Update on BestPrep’s Racial Equity Commitment

In July 2020, BestPrep identified a list of action items to foster racial equity within our organization. Now, eight months later, we want to update you on our progress. Here are a few highlights on where we’re at.

The following are the action items the BestPrep team has identified to ensure we are an equitable and anti-racist organization.

  • We created the Racial Equity Committee (REC) comprised of five staff members from different areas and programs of BestPrep. We meet every other week to discuss progress on accomplishing the tasks below.
  • We are currently working on reviewing and developing more inclusive volunteer training practices to educate volunteers about the needs of our students, teachers, and schools. We’re accomplishing this with input from the BestPrep Board of Directors, representatives from the education and business community to ensure our training is intentional, inclusive, and effective.
  • We have enlisted the help of a Race Equity and Social Justice Consultant to review our program curriculum and promotional materials and provide modifications to ensure there is no unconscious biased language. We expect the review to be done by April. We will then incorporate those changes into our materials and curriculum.
  • We are working to establish a committee of students and recent alumni to review BestPrep program content. In April, we will research and meet with other organizations who have had success in establishing effective committees and begin recruiting members.
  • We are working to adjust existing classroom presentation materials to add components related to racial equity in the workplace. Once finished, we will identify a small committee to review our work in May, with the hopes that all presentations will be completed and ready for the start of the next school year.
  • We have identified diversity-based organizations, employee resource groups, and other community associations in hopes of building partnerships to share hiring and volunteer opportunities. If you know of a group that BestPrep should connect with, email Janae Olinger at jolinger@bestprep.org.
  • We are dedicated to broadening the types of companies we recruit volunteers from and will expand the number of small and medium-sized businesses participating in our programs. We are continuing to work with Meda, a local organization that provides business consulting and access to opportunities for minority entrepreneurs, to help connect us to organizations we could potentially partner with. We are also researching the types of organizations that we are lacking from our current volunteer pool.
  • We have enlisted the help of our HR Committee to review our onboarding materials and interview questions for potential new hires. They’re reviewing for biased and un-inclusive language that can be corrected. Once they review, we will implement their suggestions.
  • We continue to work towards a Volunteer Day, in which our staff will be given paid time off to volunteer with another organization to address a community need this fall.
  • We scheduled our first “Race and Racism” staff workshop scheduled for March 23 with a Race Equity and Social Justice Consultant. This workshop will help our staff build a shared understanding of foundational terms regarding race and equity. We will talk about the significance of understanding race in the context of equity work. We will examine the impact of race and racism on individual, organizational, and systemic levels.

As we continue down this path, we welcome your input and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to contact us or email info@bestprep.org.