Across the nation, numerous national organizations work with cities to combat the social, racial, economic and other inequities that stand as barriers to inclusiveness and compassion in communities. These organizations, many of which are interrelated and jointly sponsor programs, serve as resources for mayors and other city leaders, providing ideas for initiatives as well as direct assistance in implementing and operating them. For the following examples, mission statements and services described are based on information provided on the organizations’ Websites.


  • Not in Our Town – Established in 1995 as a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all, Not in Our Town uses film, social media, and organizing tools to help local leaders build diverse cities and towns. Resources, including workshops and action kits, are focused on schools, law enforcement, and communities. NIOT is a project of The Working Group, an Oakland-based nonprofit founded in 1988.
  • ADL Center on Extremism – Over the past decade, COE has trained 100,000 law enforcement personnel through its partnerships with law enforcement initiative. Its newest program, Managing Implicit Bias for Law Enforcement, provides police officers with onsite, customizable training designed to reduce the influence of bias in interactions and decision-making, contribute to improved police-community relations, and increase officer safety.
  • Living Cities – Founded in 1991, Living Cities works collectively with cross-sector leaders in cities to develop and scale up new approaches geared to achieving dramatically better results for low-income people and the cities where they live. The organization “harnesses the collective power of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to build a new type of urban practice.” The Website lists an extensive and wide-ranging list of resources that have been developed and applied in numerous cities. The Website also includes an interactive map of the cities in which Living Cities has worked, with details on the scope of that work and mayoral roles in it.
  • Government Alliance on Race and Equity – A national network of local and regional governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all people, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) provides technical training as well as resources such as racial equity guidebooks and action toolkits, which are available on the organization’s Website. A joint project of Race Forward and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, GARE has worked with over 205 government jurisdictions.
  • Race Forward – Founded in 1981, Race Forward employs systematic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. The organization conducts original and broadly available research on pressing racial justice issues ranging from immigration to economic inequality. Services described on the Website range across media advocacy, policy and program development, strategic coaching, curriculum design, educational material production, public presentations and keynote speeches, investigative journalism, community organizing, leadership development and applied technology. Information is available from Travon Anderson at
  • Center for Social Inclusion – United with Race Forward – CSI was established in 2002 to catalyze community, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity and create equitable outcomes for all. The mission is to craft and apply strategies and tools to transform policies, practices, and institutions in order to achieve racial equity. The organization’s programs address equity across areas such as broadband, food, energy, and transportation, and its Website includes examples of cities that have employed their strategies and tools. In 2017, CSI and Race Forward announced that they were uniting and integrating the two organizations under Race Forward. GARE, described above, is a core program of CSI.
  • Racial Equity Here – Living Cities, GARE, Race Forward, and the Haas Institute are the founding partners of a movement of hundreds of community organizations, local governments, foundations, schools and businesses across the country working together to advance racial equity. Information is on the Living Cities and GARE Websites. The Racial Equity Here Website provides tools to help organizations learn about race, racism and racial equity; act to advance racial equity by using a simple racial equity tool; and partner locally and across the country to drive a common agenda.
  • Groundwork USA – A national network of local organizations, Groundwork USA’s mission is to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement, and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships that empower people, businesses, and organizations to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being. The network aims to undo legacies of poverty and racial discrimination and break the trend of widening disparity between communities that are enjoying a renaissance and those experiencing disinvestment, neglect, and deepening poverty. Focus areas of assistance to communities are: Equity and Inclusion, Healthy Communities, Transforming Brownfields, Urban Waters, and Youth Development. The organization’s Website provides details on services available.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center – The Center’s Teaching Tolerance initiative, founded in 1991, provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. The program emphasizes anti-bias and social justice. Classroom lessons, webinars, grants, podcasts, and policy guides are among free resources available. Educators use materials to supplement curriculum, inform their practices, and create civil and inclusive school communities. More than 500,000 educators are currently involved in some aspect of the program. Information is on the Center’s Website.
  • Equal Justice Initiative – Working with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment, EJI provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. Founded and led by Bryan Stevenson and committed to changing the narrative about race in America, the organization challenges the death penalty and excessive punishment and provides re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people. Services described on EJI’s Website include research and recommendations to assist advocates and policymakers engaged in criminal justice reform.
  • Public Welfare Foundation – Focusing on catalyzing a transformative approach to justice that is community-led, restorative, and racially just, the Public Welfare Foundation is confronting the nation’s crisis of incarceration by shifting its grantmaking approach to focus on getting resources closer to the ground where promising solutions are happening. Grants go to nonprofits focused on racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. Details on the Foundation’s engagement in cities are on its Website.


  • Lessons From Cities Advancing Racial Equity – A May 2018 Report prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors with the support of the Ford Foundation describes racial equity programs, policies and projects underway in 13 cities – Austin, Louisville, Boston, Nashville, Columbia (SC), New Orleans, Gary, New York, Grand Rapids, Portland, Gresham, West Sacramento, and Houston. Generally based on roundtable interviews with the mayor, members of city equity teams, department heads and staff, and external community organizations, the report describes the successes and challenges of existing city-led racial equity initiatives.
  • Racial Equity Core Teams Toolkit – Report published by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity provides a toolkit for developing Racial Equity Core Teams, which serve as primary leadership teams, including both formal and informal leaders, that are responsible for designing, coordinating, and organizing racial equity plans and activities across government jurisdictions or institutions that are committed to equitable systems change.
  • Getting Ready for Racial Equity Work: The ‘Racial Equity Here’ Evaluation – The Racial Equity Here initiative, described above, was launched in May 2016 with work in five major U.S. cities that were committed to improving racial equity and advancing opportunity for all. This Evaluation of the Racial Equity Here initiative is designed to offer recommendations for other cities interested in applying a racial equity lens to their policies and operations.
  • Responding to Hate and Bias at School – Published by Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, this Guide prepares school administrators and staff to plan and manage student incidents involving bigotry and hate. Guidance is provided in three sections: Before a Crisis Occurs; When There’s a Crisis; After the Worst is Over.
  • Advancing Equity and Inclusion: A Guide for Municipalities – This publication was developed by the City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), an organization of Canadian women from diverse communities, organizations, and universities working with city decision makers to create more inclusive cities and advance gender equality. While the Guide is modeled for Canadian cities, its recommended approaches to building equity and inclusion are applicable to all municipalities.