For nearly 50 years, we have pursued a nonpartisan mission of building evidence to improve policy and practice in the service of people from low-income backgrounds. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are integral values at MDRC, both in our research and in the management of our organization.
We are committed to incorporating stronger equity-based and culturally responsive approaches in our research and technical assistance, sharing what we learn about new methods and practices with our colleagues, strengthening the diversity of our field, and building a more diverse and inclusive organization at MDRC.
Strengthening Our Organization
Building and Supporting a Diverse Staff
To advance our mission, we recruit and retain staff who encompass a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, strive for equity in our policies and practices, and create a culture of inclusion, in which all of our staff feel welcome and valued. As researchers, we also know that careful measurement is fundamental to tracking change and being accountable for results. Since 2018, we have published the gender and racial/ethnic composition of our staff and (since 2019) of our Board of Directors.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advocacy Council
Our staff-led Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advocacy Council (JEDI AC) was created in 1998 to raise awareness about, advocate for, and celebrate diversity at MDRC and to advocate for equity in the workplace. The JEDI AC organizes events, trainings, facilitated conversations, and written communications about diversity, equity, and cultural competency throughout all areas of MDRC’s work.
Established in 2007, MDRC’s Mentoring Program seeks to enhance the professional development of staff by improving their understanding of MDRC’s mission and organizational culture, increasing their access to advice about career growth, and promoting inclusion. Last year, nearly 40 percent of staff members participated in the Mentoring Program.
MDRC hosts more than a dozen Affinity Groups, which bring staff members together voluntarily based on shared interests and life experiences. Current Affinity Groups include the Anti-Racism Affinity Group, Criminal Justice Affinity Group, Queer Affinity Group, Women of Color in Tech Affinity Group, affinity groups for parents and for caregivers, and groups for sport enthusiasts, fiction fans, and data scientists.
Strengthening Our Work and the Larger Field
Even as we build a stronger, more diverse workplace, we are also focused on improving the DEI focus in our research and technical assistance—and in creating career pathways in our field for individuals from underrepresented communities.
MDRC’s Equity Collaborative
MDRC’s Equity Collaborative was created to integrate perspectives of diversity, equity, and inclusion more fully in our work with program operators, practitioners, and research participants. For example, the Collaborative has developed guidance on using culturally responsive research practices, including the perspectives of participants in study design, and using metrics and analytic tools that focus on equitable outcomes. MDRC’s Equity Collaborative includes staff from across our policy areas and centers.
Resources for Promoting Equity, Inclusion, and Cultural Responsiveness
Gueron Scholars Program
The Gueron Scholars Program is developing a diverse recruitment pool for MDRC and the education and social policy research field by offering paid internships and fellowships to emerging scholars from groups underrepresented in policy research. Since 2009, the Gueron Scholars Program has hosted 21 undergraduate interns, 9 master’s-level interns, and 20 doctoral fellows.
The Evidence and Equity Collaborative
MDRC is a founding member of the Evidence and Equity Collaborative, a group of nine leading policy research organizations working to support diversity in their workplaces, strengthen inclusive practices in programs and policy research, and build a foundation for equitable analysis ready to inform systems, policies, and programs across the nation.