In January of 2021, the Biden Administration signed Executive Order (EO) 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government. The Order states that “advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies (agencies) must recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity. EO 13985 directs agencies to analyze whether its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunity or provide benefits for underserved groups.”    

The funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund program (SLFRF) was the first major legislative initiative that was created with EO 13985 in mind. In May of 2022 the White House released the Advancing Equity Through the American Rescue Plan Report, which “underscores not only the breadth of work undertaken by federal agencies and external partners to ensure that the impact of the American Rescue Plan is being felt by those most in need but also the amount of work that still lies ahead” (iii). 

 

The Report suggests strategies to highlight equity in funding distribution and program design that recipients could implement throughout the lifecycle of their SLFRF-funded programs that could impact policy, project selection, and implementation. The Report suggests agencies and recipients utilize Equity Frameworks toconsider equity throughout the project development or selection process and assessing proposed projects on equity in project design and proposed outcomes” (2).  

 

An Equity Framework can be thought of as an evaluation exercise. The Project Management Institute defines evaluation as a process to “answer specific questions, to guide the sponsor, decision-makers and managers, and to provide information on whether underlying assumptions used in development and designs were valid, what worked and what did not work, and why.” 

 

In order to help support your design of programs or projects that meet these requirements, or evaluate program applications to distribute your funding, we have designed an Equity Assessment tool that you can use for program/proposal evaluation to help you see the impact a particular project or program could make for underserved communities. This tool is based on the tools used by Harris County, TX, Boulder County, CO, the City of Durham, NC, and San Jose, CA, all of which are all available in the SLFRF Equity and Outcomes Resource Guide, and we encourage you to modify this tool as needed for your own purposes.  

 

To see if your state, local, or tribal government could benefit from technology support to help you streamline your project(s) so you can concentrate more on incorporating equitable practices,schedule a demotoday. 

 

*Photo by Roman Didkivskyi from Canva

Topics: Local, Maintain Reporting Compliance, Tribal, State

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