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.


  • Courageous Conversation – Over 30 years this organization has worked with clients, including cities such as Austin, TX, to transform beliefs, behaviors and results with the goal of enabling people of all races to achieve at their highest levels. A range of services is described on the organization’s Website: Sessions moderated by Equity Transformation Specialists help individuals and organizations address persistent racial disparities. Through coaching, leaders are helped to identify standards for equitable solutions to issues and concerns and areas of interrogation that may not have been considered. One-on-one guidance is available to organizations seeking to navigate internal or public issues pertaining to race. Seminars can be customized for clients interested in specific areas related to racial inequity.
  • 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.
  • National Urban League – Led by former New Orleans Mayor and U.S. Conference of Mayors President Marc Morial, the organization’s century-long engagement in diversifying America’s workforce provides the foundation for its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. Decades of deep subject matter expertise is currently focused on development of critical DEI strategies and their implementation for private and public organizations. Information on the range of services available is found on the NUL Website.
  • 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 [email protected].
  • 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.
  • NewDEAL – The NewDEAL is a national network of current and former local and state elected leaders focused on expanding opportunity and spurring economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable; current and former mayors play leadership roles. Ideas are exchanged using a variety of platforms and connections are made with progressive political, policy and private sector leaders. Within the organization, the Equity Initiative focuses on systemic racism and the failures of the justice system to protect Black and other minority community members. For equity and other issues, ideas and solutions are examined in virtual events and forums, podcasts and other media available on the NewDEAL Website.
  • Strong Cities Network – Launched in 2015 at the UN General Assembly, the Strong Cities Network represents an international city-led effort to combat hate, polarization and extremism in all its forms. Network members – mayors, municipal-level policy makers and practitioners – partner with their communities to design and deploy local responses to the threats posed by these problems. Working at global, regional and individual city levels, SCN can provide tools and policy models along with a range of in-depth models for capacity-building, interventions, and youth engagement. A list of members and other details are found on SCN’s Website.


  • Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity – Thirteen federal agencies and offices collaborated on a Document released by The White House on March 23, 2022 that examines the historical role of racism in the evaluation of property, the various forms of bias that can appear in the evaluation process, and a detailed plan of action to advance equity to be pursued by government agencies and public and private stakeholders with roles to play in the full range of functions affecting appraisal and evaluation.
  • Creating an Environment for Racial Equity and Social Justice. This 2022 series of case studies by Esri explores some novel approaches that cities have taken to further racial equity using GIS. Cited examples include Oakland using GIS to determine which streets would get paved and when on an equity basis, Philadelphia using GIS to expand Internet access to underserved population, and Los Angeles using GIS to unwind the effects of redlining on access to shade across the city.
  • America 2021: The opportunity to advance racial equity. This 2021 McKinsey report highlights opportunities for cities to advance racial economic equity across four dimensions: family wealth, family income, family savings and consumption, and community context.
  • Reckoning with History: Confederate Monuments in American Cities. This 2020 case study from the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative looks at how the mayors of three American cities responded to calls for action to remove Confederate monuments in their cities, and provides lessons for other mayors encountering the same issues who want to approach the issue through a lens of racial equity.
  • 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.