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Racial & Intersectional Equity

Racial and Intersectional Equity (RISE) is a core service at Converge. We developed an assessment, training and implementation development process that is rooted in our values. Converge supports organizations, public agencies, corporations and foundations seeking to deepen their organizational knowledge and commitment to Racial and Intersectional Equity.

We conduct in-depth organizational assessments to facilitate the creation of customized Racial and Intersectional Equity organizational commitments and measurable action plans. We provide customized training and curriculum, as well as coaching and strategy development to support implementation.

Case Studies

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning at Converge seeks to operationalize the elements described in our approach and methodology. This process involves three phases: (1) Research & Discovery, (2) Vision-Building Retreat and (3) Strategic Plan Development. A key element of the strategic planning process is the creation of a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) composed of staff, board members and potentially also key organizational partners. Referenced in our approach, one of our first tasks with the SPC is to identify the definitions for success for both the planning process and the final strategic plan.

Though Converge is an expert in our strategic planning process, we recognize the SPC as the experts of the organization and seek to engage the SPC for guidance and thought partnership throughout the process. Converge provides strategy coaching to CEOs, Executive Directors and senior staff. Each strategy coaching engagement is customized based on specific needs. It can be structured around a particular outcome or based on an on-going strategy thought-partnership agreement.

Case Studies

Board Development

Board development has been one of our key organizational development services at Converge. We help design clients’ organizational governance structure so that aboard not only undertakes their role more effectively but integrates the lens of racial equity into its functioning. Examples include clients’ requests to create or re-design the infrastructure and culture of nonprofit or philanthropic organization’s boards.

There are also needs to design and build a racial equity and inclusion committee. More specifically, this committee operationalizes the organization’s Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) framework. Its duties include (1) monitoring application of REI in internal decisions about resources including vendors, pay and benefits, leadership development, hiring and board development, (2) conducting REI impact assessments for external work including program areas, partner relationships, advocacy strategies, and legal strategies, and (3) advising the Board’s annual work plan.

Case Studies

Convening Development

Converge facilitates strategic collaboration and builds values-centered leaders to mobilize action. We do so through the creation and implementation of large single or multi-day in-person/virtual convenings, retreats, team-building sessions, workshops and training. Converge-facilitated convenings help clients engage with local communities through deep listening, real-time learning, and two-way conversations. Our convening service also helps clients build up their network by connecting with key stakeholders in the field of racial justice. 

Our convening portfolio includes, for example, quarterly philanthropic convening for the Greater New Orleans Funders Network, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Southern Collective convening, AMA’s Release the Pressure campaign, and Louisianians for Reproductive Freedom.

Case Studies

Custom Initiatives

This is the most customized one among all service lines at Converge. It is built on all preceding practices and may have overlapping pieces with service lines such as R.I.S.E., strategic planning, board development, convening development, etc. Custom initiatives blend a variety of these services and tools. 

Custom initiatives projects often include policy campaigns, public issues campaigns, fund development and planning, etc. Depending on the purpose of the initiative, Converge staff co-create with client leads on the overall goals, staffing, strategies, and implementation. Converge provides ongoing project management that supports each of the step.

Case Studies

Coalition Management

Our coalition development projects often involve multiple organizations and partners of interest, and the goal is to form shared goals and strategies. The overall expectation for such projects is to create a container or space for multiple organizations to build an agenda and governance structure for the purpose of achieving a certain collective interest. 

Converge facilitators can skillfully and masterfully create a “third space” for multiple organizations and facilitate the conversation by emphasizing that all players at this table are equals. Our past clients under the service category of coalition management include the Greater New Orleans Funders Network, the American Medical Association’s Release the Pressure Campaign and the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.

Case Studies

Landscape Scan Research

Converge uses a landscape scan method to better understand a certain social justice infrastructure for the purpose of strengthening it. This “landscape” or “field” can be a geographical one or a particular area. We use this tool to identify the needs, opportunities and gaps as well as to guide strategies and decisions. Depending on the project, research methods include surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.

Mapping the social justice infrastructure includes addressing this first research question: (1) Who are current and emerging key players in the landscape by state, (2) what do we know about the leadership, scope and reach of these key players, (2) what are the relationships between these players and the context of that relationship, (3) what existing literature and reports already map and/or analyze components of the social justice infrastructure, and (4) what is the context of doing work in this area.

Case Studies

Learning Community Design

The purpose of a learning community is for participants (usually grantees) to (1) be aligned with a shared understanding of racial and intersectional equity values, (2) to learn best practices from each other, and (3) to explore opportunities of cross-organizational collaboration. It allows participants to harness the value and power of peer-to-peer support through the organic formation of peer learning circles.

Case Studies

Program Evaluation Research

Converge’s program evaluation is a research-based service line that uses equity-focused, culturally responsive and mixed methods data collection to assess and determine whether a client’s programming has met its intended outcomes. We use evaluation data to inform the client team’s future planning, implementation, and sustainability.

Case Studies

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Client Testimonials

The team was responsive and flexible in meeting the needs of the collaborative. You kept us moving, synthesized information, and shared living document for everyone to keep adding to.

— Trauma Informed School Learning Collaborative

Hilary and Celeste were very communicative and responsive and they worked hard to learn more and adjust to meet the needs of the project and the strengths of the CPRL team.

— Center for Public Research and Leadership, Columbia University
Your ability to actively listen to each of us and move us forward collectively was remarkable.
— Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
The individual team members make up a great group to work with in addition to the magic that happens when they’re all working together in the same meeting. Really nice synergy.
— Vera Institute New Orleans
Converge was one of very few wholly committed to racial equity work. You provided the greatest flexibility to meet STRIVE at its early phases in this journey but was honest that this process would not be easy. We could not do this work with credibility in the George Floyd era without listening and being guided by an organization led by Black and Brown women. The Converge team was both accommodating and flexible during periods of uncertainty and difficulty. They always empowered the committee and leadership staff to make decisions based on what’s best for the organization. Converge also went above and beyond with its coaching to leadership staff, guiding this work for most of this engagement. Converge remained fully committed to the success of this engagement while building capacity for its leadership staff.
Converge delivered exactly the kind of assessment and perspective of the landscape we were hoping to see. They have deep knowledge of the Southern ecosystem and aligned the orientation to who needed to be uplifted in the landscape scan.
— Blue Meridian Partners
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