Who We Are

Our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Prosper Strategies is working to make nonprofit strategy more inclusive, while taking action to end racism and advance equity.

This page is intended to define and explore our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging for our team and the clients we serve.

Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Their senseless murders and many others have put a spotlight on the racism and injustice that has long plagued our country. Standing in solidarity is not enough, and we’re committed to taking action.

In recent years, we have:

  • Codified an inclusive philosophy for how strategy work should be done in the nonprofit sector, and used it to guide all of our projects and client engagements (see: Shared Power Strategy™)
  • Expanded our team to include many experts who identify as people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ and folx who have a wide range of different backgrounds, and lived/living experiences
  • Evolved the way we staff our projects to ensure each project involves consultants with both relevant expertise and lived experience
  • Hosted important conversations about equity in the nonprofit sector through webinars, articles, stakeholder conversations and more. Topics we’ve addressed include strength-based messaging, equity communications, avoiding stereotypes, engaging diverse stakeholder perspectives in the development of your nonprofit’s brand and more.
  • Incorporated trauma-informed approaches into our facilitation and stakeholder engagement work
  • Worked closely with employee groups like Black employee caucuses and employee equity committees to shape and execute stakeholder engagement approaches in our strategy work
  • Donated to a variety of organizations doing community-led work to advance equity, including and outside of our clients base

Our work doesn’t stop here. We know these efforts are miniscule in the face of the massive challenges of systemic racism and inequities. We can and will do more.

Read on to learn more about our principles and practices below. As a white women-led firm, we know we have blind spots and biases, and we welcome your feedback. We look forward to continuing to co-create an action-oriented equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging agenda that responds directly to the voices of people of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, people living with disabilities, and other historically marginalized people across the nonprofit sector. To provide feedback or start a discussion on this important topic, please contact us at hello@prosper-strategies.com.

Guiding Principles

We help nonprofits share the power to shape their strategies with their stakeholders, especially the people and communities they serve.

At Prosper Strategies, we believe that inclusion and equity can’t be realize when nonprofit staff and board members sit in a closed room developing their plans and strategies. These aims can only be reached when nonprofits share the power to shape their strategies with their many diverse stakeholders, most importantly, the people and communities they serve. We’ve codified this belief through the development of our industry-leading Shared Power StrategyTM philosophy. This philosophy shapes every project we engage in at Prosper Strategies, and it’s one of the key ways we’re working every day to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in the nonprofit sector.

We engage diverse consultants and build project teams that emphasize expertise and lived experience.

Prosper’s principals Alyssa Conrardy and Lindsay Mullen are conscious of their limitations and blind spots as white women with a certain set of lived experiences. We have spent the last 10 years fostering relationships with a diverse and inclusive group of consultants and experts who we partner with often on projects ranging from strength-based communication to strategic planning. For each project, we first evaluate the various stakeholders who will need to be involved in the work, from program participants to parents. Then, we aim to build out a project team that has the right expertise for the work, and the identities and lived experiences that align with those of the stakeholders who will need to be engaged. Learn more about our team here.

We foster an inclusive environment and work to create safe spaces where everyone we engage through our work feels a sense of belonging.

In order to co-create with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we seek and foster an inclusive, collaborative, mutually respectful environment for all, where people feel safe to be their true selves. This aim applies to both our workplace environment, and to the environment we create whenever we engage with a nonprofit organization and its stakeholders.

When it comes to our client work, we aim to create safe and brave spaces for collaboration and stakeholder engagement by utilizing trauma-informed facilitation approaches, group agreements, close collaboration with racial and other identity-focused employee affinity groups, intentional team design and more.

When it comes to our work environment, we aim to build a culture where every partner we work with can participate in decision making, contribute meaningfully to our mission and reach their full potential in their work with Prosper while being true to themselves.

We aim for equity in all that we do.

We recognize that every individual doesn’t start from the same place because advantages and barriers exist, and systemic racism and oppression are everywhere. In order to direct resources and opportunities where they are needed most, we seek to question and address the structures designed to deliberately disadvantage some groups, particularly Black Americans. We take overt action to reach, engage and include people who are and historically have been oppressed and marginalized, and as a result, face significant barriers to opportunity of all kinds.

We strive for continuous improvement and share our progress.

Our work will never be “done” in our quest to improve our efforts around equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. However, we will strive for continuous growth in these areas, assess our progress, communicate openly and honestly about the work we’re doing to improve, and welcome feedback from any and all individuals interested in or impacted by our work. Please email hello@prosper-strategies.com to start a conversation.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Priorities

Here are several of the things we’re prioritizing right now to bring these principles to life.

  • Creating opportunities for individuals who have diverse lived experiences and who identify as people of color, women LGBTQIA+, etc. to partner with Prosper Strategies as consultants, and referring work to them directly whenever possible.
  • Making information about Shared Power StrategyTM accessible to all so that this approach to more inclusive stakeholder engagement can truly begin to take hold in the nonprofit sector.
  • Attending trainings on trauma-informed facilitation and equity-focused leadership.
  • Redirecting our corporate giving to anti-racism organizations in Chicago, where we’re headquartered, and encouraging other Chicago companies to join us. A list of ideas for places to give can be found here.
  • Doubling down our commitment to focus our client partnerships on nonprofits that are advancing racial justice and addressing inequities head-on. We are already proud to partner with so many of these organizations (United Way of Metro Chicago, Peer Health Exchange, iMentor Chicago, Comer Education Campus, Ignite, The Muhammad Ali Center…the list goes on) and look forward to continuing to deepen this focus.

Let’s talk

Are you interested in discussing our approach to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging? Get in touch.