Project Evident Update

Our Commitment to Equity and Social Justice

June 5, 2020

Dear Friends,

Over the past several weeks, we have once again been confronted with evidence of the racial violence and systematic oppression that Black families face daily in our country. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are appalling reminders of the racism and violence that have existed throughout our nation’s history and continue to pervade our society and its institutions today. Coming on the heels of the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black communities and brought into stark relief existing inequalities in health care, education, employment, housing, and criminal justice, this week has been a painful and humbling reminder of how much work we have left to do.

At Project Evident, we want to be clear that Black Lives Matter. We stand with our Black partners, family members, teammates, funders, board members, and friends. Systemic racism and injustice affect every Black family, and are corrosive to our society. We will continue to work with our partners to fight these injustices and rebuild a more equitable America.

Earlier this week, we gathered as a team to check in with one another around current events. Engaging in explicit conversations around race, discrimination, and privilege is not easy. Each of us has a different perspective, lived experience, and willingness to share deeply personal feelings in this setting. But while we knew it could potentially be painful, awkward, and draining, we also felt it was important to listen and explore how we can show up better for one another so we can ultimately show up better for you – our partners. 

During our conversation, we heard the importance of understanding and empathy in this moment. This is a heavy time, and the weight affects us each differently. Our teammate Chuck Carter generously shared his own personal experience living and working through this moment, which he also wrote about. As a team we discussed that while some of us might find work a welcome outlet right now; others quite simply may not be feeling productive – and that’s ok. These issues won’t be solved overnight, and taking the time and space we need to recharge and process our “unproductive feelings” allows us to be a stronger and more sustainable team in the long run. As Chuck wrote, “I will not journey alone. Whether in person (at a distance) or virtually, I will connect and stay connected to my support network.” 

A shared commitment to and gratitude for our partners was expressed by many. Putting our partners at the center of our work is one of our core values, and we are actively thinking through what specifically that looks like right now. We also discussed the fact that while there is much we can do, we cannot do it alone. We do not exist in a vacuum, and fighting the systemic inequities in our country requires listening to, partnering with, and amplifying the work of communities and organizations engaged in this work.

Project Evident was founded out of a sense of “constructive dissatisfaction” in terms of outcomes for communities. Today that dissatisfaction with the status quo is stronger than ever, as is our commitment to addressing systemic racism and inequality of opportunity. We sit at the crossroads of organizations and funders that work to improve the lives of communities with limited power and access to resources. We are committed to harnessing that privilege into action, and helping nonprofits, school districts, public agencies, and philanthropy develop and advocate for solutions that are informed by evidence of real outcomes and community feedback.

We continue to be inspired by the work of our partners and other community-based organizations, and stand ready to help those who need immediate technical assistance related to current events. Already our “office hours,” with generous support from the Barr Foundation, are paying dividends. Organizations can access pro-bono support to make informed and equitable decisions on a broad array of issues, including service adaptations, scenario planning, community needs assessments, and tools and strategies for leaner, more agile data collection and evidence practices.

I know that I speak for the Project Evident team when I say that we are deeply thankful for your partnership and for the work you do, and we look forward to continuing to strive together toward a more just and equitable society.

Kelly Fitzsimmons
Founder & Managing Director