Alliance for Racial Equity

Advancing Community Development by Confronting Racism

The Alliance is a coalition of community development organizations and practitioners dedicated to increasing racial equity with the leadership of the field.  The Alliance believes in addressing racism, as it is a principal issue within the community economic development history.  By focusing on increasing racial equity and access, we aim to foster positive work environments in which all employees are understood, recognized, valued and reach their full potential.

Our Vision of Community Development:

When the Alliance was formed, a broad group of stakeholders came together and articulated the following vision:

  • As organizations, we are dynamic, open, welcoming, supportive, and participatory.  We value, respect, and celebrate diversity.  We encourage open, two-way communication and embrace different leadership styles and perspectives.
  • All leaders within the community development movement (at the staff, board, and community levels) are committed, courageous, and supportive of diverse leadership.  As a whole, the leadership reflects the communities in which we work and builds an open, respectful relationship with the community.  Leaders actively recruit individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, races, and economic circumstances and set the tone for an inclusive, supportive organizational culture.
  • Leaders and others within the community development movement acknowledge the existence of race and racism in our organizations and our communities, and demonstrate the will and the commitment to addressing the issues.
  • Learning, teaching and mentoring are valued.  Community development organizations create ongoing opportunities for learning and growth among staff, board, and residents at all levels.  Current leaders demonstrate their commitment to learning by actively mentoring new leaders of color within the movement.
  • The community development field is well known and is a career of choice for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, races and economic circumstances.  There are clear paths for advancement and people understand the skills and competencies needed to advance in the community development field.

Alliance Initiatives:

Gatherings: The Alliance hosts events and forums held three times a year, to discuss issues in the community development field relating to advancing leaders of color; building anti-racist organizations and challenging institutionalized racism in our work. Past meetings have included dynamic panel discussions with leaders from the field and screenings of relevant DVD such as Race the Power of an Illusion and Unnatural Causes. Please contact if you would like to host an Alliance DVD viewing and Discussion.
Mentoring Program: The Mentoring Program is designed to promote and support a culture of learning and mentoring within the community development field.  The program enhances the preparation of mid to senior level professionals of color who demonstrate leadership potential, for advancement and growth into positions of leadership and authority, by facilitating effective and meaningful relationships between and amongst community development professionals. For more program information download the brochure to the right.
Recruitment Initiative: The Alliance Recruitment Initiative supports organizations to recruit, hire, retain and advance staff of color.  The Alliance developed a manual, Race in Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Advancement; as tool to support the field.  This effort evolved into workshops and Hiring Clinics, offered by the Mel King Institute.

Alliance Steering Committee Members:

  • Manisha Bewtra (MAPC)
  • Nicole Chandler (Urban Edge)
  • Jorge Colon (Allston Brighton CDC)
  • Valeska Daly (Upham's Corner Main Street)
  • Aida Franquiz (Boston Private Bank)
  • Rebekah Gewirtz (Mass. Public Health Association)
  • Janet Grogan (Consultant)
  • Sue Naimark (Consultant)
  • Karla Nicholson (Haymarket Foundation)
  • Jessie Partridge (MAPC)
  • David Price (Nuestra CDC)
  • Marilyn Sanchez (LISC)
  • Sophia Transtamar (Madison Park DC)
  • Karen Wiener (CHAPA)

The Alliance is staffed by Shirronda Almeida, for more information please email