lot of pressure to get this right, but you can’t move any faster than your own revelations.

We’re here to provide opportunities for growth, but know that you always lead best from a place of authenticity.

Even when it feels painfully slow.

Structural change:

When we talk about structural change, we move beyond the fear of identity politics and quotas.   We actively build ways for all people in the organization to have voice and access.  This requires intentional design and implementation, not just a “lip service” policy.


The default systems in our country are designed to segregate.

When we question and challenge the default, we can dismantle it and build equitable systems in its place.

Default systems:

When we don’t define systems, they default to privilege the already powerful.  Even tangible, actionable changes, like those stemming from the landmark court cases Brown vs. Board of Education and PICS, compartmentalize district actions, without challenging the default power.  


When we work with education and housing organizations, we work closely with their existing team to build the new internal and external structures for more equitable practices.  This includes tools for self-study, internal audits, communications, onboarding new community members, and community engagement protocols.  Over time, the agencies have the tools and practices to implement these new structures on their own.

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If we don’t use equity as our framework and our lens, it will be impossible to get different outcomes.
— Melody Barnes, The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions