This project is designed to help the Gates Foundation catalog and understand best practices in interethnic leadership development programs. The project has three basic elements: (1) highlighting the changing demography of the country and why (and where) this calls for interethnic coalitions; (2) explaining how such coalitions and community efforts help move policy and programs in directions that help less advantaged populations, and (3) determining the elements of leadership development and other programs that allow for honest and productive conversations and collaborations across racial and ethnic difference. While we are casting our net broadly, we are particularly interested in programs aimed at young people and young adults, partly to intersect with Gates’ efforts in postsecondary education (especially community colleges).
As noted, the Color of Change project is set in the context of rapid and shifting demographic change and how this transition sets up the opportunity and necessity for empowering youth to transform systems that support improved access and outcomes for a new generation of leaders. This project analyzes the process in which empowering youth means the transformation of individuals to reach their potential and become an active actor in creating lasting change in the economic, political, and social conditions to remove barriers to opportunity for all. The education system is critical to efforts to prepare our future leaders and within the Gates Foundation mission to address underserved youth who are marginalized from the educational system. A quality education puts one on a path to greater opportunity – not only is higher education directly correlated to increased economic success, but a well-educated and engaged citizenry is an essential element to vibrant, healthy communities.
The fundamental goal of this project is to conduct the research that can help Gates identify a limited term investment in this field of movement-based inter-ethnic youth leadership programming. We would specifically hope to highlight best practices and high-quality organizations, suggest the challenges they face in expanding their efforts and scaling up, and then help to sketch out what it would take to create a broader national alliance of such leadership programs including ways to bring together collaborations between the private and public sectors. If successful, the ultimate goal would be a sustainable infrastructure that would facilitate learning between such organizations and thus help all the groups move toward best practices and best outcomes.
The Color of Change: Inter-Ethnic Youth Leadership for the 21st Century
By Manuel Pastor, Rhonda Ortiz, Jennifer Ito, Veronica Terriquez, Vanessa Carter, Jennifer Tran, and Teresa Cheng