To equip municipal leaders in better understanding and addressing social equity in their community, the Sustainable States Network (SSN) commissioned Be Bold LLC to create an Equity in Action Toolkit. Developed in collaboration with SSN and Sustainable Pittsburgh, the toolkit includes a brief primer on why equity matters, an introduction to equity as a systemic issue, and a methodology to define, assess, and implement equity initiatives. It also includes best practices to support community officials with implementation.
The “Equity in Action Toolkit” defines equity as fairness in process, access, and outcomes. Unlike equality, which assumes that every individual will obtain the same benefit from the equal distribution of resources, equity accounts for an individual’s needs. For example, it may be more difficult to obtain feedback on an important community project from a single mother who works two jobs than it would be to hear from the retired couple who comes to every Council meeting.
Socially equitable policy creation and inclusive practices can foster strong social foundations ensuring long term community success. An ICMA study from 2014 found that inclusive citizen engagement plays a critical role in improving the relationship a local government has with the public and significantly improves the quality of public projects. When people feel they are a valued part of the community, they are much more likely to contribute to its overall success.