We have gathered frequently asked questions about ERI’s work and our rebranding in 2020. Staff will continue to update this page with additional information.

  • USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute (ERI) is a research unit housed within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California.

    ERI produces data-driven analysis and rigorous research, leads convenings, engages strategic collaborations, and models effective, sustainable, racially-just research center.

    The Equity Research Institute resulted from merging of two research centers: the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII), which were both founded at USC in 2008.

    Led by our Executive Director Professor Manuel Pastor and associate director Jody Agius Vallejo, ERI currently has 21 full time staff, graduate research assistants, undergraduate student workers, an advisory council of community partners, and a wide network of affiliated faculty members—both within USC and externally.

    We will carry PERE and CSII’s work forward as ERI, and continue to grow as an organization that provides data and analysis to power social change. These will continue our key areas of our work, while we seek to contribute to a more powerful, well-resourced, intersectional, and intersectoral movement.
  • ERI will work with partners to develop theory, frameworks, and data analysis, as well as advance new narratives, and convene communities of learning and practice. Over the next several years, ERI will focus on the following three priority areas:

    • Economic Inclusion and Climate Equity
      Our work will support creating new coalitions around economic, social, and environmental justice by linking economic prosperity, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps.
    • Immigrant Inclusion and Racial Justice
      Our work will challenge and nuance common narratives by applying a racial justice lens; by promoting the mutual interests of immigrant and native-born communities in the U.S.; and by supporting interethnic, intersectoral, and cross-movement collaborations in all of our research processes and products.
    • Social Movements and Governing Power
      Our work will advance an understanding of, dialogue about, and funding towards building power among historically excluded communities by developing data-driven frameworks and tools for key learning and strategizing opportunities.

      ERI is also committed to being a collaborative research center to increase our overall impact in our priority areas. Our aim is to achieve this by using centralized and collaborative practices, moving key stakeholders and audiences, and being a healthy, sustainable, and racially-just workplace.
  • ERI provides forward-looking, actionable research to support community-based organizations, funders, and other stakeholders.

    Our accurate, community-centered data and analysis are the basis of new narratives for equity. Our forward looking, actionable research supports the ecosystem of change by identifying new opportunities for investments, solidarity, and power building.

    ERI’s key activities include:

    • Producing data-driven analysis and rigorous research to inform movements and policy
    • Leading convenings and communications that deepen and broaden our reach into key audiences
    • Engaging in strategic collaborations that leverage our strengths for broader impact; and
    • Modelling an effective, sustainable, and racially-just research center.

    We work with cross-sectoral partners from a range of nonprofits, community organizations, foundations, research centers, government agencies, the university community, and businesses who align with our mission, vision, and approach to data and analysis.

  • After a year-long rebranding process that involved our staff, faculty, students, community stakeholders, and audiences, we at PERE/CSII combined our two names to better describe our work in the current landscape through a racial equity lens.

    We also wanted to encompass the broad scope of our work under a single entity and brand, therefore making our name more cohesive and easier to use.

    The name USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute was the result of a process including interviews, surveys, and focus groups. This rich data was gathered and analyzed by consultants at Momentum Solutions.

    In addition, ERI created a tagline to signify the role we see for research within the movement ecosystem: Data and Analysis to Power Social Change.

  • In addition to changing our name, tagline, and website, we will also be rolling out changes including:

    • new and updated social media handles
    • an ERI blog and articles section
    • releases of new publications, online events or webinars, and research projects
      …and more!

    However, many other things will stay the same, including:

    • physical office location
    • staff
    • staff email addresses and phone numbers
    • eNewsletter subscriptions (Note: To ensure you still receive our emails updates, please add ERI@dornsife.usc.edu as an approved email contact)
  • In short, no. ERI’s organizational structure, location, programs, and current research areas will remain the same at it was under PERE and CSII. We are still based at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

    ERI’s leadership will remain the same, with Professor Manuel Pastor as ERI’s Executive Director and Jody Agius Vallejo as Associate Director. Our staff remains the same. And our faculty affiliates, advisory committee members, fellows, and activists-in-residence will also continue to play roles in ERI’s work.

  • No. ERI will continue PERE/CSII’s current agreements and alliances. We also look forward to developing new partnerships.

  • Yes. Some in the field may feel that folding the CSII brand into ERI diminishes this area of work for the organization. We understand that feeling and can empathize.

    Since 2009, CSII has built a strong footprint providing key data estimates, spotlighting researchers and narratives, and convening key conversations. While the title of CSII is going away, the work will not. ERI remains just as committed to our community partners, the field of immigrant integration research, and those immigrants making the US their home. ERI will also continue to sponsor a graduate student working group and work with affiliated faculty on immigrant integration issues.

    What happens to CSII’s Immigrant Integration Wire blog?

    ERI is launching a new blog that will continue to cover timely topics and narratives in immigrant integration, as well as articles across ERI’s areas of work, including: economic inclusion, climate equity, racial justice, social movements, and governing power. Want to submit an article, essay, or pitch your idea for ERI’s blog? Contact us at eri@dornsife.usc.edu

  • All of PERE and CSII’s reports, projects, maps, and content will be moved to the ERI website. To help audiences acclimate to changes in our links and branding, the old PERE and CSII websites will remain online as an archive for several months. However, there will be no updates to PERE and CSII after July 2020, and any new content will be posted to ERI.


  • Email us at ERI@dornsife.usc.edu for questions not covered in this FAQ page.

  • Please consider supporting ERI to help our data, analysis, and narratives reach beyond the university to a world in need of solid facts, civil dialogue, and community-driven solutions.

    Visit the donations page on the Giving to USC website. Select the “USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity Fund” (our former name) to direct your contributions to our institute.

    If you have any questions, please contact us at eri@dornsife.usc.edu. Thank you for your support!

  • We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvements aimed for future web development in the next few years. Contact us at ERI@dornsife.usc.edu.


    Rebranding Team and Site Credits

    Rebrand consultants: Momentum Solutions Team

    ERI Rebranding Project Manager and Strategic Communications lead: Gladys Malibiran, Senior Communications Specialist

    A special thank you to ERI’s Communications Team for their contributions to the website and many areas of the rebranding work.

    (Listed alphabetically by first name)

    • Arpita Sharma, Data Analyst II and video lead
    • Edward Muna, Senior Data Analyst
    • Emma Yudelevitch, Project Assistant
    • Jamie Flores, Administrative Assistant
    • Kim Tabari, Organizational Development Director
    • Lauren Perez, Communications Coordinator
    • Sabrina Kim, Data Analyst and design lead
    • Vanessa Carter, Senior Data Analyst and Writing Specialist

    Many thanks to ERI’s staff, students, community partners, and allies for your support on this journey of rebranding our organization in 2020.

    In addition, we thank the web developers at USC Dornsife for their design and content management system for the ERI website: Gabriele Nunez and Susan Chang