Overview of Civic Edge’s Commitment to Racial Equity

The Civic Edge Consulting (Civic Edge) team started our intentional work on racial equity issues in 2018. We have done a lot of work over the nearly five years we have committed to centering racial equity as a company. Our team has also evolved and changed as a result of the aspirational work directed by our Racial Equity Framework. What follows is an overview of our commitment to racial equity, as well as some of our major milestones in this effort.

In 2018, Civic Edge hired Liberation Consulting, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultants, to begin working with and coaching our team. Recognizing the need to focus on racial equity specifically, the Civic Edge team spent the next three years planning for the inclusive and collaborative development of a Racial Equity Framework (REF) for the company. 

The development of our REF, which was completed in spring 2022, included ongoing learning about racial diversity, equity, and inclusion through over a dozen all-staff workshops facilitated by Hideko Akashi. The work to create the REF was spearheaded by a “Working Group” to plan out the effort, followed by a “Drafting Group” to write the document - each team composed of staff members representing all levels of company leadership and facilitated by Hideko. Civic Edge’s Racial Equity Framework is over 100 pages with all appendices and includes: 

  • A definition of racial equity - it was clear from our workshops that the definition of racial equity for Civic Edge needs to be collaboratively articulated
  • A rationale statement - this statement articulates the “why” of our framework
  • The current reality at Civic Edge - how Civic Edge acknowledges past experiences, current systems and structures that promote white supremacy culture internally, and resulting external implications
  • Aspirational or commitment statements - these “pillars” of the framework outline our specific objectives and commitments, both in addressing the current reality at Civic Edge and working towards racial equity

With our racial equity aspirations in hand, the Civic Edge team turned to implementation in fall 2022, convening an “Implementation Team” to prioritize our nearly 100 racial equity aspirations and begin better aligning the company’s work. Our progress to date include:

  • Salaries - publishing our pay scale and adopting a policy to pay all employees and contractors a minimum salary equivalent to a “Living Wage” in San Francisco. No hourly staffer at Civic Edge makes less than $35.50 per hour.
  • BIPOC representation - creating and implementing a staff survey to track the representation of BIPOC staff at Civic Edge to support our work to align staff representation with racial and ethnic representation in the nine-county Bay Area. As of December 2022, Civic Edge staff who work more than an average of 25 hours per month were 53% BIPOC and 53% White (with some respondents selecting “two or more races”).
  • Affinity groups - creating facilitated, affirming spaces for BIPOC and white staff to discuss and learn about racial equity issues.
  • Staff reviews - creating a staff committee to review the annual review process and suggest updates, which included formalizing staff’s commitment to racial equity as a job objective required of all Civic Edge staffers. Updates also included creating a feedback cycle for the organization’s leadership team, which was implemented in early 2023.
  • Community connections - deepening the company’s commitment to support minority and women-owned businesses, as well as community-based organizations serving historically excluded communities, through subcontracting opportunities on client projects both big and small. This includes honoring the time and energy spent by community-based organizations and paying these organizations for their work on clients’ behalf directly via a pre-payment structure.
  • Learnings - supporting continued racial equity learning of Civic Edge staff by providing paid time off for professional development, including trainings and workshops provided by the National Equity Project and bystander intervention trainings to stop Anti-Asian harassment and xenophobia.
  • Outreach staff survey - we implemented a survey of our outreach staff, including requesting feedback on their feelings about safety and how we can improve our efforts to support their important outreach work.
  • Sharing our racial equity journey - as part of our external communications aspirations, we have begun to share our work on racial equity issues with our community.

Our work to develop, draft, and implement a Racial Equity Framework reflects Civic Edge’s sustained financial commitment to staff learning and providing support on centering racial equity within the company and through work with clients. Since 2018, Civic Edge has spent hundreds of staff hours as part of its commitment to this important racial equity work.

For Civic Edge, creating the Racial Equity Framework and working towards tangible change has been transformational for the company and our team. We acknowledge that the process is just the beginning of centering racial equity as an organization, and have made an active commitment to strive to advance equity and diversity in all that the company does.

You can read an abridged version of the Civic Edge Consulting Racial Equity Framework here.