2020 Series: Committing to DEI Metrics
The events of this year have forced all of us to examine this country’s history of racial injustice and to grapple with how we can play a part in solving this glaring systemic problem in our society. We have seen significant efforts from virtually every sector, as companies commit to be a part of the solution and tackle diversity, equity, and inclusion in a more deliberate and comprehensive way. The social sector has been a leader in this issue area for some time, but this year has shown a concerted effort unlike anything we have seen before as existing players take a larger role or offer a new approach to tackle these long-standing issues. In addition, it has been inspiring to see new players enter the sector, and take an active role in helping to drive positive change in this area. We have also seen an increased openness and appreciation for diversity metrics tracking and reporting with the ultimate goal to move the needle and drive greater impact.
Camelback Ventures has been working to create a more representative, equitable, and just world for years in their work aimed to serve underrepresented founders. The organization is an accelerator that identifies, develops, and promotes early-stage underrepresented entrepreneurs with the aim to increase individual and community education, and generational wealth. A year ago, the organization decided to take a more data-driven approach to support internal decision making and program design, and to support their fundraising efforts to continue to drive impact and effectively tell their story. This effort involves the analysis of historic and current data that they collect from the accelerator’s social entrepreneurs (Fellows) they support, including feedback around the summits they hold for their Fellows, data on the coaching program, and growth metrics tied to core competency areas for the Fellows from when they enter the program to their completion. More recently, Camelback has made a big push to support their alumni in navigating the challenges associated with COVID, so they are surveying alums to understand how they can support them during this time. With up-to-date information in the form of dashboards, the leadership team has benefited from increased efficiencies when creating grant reports and preparing for meetings with key stakeholders.
“In our work with UpMetrics, it has been great to be able to send metrics dashboards to funders without having to recreate the wheel from scratch each time. Additionally, the UpMetrics team has been instrumental in helping us make surveys that are consistent so that we can use them year over year without recreating. The time saved has allowed us to concentrate more on our work with our Fellows and stakeholders.”
- Aaron Walker, Founder & CEO, Camelback Ventures
We have also seen organizations in the sector who are re-evaluating their values in this area, and perhaps even taking a new or deeper approach to address diversity, equity, and inclusion internally. As one example, Enterprise for Youth is a nonprofit organization that empowers young people to prepare for and discover career opportunities. Through this program, youth cultivate their individual interests and potential through training, guidance, and employment experiences in supportive and diverse environments. Diversity is inherent in the work that Enterprise for Youth is taking on, as many of their participants come from underrepresented backgrounds, and is reflected in the organization-wide goals they have set. But the leadership team is taking advantage of this time to reflect and develop an approach to go deeper in the areas of inclusiveness and anti-racism. In particular, the team is considering how they can be sure that they are incorporating diverse practices across the organization to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and that they are encouraging diversity not just for diversity sake but in the form of diverse ideas and perspectives.
Siebert Williams Shank, the nation’s premier woman-owned and minority-owned investment bank, is a great example of an organization that hasn’t historically taken an active role in the social sector, and yet, given all that has come to light in 2020, have decided to take action as we all work to create a more diverse and equitable world. In August this year, Siebert Williams Shank launched the Clear Vision Fund which will invest growth and operating capital in small and medium-sized businesses, with an emphasis on minority-owned businesses, to maximize social impact. An important part of this initiative is setting baseline and target goals, and collecting data consistently from the portfolio companies in order to track progress towards diversity metrics. It has been inspiring to see an organization that has previously not identified as “impact” enter this important fight, and be willing to track progress and report learnings over time.
Racial justice was clearly a top priority this year, and we expect this to continue into 2021 as more people join the movement and reevaluate existing practices through the lens of DEI. We also expect the social sector to build on the new momentum that has been created in 2020 in the form of a commitment to track diversity metrics with intentionality, practice transparency as it relates to sharing progress towards goals, and use information to collaborate and learn to drive positive change in this important issue area.
Other Posts in the 2020 Series: