Equity Mini-Grant Fund
The City of Austin has assembled a small pool of funding to establish an Equity Mini Grant Fund. The Fund provides flexible resources for local, community-based organizations to seed projects that are focused on eliminating structural barriers and/or improving the quality of life for the City’s most vulnerable populations.
In addition, this fund will support projects that are aligned with advancing one or more of the six outcome priorities featured in Austin City Council’s Strategic Direction 2023 addressing equity concerns and disparities where gaps need to be closed.
The first round of applications is now closed. The Office anticipates making award notices in early November.
Equity Assessment Process
The Equity Assessment Process begins with training. The Office understands how important Normalizing the discussion of racial equity is. Without a shared understanding, the conversation collapses. We use the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond
to help train departments undergoing Equity Assessment. This training challenges City staff to recognize institutional racism in their everyday work.
Following training, the departments go through the Equity Assessment Tool.
Equity Assessment Tool
The Equity Assessment Tool was co-created by the Office with the Equity Action Team (EAT). The EAT is the community body who advocated Council for the creation of the Office.
The Equity Assessment Tool is a general set of questions to guide City departments in assessing their impact on equity. The Tool builds from the historical context of departments. It tries to make Staff recognize who their work serves and doesn't serve. These assessments help the City to identify opportunities to reduce disparities.
Structure of the Tool
Introduction: Brief historical account and Council Resolution for context
Departmental Analysis: A look at the department’s culture
Budget: A scan of how community input factors in budget planning
Community Engagement: Gauges your practices and quality of interaction with the community
Alignment: Evaluates opportunities to address disparities in City priorities
Equity Action Plan
The Center for Place-Based Initiatives perform an analysis of departments' Assessments. They identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) in departments' programs and services.
Building from the analysis, departments then create an Equity Action Plan. In the pilot cohort, we've requested each department to target at least three actions, which they will have the following year to put in place.
After a year, the departments will once again undergo Assessment. By repeating the cycle, the Office will be able to enhance what's working and address challenges.