MDRC employees engaged in discussion

Teacher assisting young students

MDRC’s work is increasingly incorporating stronger equity-based and culturally responsive approaches into our research and technical assistance. Launched in 2018, MDRC’s Equity Collaborative was created to integrate perspectives of diversity, equity, and inclusion more fully into our work with program operators, practitioners, and research participants. Led by the Equity Collaborative, staff members across MDRC’s policy areas and centers contribute to MDRC’s goal of advancing equity by:

  • developing guidance to infuse equity-informed and culturally responsive practices into all stages of MDRC’s research projects;
  • bringing more empathy and humility to our approach to our work, recognizing that we will be learning along the way;
  • helping amplify the voices of people inside and outside MDRC with lived experience in the social policy issues that MDRC addresses; and
  • creating tools and resources that can help MDRC staff members and the broader social policy research and technical assistance fields employ stronger equity-based and culturally responsive practices.

The Equity Collaborative works to infuse the thoughtful and systematic application of culturally responsive, equity-based, and inclusive practices into all of MDRC’s research and technical assistance projects. In the spirit of sharing what we are learning, we are making publicly available the tools, resources, and guidance materials MDRC is developing. We hope that our efforts will be useful to our colleagues in the social and education policy research field, as well as to the stakeholders who shape policy, programs, and practice. As we continue to collaborate and cultivate learning, we will update this page with additional materials and reflections.


Issue Focus
November 2023

MDRC is piloting a Council of Lived Experience Advisors to offer guidance to its Criminal Justice Research Center on goals, strategies, and project work. The council will be made up of lived experts who have firsthand experience interacting with the criminal justice system.

February 2022

CDI has collaborated with two of MDRC’s long-standing program partners, Per Scholas and the Center for Employment Opportunities, to create and implement tools that can more fully capture participants’ lived expertise. This brief summarizes lessons learned from these partnerships.

Issue Focus
July 2021

This paper, submitted in response to a request for information from the federal Office of Management and Budget, offers practical advice about assessing and reducing inequities in public service programs from MDRC’s experience partnering with federal, state, and local agencies.

Issue Focus
June 2021

MDRC’s Equity Collaborative has developed a set of guiding questions to help researchers incorporate culturally responsive practices and an equity-based perspective in all stages of an evaluation or technical assistance project.

Issue Focus
June 2021

MDRC’s Equity Collaborative has compiled examples of metrics, data displays, and analytic approaches to help fellow researchers more fully measure equity both as a condition and as an outcome in studies focused on education.