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Field Notes

GEO Conference 2023: The Critical Role of Philanthropy in Building Emergent Spaces with Community to Address Systemic Inequality & Re-Imagine Solutions

Consuela Greene
August 22, 2023

Consuela Greene, a Managing Director at Root Cause, and Andre Green, Executive Director of SkillWorks, recently shared learnings and facilitated a discussion with philanthropists at the GEO (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations) Learning Conference on May 23, 2023 in Washington D.C. SkillWorks, a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative at The Boston Foundation, and Root Cause, a Boston-based nonprofit consulting team, have been working together since 2022 to co-design an emergent space to re-imagine a more just and equitable workplace for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) tech workers in Greater Boston. 

One of the main challenges during the project was how to effectively reach and engage BIPOC tech workers. After some initial hurdles, we pivoted our approach and used a survey to engage more people more easily, improved our messaging and community engagement, and convened a virtual event to build trust. We plan to prepare a summary of learnings, create a working group of BIPOC tech workers, facilitate a fall summit, and then see what next steps emerge. 

At the GEO conference, Consuela and Andre discussed lessons from the project’s design process and how philanthropists can apply these learnings to build their own emergent spaces with their local communities to address systemic inequalities. The group also discussed the critical role of philanthropy in investing in emergent spaces, centering those most impacted by challenges, and collaboratively re-imagining and co-designing a more equitable path forward. 

To learn more about this work, check out the Skillworks Re-imagining a Greater Boston Tech Workforce Project

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