The Annie E. Casey Foundation for decades has worked to embed racial equity and inclusion in its operations and share its journey as a road map to other funders ready to embark on a similar path. Currently leading the charge is President and CEO Lisa Hamilton, who ascended to the helm in 2019 after serving as executive vice president and chief program officer, as well as vice president of external affairs, leading efforts to provide data, analysis, research, communications, and policy solutions to fortify the foundation’s ability to reach its goals.

As Hamilton shared in a recent interview with PEAK President and CEO Satonya Fair, she hopes that sharing the Casey Foundation’s challenges and triumphs will embolden other organizations. “We know we can’t change the world by ourselves,” Hamilton says. “No matter how deep the work we do as an institution might be, we’ve got to help facilitate others’ growth and development in this space.” The two CEOs explored how to put equity at the core of your strategy so that change emanates from your organization and runs throughout the communities you work to benefit. Here are a few highlights from their conversation.

Fair: Creating an institution that is equity-centered from its mission statement to its programming to its operations is a long journey. And there are so many out there who are just beginning this journey. How did Casey start this work and what has it done well to ensure that everyone has been included along this journey?

Hamilton: We had to acknowledge a fundamental truth: Universal strategies are not going to get us where we want to go. A rising tide does not lift all boats. It’s like having a classroom of children and you realize some of them can’t read very well. You dig a little deeper and realize these kids can’t see and need glasses. Those children need targeted interventions. Racial equity is no different. Different children and communities face different challenges. We have to be unapologetic about pursuing targeted strategies to improve outcomes for families who have had targeted strategies directed at them to hold them back.

Read the full article about centering equity by Satonya Fair and Lisa Hamilton at PEAK Grantmaking.