Our Approach

Why race & government 

Racial inequities continue to be deep, pervasive and persistent across all indicators for success, regardless of region. Deeply racialized systems are costly and depress life outcomes for all groups. Systems that fail communities of color first and hardest, fail all of us.  

Government at the local, regional, state and federal levels have played key roles in creating and maintaining these racial inequities. Government officials have passed a wide range of laws and policies, including everything from who could vote, who could be a citizen, who could own property, where one could live and more. The legacy of these decisions is still seen today.  

Many current inequities are sustained by historical legacies and structures and systems that repeat patterns of exclusion. Consider how schools are funded and the relationship of racial and economic segregation in housing. Systems and structures create and perpetuate resource and opportunity gaps that show up as achievement gaps. With the Civil Rights Movement, laws and policies were passed that helped to create positive changes, including dealing with explicit acts of discrimination. Despite progress in addressing explicit discrimination, racial inequities continue to be deep, pervasive and persistent across the country, regardless of region. To get to a future of shared prosperity, we must address implicit racism that is baked into policies, practices, and procedures that continue to perpetuate racial inequities. 

Proactively reimagining the role of race & governance

We envision governments that embody their role, responsibility and promise to create and steward the conditions – our shared infrastructure and public goods – that result in long, healthy, joyful lives.  

A Network Dedicated to Building a Bigger We

Enacting racial equity work in government is not a one-size fits all approach. With any organizational change initiative, there will be challenges, and having a network of like-minded peers -- other racial equity practitioners who are committed to advancing racial equity in government – is critical.  

The GARE network comes together to listen, learn, apply and innovate the GARE Approach. Networks like ours are a force multiplier, they create opportunities for an intervention in one place to have a ripple effect in another. They are fertile ground for developing and sharing solutions that can be distributed, adapted, and re-applied across a variety of contexts.  

Networks like ours co-create opportunities to share information, build alignment, and share lessons learned. They create the opportunities to build and deepen relationships, develop trust and care, and co-create new and relevant tools and resources for the field, so that the generational work of embedding racial equity into our public institutions grows and deepens. 

GARE Approach

The GARE Approach is an organizational change model for achieving racial equity in government. The GARE approach recognizes that to achieve racial equity, we must be able to visualize and describe a racially just community and society, normalize the concepts of racial equity and our ability to talk about them; organize staff, leadership, and communities to act; and operational these values into concrete policies, practices and procedures that are measurable.  


The challenge of our time is to be able to create a shared vision of a racially equitable democracy that captures the imagination and harnesses the will of the American people. The defining values of justice and equality have largely been aspirational when we consider the historic role of government in enforcing laws that created racial inequity in our economy, civic society, education, health and housing sectors. Leaders who embrace this challenge are needed within every institution and especially government.  

It's important to develop a vision with communities most negatively impacted by racial inequities. What would it look and feel like when our communities are no longer experiencing racial inequities, when ALL people are thriving with purpose and power? 


Utilize a racial equity framework 

Jurisdictions need to use a racial equity framework that clearly names the history of government in creating and maintaining racial inequities, envisions and operationalizes a new role, and utilizes clear and easily understood definitions of racial equity and inequity. It is critical to develop a shared understanding of the key definitions that allow us to talk about race and develop an analysis of racial inequities. This shared analysis will allow us to act with urgency to address racial inequities and prioritize racially equitable solutions. 

Prioritize Racial Equity and Act with Urgency 

Despite the belief that change is hard and takes time, we have seen repeatedly that when racial equity is an urgently felt priority, change can be embraced and take place quickly. We must normalize the practice of prioritizing racial equity in our everyday work in government. Collectively, we must create greater urgency and public will to achieve racial equity. 


Partner with Institutions and Communities 

To achieve racial equity, local and regional governments must work both internally and externally with a network of partners - ranging from jurisdiction departments/bureaus/offices to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, businesses, and philanthropic foundations. Most importantly, government must partner with, and center, racial equity work with communities of color. 


Implement Racial Equity Tools 

Racial inequities are not random—they have been created and sustained over time. Inequities will not disappear on their own. Tools must be used to change the policies, practices, and procedures that are perpetuating inequities and contribute to the development of new policies and programs. 

Be data-driven 

Measurement must take place at two levels: first, to develop baselines, set goals, and measure progress toward community goals, and second, to measure the success of specific programmatic and policy changes.