Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, equity has been central to the City’s governing approach. In 2015, the de Blasio Administration set out its vision for doing this in OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City. One of the four Visions in that plan was an “equity” vision, which declared that “New York City will have an inclusive, equitable economy that offers well-paying jobs and opportunities for all New Yorkers to live with dignity and security.” More recently, the New York City Council passed legislation that requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Administration for Children’s Services, and the Department of Social Services, and other city agencies to be designated by the Mayor to (1) conduct equity assessments, which examine their services and programs, employment, contracting, and budgets for disparities based on race, gender, income, and other population characteristics, and (2) develop and implement action plans to address any such disparities, and (3) for the three agencies named in the legislation, conduct employee training related to implicit bias based on race and gender.
The new equity legislation charges the Mayor’s Office of Operation with developing guidance for agency assessments and action plans. The Mayor’s Office of Operations includes a distinct unit, the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity). NYC Opportunity’s mission, since its founding 10 years ago, has been to use evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity. NYC Opportunity advances research, data, and design in the City’s program and policy development, service delivery, and budget decisions.
As the City moves forward to implement the new equity legislation, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, including through NYC Opportunity, will provide ongoing support, reviewing equity assessments and plans, and consulting with agencies on implementation. In addition to advising the agencies on their planning and implementation, Operations and NYC Opportunity will work with the City’s Deputy Mayors as they carry out their supervisory roles to ensure that equity-related goals receive appropriate priority.
Matthew Klein is Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity), and the Senior Advisor in the Mayor’s Office of Operations, where NYC Opportunity is housed. Matt oversees a portfolio of cross-agency initiatives focused on developing City-wide measures for opportunity and equity, bringing effective anti-poverty approaches to scale, and using technology and data to enhance the delivery of social services. Matt previously served as the Executive Director of Blue Ridge Foundation New York, one of the country’s first incubators of nonprofit organizations. While at Blue Ridge, Matt helped create and build 30 new social ventures that collectively grew to provide services to several hundred thousand clients each year with a combined budget of over $250 million. Matt, a graduate of Yale Law School, Yale College, and the Boston Public Schools, also serves as an adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business where he has taught courses on social venture investing and nonprofit management.