REF Activities Update 2020

Our Commitment to Action

Fair Chance supports a network of small nonprofits, a majority of which are led by Black leaders, with three capacity-building programs to ensure these organizations are strong, sustainable, and effective resources in Washington, DC and Prince George’s County for years to come. Since our founding in 2002, we’ve provided capacity building support in the community and through the years began to recognize the role of structural racism and racial inequity in perpetuating poverty. In 2016, we began to intentionally develop an understanding of systemic racism and considering systemic issues as we design and deliver our work. Informed by a series of focus groups with stakeholders including community leaders and youth, we published our Racial Equity Framework (REF) in February of 2019. This is the document that guides Fair Chance’s racial equity journey.

The Framework was the outcome of over two years of deep reflection, critical conversations, and collaboration between our staff, board, partners, and the greater Fair Chance community. By using this Framework as a guide, it is our hope that we can contribute to building a racially equitable DC where every child succeeds: a city with high quality services for youth and families; where decision-making is inclusive and gives power to all voices; and that has policies that promote equity.

The recent protests and calls for racial justice brought forth a time and space for organizational reflection, reassessment, and action. We took the time to lean into our values and work with our community to inform our actions moving forward. In this time, we looked back on our racial equity journey thus far, identified short-term actions, and reaffirmed to doing our part for racial justice.

This work is ongoing and we cannot do this alone. The information shared below is part of our work directly connected with our REF and it is important to share these specific activities while striving for the entirety of our capacity building work implemented with a racial equity mindset and planned with a racial equity lens. As we continue our journey, we commit to sharing our progress and finding ways to engage our community as we strive for a racially equitable DC, region, and nation.

Resource Generator and Connector

Engage and educate donors and the public on the critical role that community-based nonprofits play in fostering a more equitable society for children and families


  • Facilitated 2 site visits with nonprofit partners to support meaningful connections with donors and supporters, resulting in a $5,000 donation to one organization.
  • Held annual Advisory Board Meeting and Fair Chance Fund Town Hall, which brought funders and POC nonprofit leaders together for relationship building and honest conversation while addressing the power dynamics that exist with philanthropic and small, POC-led nonprofits.
  • Educated foundations and the general public on the impact COVID-19 has on POC-led, small community-based nonprofits in our network
Share what we learn from our network of nonprofits with donors and foundations to encourage more equitable grantmaking practices.


Recruit a diverse workforce and maintain a culture and work environment where employees are respected and heard


  • Reached out to organizations representing POC to create a diverse candidate pool for the Fair Chance Board and staff
  • Included salary information for all job announcements.
  • Provided briefings to new staff on our values, racial equity journey and Racial Equity Framework and Plan.
  • Reviewed our HR policies to determine how to better support staff, particularly staff of color.
  • Care Days for Black staff in recognition of the disproportionate harm they experience in the world and emotional labor incurred at work

Continue to build a diverse staff and creating policies and practices to support our staff of color.


Use our voice and influence to change inequitable systems and promote and implement equitable practices


  • Attended trainings including: Connecting Racial Equity and Inclusion with Performance Measurement in Nonprofits, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s annual conference “Facing Power” and Privilege in Capacity Building,”
  • Recruited 4 new board members who identify as people of color; have expertise in nonprofit, and racial equity sectors,
  • Increased geographic representation on our board with members living in Prince George’s County & Ward 7.
  • Hired Building for Mission to conduct a racial equity audit of Fair Chance’s internal and external practices.
Use the findings from our racial equity audit to improve all of Fair Chance’s internal and programmatic policies and practices.

Capacity Builder

Strengthen the sustainability and performance of nonprofits in ways that increase their ability to address racial inequity


  • Revised partner agreement to inform partners to expect conversations about racial equity as a part of the Fair Chance partnership.
  • Hosted Executive Director Learning Community, “Recognizing Our Role: Leading in a Time of Protest,” after the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests in DC.

Continue to listen to our community and refine our programming to meet partner needs and foster racial equity.


Educate funders and policy makers about the important role of community-based nonprofits and support these organizations in advocating for themselves


  • Convened partners in December 2019 to set an advocacy agenda: advocate for out-of-school time (OST) funding and equitable funding and grant-making for small nonprofits
  • Used the e-forum to report on advocacy opportunities to sign petitions and testify as well as progress on the Nonprofit Fairness Reimbursement Act.
  • Engaged DC Councilmembers with visits to Wilson Building on OST funding, particularly for Ward 8 nonprofits and on the Nonprofit Fairness Act
  • Partnered with DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and now DC Action for Children and DC Fiscal Policy Institute to advocate for OST funding in the DC government budget.
  • Delivered written testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia’s Committee on Education in support of OST funding and to the Committee on Facilities and Procurement on behalf of the Nonprofit Fairness Reimbursement Act
  • Used e-Forum to report on advocacy opportunities to sign petitions and testify
  • Hosted Executive Director Learning Community: “The Power of Collective Voice” with DC Action for Children on advocating for DC government funding for out-of-school-time and summer programming
  • Educated foundation and government grant makers on challenges faced by our network of small nonprofits and encouraged funders to consider more flexible funding and equitable grant making practices.
Find opportunities to engage in advocacy alongside our partners.