Who We Are

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

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 and inclusion 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.

Over the last several 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 network of BIPOC partner consultants, 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

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 practices 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 for both our partner consultants and contractors, we seek to bring diverse candidates to the table, and in our partner engagement and retention practices, we seek to create as many opportunities as possible for all people to grow and thrive as they work with us at Prosper Strategies.

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 and every partner we work with can participate in decision making, 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. We’ve even codified this approach through the development of our industry-leading Shared Power StrategyTM philosophy.

When we work with a nonprofit client to create a new brand, develop a strategic plan, or launch a campaign, that work almost always exists to help a community or group of individuals cope with a challenge they are experiencing, 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 addition to the people and communities a nonprofit serves, we also engage other stakeholders such as donors, funders, partners, families and more in our strategy process, which results in more inclusive and effective 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 built up an extensive network of contractors, freelancers and consultants who identify as people of color, women or LGBTQ+, and prioritize partnering with folx in that network whenever opportunities arise
  • We schedule events, social gatherings and activities at times, locations and in formats that minimize disadvantages
  • We have created ongoing, inclusive education programs for 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

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

  • 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.
  • Creating opportunities for people of color to work on our team and partner with Prosper Strategies as consultants on a wide variety of projects, and referring work to those folx whenever possible.

Let’s talk

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