Increasing and Integrating Diverse Perspectives | The AIR Equity Initiative
AIR is grounded in the principle that diversity, equity, and inclusion strengthen the quality of our research, evaluation, and technical assistance work by enabling us to better understand, co-create with, and be responsive to the needs of the communities and clients we serve. We understand that diverse perspectives and voices must be reflected in all our work. Through the Scholars and Leaders Awards grant competition and partnerships to elevate diverse perspectives, the AIR Equity Initiative is putting this principle into practice.
AIR Scholars and Leaders Awards
Building a nimble, skilled, diverse, and inclusive organization and culture is a major strategic goal for AIR, and the Scholars and Leaders Awards is one way we are making progress.
The AIR Equity Initiative’s Scholars and Leaders Awards grant competition seeks to expand the diversity of staff who lead research, technical assistance, and systems change at AIR. The awards assume that (a) additional ideas and skills are needed to address longstanding inequities, (b) demonstrating expertise through funded work will benefit career growth, and (c) focused funding opportunities, such as this one, will augment the steps already in place to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion at AIR.
As part of our comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, the Scholars and Leaders Awards seek to create more inclusive thought and project leadership across every division at AIR.
Partnerships to Elevate Diverse Perspectives
Our partnerships enhance our work and the broader fields of research, technical assistance, and philanthropy. They allow us to elevate diverse perspectives; ensure the representation of youth voices in grant making; and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in behavioral and social science research.
A joint venture among AIR; Georgia State University in Atlanta; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Pipeline Partnership Program (P3) is intended to foster diversity in the next generation of research and technical assistance professionals. Through the program, students from partner universities have access to virtual and on-campus learning events, workshops, and trainings delivered by AIR Institute Fellows, leadership, and other internal experts; networking opportunities; and access to AIR’s paid Summer Internship Program and other opportunities.
The P3 expanded to two universities in Africa in fall 2022, including the University of Nairobi and the University of Dar es Salaam. The international expansion will follow a similar model to the P3-U.S. and provide relevant offerings, tailored to the students at the selected universities.
Partnership with Youth Policy Consultants of AYPF Powered by the Children's Defense Fund
The Youth Policy Consultants (YPC) of the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) Powered by the Children’s Defense Fund provide substantive support to the AIR Equity Initiative. Youth Policy Consultants review critical documents, provide input to Equity Initiative staff, and participate in focus groups to inform efforts to improve youth outcomes.
The YPCs have served as experts on AIR Equity Initiative panel discussions about education and public safety and policing. The consultants are also developing ideas to address inequities in education, work, and human service systems—including leveraging Credible Messengers to help youth navigate these complex systems. They also developed a podcast series to spur conversation and action on issues impacting the lives of youth in the United States.