Berkeley Racial Equity Lens Tool

Year Complete: 2018
Grant Category: Equity Pilot Initiative
Grant Amount: $30,000
Local Government: City of Berkeley, CA
Local Foundation: The San Francisco Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation

Project Purpose

To develop and evaluate a Berkeley Racial Equity Lens Tool and apply it as a pilot to a community planning process in South Berkeley.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

Right Sizing Scope and Timeline: It is crucial to request feedback early and often.  Among other things, it brings the needs of the community into sharper focus, and allows the group to set realistic time tables for completing the work.

Tool Development: Don’t spend too much time developing a tool at the expense of actually deploying it.  Pilot the tool at the initial planning stages and develop a body of case studies that other department divisions could reference and build on to revise the draft tool as needed to meet specific department needs.

Adeline Planning Process Pilot:  The Adeline Corridor planning process was a long-range land use and transportation planning process that was structured to achieve development and public improvements over the long-term; however, gentrification was resulting in physical and cultural displacement in the short-term for a large portion of the priority community members and stakeholders.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

The consultant team played a support role in coaching the City to build meaningful trust with people on the ground and ensure that Plan development prioritized recommendations that focus on improving (and not harming) existing and vulnerable residents, businesses, and institutions.  From this work, the City applied the lessons learned at the outset of the next long-range planning project undertaken by the City.

Additional Information and Resources

The City followed this project by looking into internal and external funding opportunities to hire a community partner or equity consultant to guide them through this next phase of work and continue to refine and rollout the Racial Equity Learning Tool to all City departments.  The city also continues to discuss possible improvements to the Adeline Corridor.  The city offers updates on the status of the plan here.