Catalyzing Racial Justice

aka Race Forward   |   Washington, DC   |


Race Forward catalyzes racial justice movement building. We build strategies in partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

Ruling year info



Glenn Harris

Main address

PO Box 96353

Washington, DC 20090-6353 USA

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Formerly known as

Applied Research Center

Center for Social Inclusion



NTEE code info

Minority Rights (R22)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (R05)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Race Forward: 1) works with community groups, government, and national organizations to develop and implement policy ideas; 2) builds leadership capacity through multi-racial coalition building, convenings, leadership development, and trainings; 3) develops and share tools to advance narrative and cultural power, narrative and cultural equity, and narrative and cultural justice for communities of color; and 4) develops and implement institutional and sectoral change strategies to operationalize structural racial equity.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


Race Forward’s Institutional and Sectoral Change Department seeks to establish racial equity practice in an entire field (rather than organization by organization) on a long-term basis. The work includes facilitating Learning Cohorts in these sectors, developing tools for long-term change, and tracking the shifts through case studies and blogs that demonstrate their applicability. This Department has three major programmatic areas.

• The Governmental Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). The primary focus of our institutional and sectoral change strategy continues to be with local government, via the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). The GARE network has grown from 55 members in November 2017 to nearly 75 in March 2018 and exceeded 191 members at in December of 2019. GARE is represented in 28 states, two Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia.

• Philanthropic Change. The Philanthropic Change Initiative considers our efforts to develop a teachable narrative that promotes a racial justice frame for equitable practices in philanthropy, and to scale this narrative for potential adoption throughout the entire philanthropic sector.

• Racial Equity Training and Capacity Building. Race Forward provides a range of training and scheduled educational programs, ranging from single-day explorations of structural racism to multi-month Cohorts where groups of organizations develop specific programs (known as Racial Equity Action Plans ) to advance racial equity.

Population(s) Served

Our Narrative, Arts, and Culture Department works strategically in and through journalism, communications, the arts, popular culture, and cultural organizing to build and secure a culture that centers equity and justice for all. This Department has three major programmatic areas.

• Colorlines. Colorlines advances the stories that are important for all interested in racial and cultural equity and justice. The platform reaches 300,000 people monthly, bringing our readers news, criticism, and analysis to the racial justice movement.

• Strategic Communications. This program area lifts up and advances our research, training, and collective work through transformative messages, stories, and narratives that advance equity and justice in our communities and our world.

• Narrative and Cultural Strategies. This program establishes and advances common language and best practices to advance equity and justice in the arts and cultural sectors, and develops and advances narrative and cultural strategy across sectors and the movement as a whole. Featured efforts narrative change efforts include:

o The Arts Lab, which provides training to improve racial equity in the performing arts;
o The Immigrant Futures Lab, which is working to advance an immigrant and migrant justice narrative system with a robust infrastructure and vibrant ecosystem to challenge the domination of anti-immigrant narratives; and
o The Housing Narrative Change Initiative, which works to center the deep experiences of frontline communities and build power for narratives that lift up the value of safe, affordable, and secure housing.

Population(s) Served

The Movement and Capacity Building Department builds leadership and capacity within the racial justice movement for grassroots organizations and other institutions to advance racial equity on a national scale. This Department has three major programmatic areas.

• Movement Building and Leadership Development. Race Forward believes that a strong movement for racial justice requires that communities and institutions across multiple sectors of society -- government, philanthropy, and nonprofits -- must operationalize racial equity in their policies, practices, programs, and procedures. We are in the midst of developing a dedicated Leadership Development program that will train a Cohort composed of the leadership of communities of color in a multi-sector movement building space, helping them to collectively develop a comprehensive approach for advancing racial justice in their communities.

• “Race and…” Presentations and Webinars. The “Race And…” presentations and webinars were part of a special series that explores the many ways that race compounds and intersects with all the other issues faced by people of color. These presentations are prepared and released as opportunities present themselves.

• Policy. Policy work, previously housed in their own Department in Race Forward, has been shifted to Movement and Capacity Building in recognition of the importance of our issue-based work in supporting grassroots leadership development movement building. The policy programmatic work has centered on three areas of effort:

○ Energy Democracy, in which we use a racial equity lens and analysis in renewable energy policy and planning. We are the lead national organization coordinating 100% Cities;
○ The Built Environment, in which the structural racism element in the physical structures that surround our lives (e.g., housing, transportation, and education) are addressed in cooperation with community-based cohorts and other regional stakeholders by promoting relationship building, facilitating capacity building, and providing technical assistance to address a range of built environment issue areas; and
○ Food Equity, in which Race Forward provides food security research and materials and supports community organizations dealing with food security issues. We spent the majority of 2019 attending partner convenings, continuing to deepen relationships with existing partners, and connecting allies in the food equity movement to our connections in GARE.

Population(s) Served

Applied Research provides analysis and materials to help activists, teachers, advocates, and government officials articulate and pursue racial equity standards in their work. It also provides assistance to external partners with which we interact, helping them to assess the effectiveness of their own initiatives and the consistency of their own internal operations. This Department has two major programmatic areas.

• Specific Programmatic Research. The Research Department supports a range of investigations into the specific programmatic objectives of Race Forward and its partners. One current programmatic research effort is the Racial Equity Survey to which over 50,000 government employees working for jurisdictions that are members of GARE are expected to respond. The results of this survey will help Race Forward track and monitor racially equity improvements across time and across jurisdictions for evaluative, descriptive, and potentially predictive purposes.

• Impact Planning and Evaluation. Our research work focuses not only on external projects, but also on assessing and evaluating the impact of Race Forward’s own work. We have redefined the role of one of our team members to increase our capacity for impact planning and evaluation and are developing processes to standardize our evaluation efforts.

Population(s) Served

Race Forward has three cross-departmental priorities.

• Facing Race Conference. Facing Race is a multi-racial, multi-issue, intergenerational conference that highlights campaigns, projects, research and art that promotes systemic solutions to racial justice challenges. The Conference is held biannually and will next take place in November 2020 in Raleigh, NC.

• Place-Based Strategies. Race Forward’s approach to place-based work takes the components of our Theory of Change and situates them within the unique social and political context of a particular geographic location. This allows the creation of highly effective, highly localized spaces where people come together across issue areas and sectors to develop long-term strategies that shift power and resources to indigenous communities and communities of color.

• Mass Freedom. Criminalization encompasses the institutional attitudes and rules that build the systemic racism that results in people being caged physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, reducing them to criminals without the right to dictate their own lived experiences. Mass Freedom confronts mass incarceration and mass deportation by mobilizing multiracial systemic solutions against the carceral state. It uses a place-based approach to develop region-specific approaches, organizing on a national level and amplified by FRED Talks (educational, inspirational, and motivational presentations by people directly engaged in or affected by the efforts to achieve racial equity). The work is supported by Shattered Families, a field-level research effort into methodologies to increase the humanity and reduce the trauma associated with family separations that can take place during immigration case reviews.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    internal time/capacity



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 02/20/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Christi Tran

Senior Adviser, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

LeeAnn Hall

Northwest Federation of Community Organizations

Sharda Sekaran

Drug Policy Alliance

Lori Bezahler

Edward Hazen Foundation

Ron Shiffman

Graduate Center for Planning, Pratt Institute

Ramon Ramirez

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste

Kavitha Mediratta

Executive Director. Atlantic Fellows for Racial Justice

Christi Tran

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Kevin Allis

National Congress of American Indians

Gary Delgado


Rodney Foxworth

Common Future

Richard Kim

Huffington Post

Aletha Maybank

American Medical Association

Ralph Remington

Director of Cultural Affairs, San Francisco Arts Commission

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

Building Movement Project

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/29/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/07/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.