Disrupting patterns of inequity
Project Timeframe: 2016-2019
Partner: United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Over the last several years, we noticed patterns in our research. Regardless of the community we worked with or the issue we tackled, the same insights around inequity emerged across dozens of projects. These pervasive themes not only highlighted our broken system through the eyes of individuals experiencing inequity but called for widespread change. We couldn’t ignore these “meta themes”…and we were inspired to act.
The first step to fixing a broken system is to start from the inside. We partnered with United Way of Greater Cincinnati, which invests in nearly 140 social service agencies in the region, to research these metathemes, develop a framework, and share what we learned so that we could begin to address these inequities.
Our research was deep. We developed a research methodology based on human-centered design and intersectional analysis. Then, we dove into insights from over 30 projects and 300 interviews. Our comprehensive insight database doubled as a prototype for an open-access archive of qualitative data.
“It’s deeply relevant. In a way, you are strumming my pain with your fingers. . .I just think is really exciting because it feels like we are trying to build a spaceship while we are driving a car. We are trying to model a different way of working for the field. . .this report helps us see better.”
Since the report’s initial release, dozens of grantmakers and organizations have used the metathemes to shift how they work.