The GARE Network has doubled in size almost every year since its founding, currently we have upwards of 430 member jurisdictions in our network. This means our community is bigger and stronger, and that we must work differently to bind us all together through our shared values. Last year, we launched an extensive program re-design process to support the growth of the network and focus on activities that support achieving racial equity in government.
We know that systemic racism reaches into every sphere of life, lowering life expectancy for communities of color, and ultimately degrading all of our public goods. We know that government policy and practice, at all levels, has played a foundational role in creating and sustaining these outcomes.
A challenge of this nature cannot be met with one intervention, one curriculum, or one training, or through one agency. A one size fits all solution is simply not possible. Adequately addressing a problem of this magnitude requires an effective social impact network.
Networks like ours are a force amplifier, they create opportunities for an intervention in one place to have a ripple effect in another. They are fertile ground for developing and sharing emerging solutions that can be distributed, adapted, and re-applied across a variety of contexts. They are spaces where practitioners and changemakers can share information, build alignment, and ultimately create innovative strategies so that the everyday mechanics of government transform to play a foundational role in ensuring that all families and communities live long, healthy, and joyful lives, no matter their race or class.
We started by listening.
We are incredibly grateful to all who have engaged in GARE’s program re-design process. We heard from more than 750 people about the power of the GARE movement, through 14 field scan interviews, 732 survey respondents, and one-on-one and focus group conversations with 19 leading racial equity practitioners in our GARE community. Key findings and insights that are guiding phase one of our program re-design and implementation process follow.
GARE’s key strength is that it is the largest network of government employees working on racial equity, with a significant history of work and success through a clear, compelling, and credible framework supported by principles and practices in a government context.
GARE would be even stronger if we invested more deeply in: (1) Staffing and systems (2) Different engagement opportunities for seasoned racial equity practitioners in government and emerging racial equity leaders in government (3) New and curated content, tools, and resources (4) Opportunities for peer-to-peer relationships to form around function, geography, issue or other areas of interest.
What to expect from the GARE program re-design?
- Network-centric programming creating more opportunities for peer-to-peer connection and exchange
- *New* dedicated resources and opportunities for network innovation and transformative work that results in new tools and resources for the network.
- More staff and operations capacity, who will update and facilitate the creation of new network infrastructure, resources, and programs.
What is changing?
- GARE will offer distinct programming and engagement opportunities for seasoned racial equity practitioners working in government, as well as opportunities for peer-to-peer relationships to form by thematic and/or functional clusters.
- GARE is converting its signature workshop series into a self-paced online capacity building program to reach more government employees. Our initial effort will bring “Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government” as an interactive resource that includes video, audio, quizzes, recorded presentations, a personal learning journal, and an online peer-to-peer learning community.
- GARE is partnering with Race Forward for “Governing for Racial Equity” to deliver some of GARE’s curriculum in an online live training session with facilitators for those seeking shared capacity building experience.
- GARE staff is growing, and staff roles and responsibilities are now organized primarily around function, rather than region.
Where are we now? When will we be “done” with the GARE program re-design?
The future is now! We have made great progress by defining our network-centricity as our strategic priority. We are currently staffing up so that we can implement this ambitious new vision more fully, and we have already reorganized the existing GARE staff and hired some new staff (who we will introduce in the coming weeks!) Even as we transition and grow, we are making new strides like…
- Piloting the self-paced online learning program, “Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government” for government employees who want to advance racial equity
- Hiring and onboarding staff for GARE’s transformative strategies work
- Updating our network engagement, convening and programming strategy, including identifying engagement clusters
- Redesigning our online GARE network portal to facilitate peer-to-peer connections and make sharing and finding resources even easier!
- Auditing our communications infrastructure and building out a staffing plan to meet the needs of our growing network
Change does not happen in a straight line. We will continue to pilot new initiatives, listen, learn and grow over the coming months. Please stay tuned for more updates, and allow time for our (still) small, yet mighty team to respond to inquiries.
We thank you in advance for your continued commitment to GARE and the broader movement for advancing racial equity within government.