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Candid and racial equity: doing good in the face of tragedy

Woman wearing face mask putting no racism poster on the wall

The summer of 2020 saw people across the world gathering to demand racial equity and justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. In this article from our 2020 annual report, DeeDee Dickey, Candid’s vice president of talent, describes how Candid as an organization and Candid employees as individuals responded to these events.

There’s no doubt 2020 was challenging for each and every one of us. In the midst of a global healthcare crisis and its long-term implications, we also faced rising racial tensions surrounding the topic of police brutality, particularly as it relates to Black people.

Candid’s staff and board showed a real commitment to getting the sector timely information to help navigate these challenging times. We shared (and are still sharing) continuously updated data and insight on race and policing, Black male achievement, and racial equity. Behind this information were 230 individuals who brought their whole selves to work every day to power the tools and resources you need to do good.

At Candid, our people come first. And our people were hurting. Those that spoke loudly, those that spoke quietly, and those that kept to themselves. Last year’s events took a mental and emotional toll. In honor of George Floyd’s memory and the historical movement his death awakened in the hearts and consciences of many people around the world, Candid closed on the day of his funeral to provide staff with an opportunity to devote to themselves or spend with a support network of family and friends. And, for the first time in Candid’s history (and that of our predecessor organizations, Foundation Center and GuideStar), we celebrated Juneteenth as an official holiday for our organization.

Last year we introduced three notable initiatives in order to educate and enlighten staff about the many facets of diversity and racial equity. We offered implicit bias training for all staff, including the executive team. We also created and disseminated a diversity statement and glossary of common diversity terminology. Most recently we introduced organization-wide celebrations for nationally recognized heritage months such as Women’s History, Asian/Pacific American Heritage, Native American Heritage, National Hispanic Heritage, and African American History, to name just a few.

In this trying time, we saw staff come together, open up to one another, share their personal experiences, and support each other like never before. At town halls, via public blog posts, on group Zoom calls, and on Slack channels created to provide a space for staff to be together in community, we saw folks come together in shared humanity. So much of what has transpired in our country has affected young Black males, and we had the honor of listening to one of our colleagues share his experience and highlight how deeply rooted and institutionalized racism is in our schools, prisons, hospitals, and beyond. During a community call that took place on June 5, staff were offered the opportunity to share how they were feeling anonymously. Some of the words we saw most frequently were drained, frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, hopeful, and grateful. Some colleagues were inspired that we were having these conversations, and others felt that we weren’t doing nearly enough. Each of us comes to the table with different identities, experiences, and perspectives. All matter, and all are valid.

Regardless of my personal opinions about the events over the last year, I hope that we’re beginning to build enough trust to start having productive dialogue about these troubling and enduring aspects of our country’s history. Candid has miles to go to make sure every person on our staff feels safe, seen, and liberated to be who they are. And we remain steadfast in our commitment to get there and keep going. The work is never done.

I’m hopeful that we’re willing to work together to take the necessary steps to create a more peaceful and just world. Not just as colleagues, but as human beings, I hope that we can all commit to being part of the solution.

“This is not only just for George Floyd alone. This is also for the other lives who have been lost as well. Not just in this year but … ever since the founding of this country.”

Aaronn Brown

Aaronn Brown
Support Associate, Candid


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