Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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

Prosper Strategies is committed to doing our part to end racism and advance equity.

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. 

Over the last several years, we have:

 

  • Expanded our network of BIPOC partner firms, freelancers and contractors and worked together with several of them on a range of nonprofit projects, all of which have benefited greatly from their perspectives and expertise. If you’re interested in partnering, email hello@prosper-strategies.com. We’d love to meet you.
  • 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.
  • Donated to a variety of organizations doing community-led work to advance equity, including and outside of our clients
  •  Codified an equity-centric 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™)

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

Read on to learn more about our principles and current focus initiatives below. As a white-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 and inclusion agenda that responds directly to the voices of people of color, LGBTQ+ folx and people living with disabilities 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 value, respect and elevate diversity in its many forms:

Race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical and mental ability, genetic characteristic, military or veteran status, and more. Diverse perspectives lead to better outcomes for our company, our clients, our communities and our society. In our recruiting practices, we seek to bring diverse candidates to the table, and in our talent engagement and retention practices, we seek to create as many opportunities as possible for all people to grow and thrive.

We foster an inclusive environment.

In order to co-create with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we seek and foster an inclusive, collaborative, welcoming and mutually respectful environment for all. Prosper Strategies is a place where all team members can participate in decisionmaking, contribute meaningfully to our mission and reach their full potential while being true to themselves.

We engage the communities our work aims to help and stand in solidarity with them.

In our engagements with our nonprofit clients, we acknowledge and celebrate the power of lived experience and community-led change. We seek to engage the diverse communities and individuals our nonprofit clients serve in the work we do together. When we work with a nonprofit client to develop a new brand, develop a strategic plan, or launch a campaign that work almost always exists to help a community or group of individuals overcome or cope with a challenge they are experiencing or have experienced, from homelessness, to hunger, to sexual abuse. With this in mind, whenever possible and appropriate, we aim to engage those who have lived experience with the challenge we are working to address, create space for their insights, feedback and guidance, and support them as they lead change in their own communities. We strive to work in partnership with our nonprofit clients and the people they serve to bring community and stakeholder-specific context to our work and address the root causes of systemic inequity. In 2022, we formailzed this approach with the launch of our Shared Power Strategy™ philosophy, which guides all of our work at Prosper Strategies.

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 underserved, and as a result of this oppression, face significant barriers to opportunity of all kinds. A few examples of our practices aimed to advance equity include:

  • We have a formal interviewing process for all open positions that includes scoring and blind applications
  • We schedule meetings, social gatherings and other group activities at times, locations and in formats that minimize disadvantages
  • We practice core hours to make working at Prosper accessible to those with a variety of family structures and outside commitments
  • We are establishing an inclusive family leave program
  • We have created ongoing, inclusive education programs for staff and our community of stakeholders on equity, diversity and inclusion

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 and inclusion. However, we will strive for continuous growth in these areas, measure 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.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Priorities

In addition to the steps we have taken in recent months to become an actively anti-racist organization that centers equity in our work, our current priorities in alignment with the principles above include: 

  • 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 list goes on) and look forward to continuing to deepen this focus.
  • Continually improving our recruitment and advancement processes to make them more inclusive and equitable. For example, we have introduced a blind audition process to evaluate prospective contractors’ and employees’ job skills outside of the context of their resume or identity, and are working to foster relationships with community organizations and HBCUs that will help us build a more diverse talent pipeline. We know we can do better and have a long way to go in living our commitment to EDI through the makeup of our team and the network of contractors and consultants we partner with.
  • Reading and discussing the work of thought leaders like Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist), Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me).

We’re eager to discuss our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion with you and look forward to your feedback.

Whether you’re a career seeker, prospective client, or just a member of our community or sector, please get in touch to continue this important conversation with us.