Brief Mutual Accountability Is the Key to Equity-Oriented Systems Change
How Initiatives Can Create Durable Shifts in Policies and Practices
Lydia Lo, Laudan Y. Aron, Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Corianne Payton Scally
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In the face of increased national attention to long-existent and worsening racialized gaps in health, wealth, and well-being, some philanthropic organizations are reexamining what and how they fund to create initiatives that advance equity through durable shifts in policy and practice. Funders and their grantees need to collaborate within a framework of mutual accountability that has explicit commitments: substantive actions with associated mechanisms for ensuring progress toward goals. Our proposed framework calls on them to identify shared goals, clarify the commitments needed to achieve them, establish expected results, and continually improve the alignment between those elements as partners learn together. Within this framework, three strategies have the potential to advance equity in philanthropic investments: obtaining multiple types of explicit commitments, especially from powerful partners; aligning commitments to the goals and capacity of grantees and related actors; and establishing explicit ways to ensure stakeholders are responsible to one another for fulfilling their promises.

Research Areas Health and health care Nonprofits and philanthropy Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Race and equity
Policy Centers Health Policy Center Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Research Methods Performance measurement and management