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Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture (Two-Part Series)

Friday, August 14, 2020 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PDT
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Has your institution put out a statement recently about Black Lives Matter and are now thinking about what to do next? Are you a funder or working at a nonprofit organization, and are interested in learning more about specific tactics, strategies, and best practices around race equity?

Join Philanthropy California, TRHT-LA, and evolve for a two-part webinar series with Equity in the Center and their “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture” publication and framework, for a critical conversation on the cases, tactics and tools that will drive action to combat structural racism in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector.

Presented by Equity in the Center’s Executive Director, Kerrien Suarez, this program will outline the need for building a Race Equity Culture in social sector organizations and introduce resources and provide strategies to help participants move from commitment to action.


Your registration admits you to both sessions. The full curriculum for Awake to Woke to Work will be covered over the course of these days. Please plan to attend both sessions.

Day 1: Friday, August 14 | 10:00 am - 12:00 noon PDT

Part 1 will be an introduction to the framework, revisiting content from Philanthropy California and TRHT-LA’s December 2019 program. This introduction will help ground people into Equity in the Center’s research designed to support leaders as they build and expand their organization’s capacity to advance race equity and transform their culture.

Day 2: Wednesday, August 26 | 10:00 am—12:00 noon PDT

Part 2 will delve in more deeply with the levers to build a Race Equity Culture. Participants will learn about the Race Equity Cycle framework, as well as the management levers organizations utilize to measurably shift organizational culture toward race equity.

These sessions will provide:

  • An overview of Race Equity Cycle Framework
  • Key findings from Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Cycle Publication
  • An overview of Management and Operational Levers to Build a Race Equity Culture
  • Case examples of how organizations move through the Race Equity Cycle

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be introduced to research and resources provided by Equity in the Center to support leaders and organizations in advancing race equity.
  • Participants will understand key research findings from the “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture” publication, and how to apply the Race Equity Cycle framework in their own work.
  • Participants will learn about management and operational levers that can shift organizational culture toward race equity.


$100. Scholarships are available. Please email for details.


Kerrien Suarez, Executive Director, Equity in the Center

Kerrien is director of Equity in the Center (EiC), a new initiative launched through ProInspire and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, KresgeFoundation and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Equity in the Center addresses a gap in philanthropic and nonprofit organizations’ current diversity, equity and inclusion practice: The absence of sector-validated organizational development and change management best practices to shift mindsets, tactics and systems that drive racial and ethnic diversity at all levels.With over 19 years of management and consulting experience, Kerrien has supported executive and leadership teams in bold decision making to solve strategic and operational challenges. As an independent consultant, she managed strategic and implementation planning projects for ProInspire, UNCF, National Black Child Development Institute, National Center for Children in Poverty and Martha’s Table. Kerrien’s career in management consulting began at AT Kearney and The Advisory Board.Most recently, while at Community Wealth Partners, she led engagements to refine programs and scale impact for national nonprofits, including The First Tee and AARP ExperienceCorps. She is a graduate of Harvard College and London School of Economics.

Facilitator Day 1

Megan Thomas, Vice President of Collaboration and Special Initiatives

Megan oversees San Diego Grantmakers’ facilitation of collaborative efforts among its funder members and other stakeholders; leads the production of philanthropy and impact investing skills-building and issue based learning; and spearheads SDG’s work related to championing equity and opportunity. She provides strategic and logistical support to strengthen San Diego communities through shared learning and pooled and aligned funding strategies. Current focus areas include early education, STEAM education, immigration, homelessness, military/veterans issues, leadership development, racial justice, and impact investing, as well as support for the steering committees of pooled grant funds, including that of Women Give San Diego, which is fiscally sponsored by SDG.

Megan brings 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields to this role, having most recently served as Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper where she built partnerships among the nonprofit, business, and public sectors to advance environmental goals across San Diego County. Megan received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University and her Masters in Business Administration from Yale School of Management. She serves on the long-term vision advisory committee for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and previously served on the board of directors of Hope Horse Ranch, United Way of San Diego County; advisory council for The San Diego Foundation’s Center for Civic Engagement; and the Port of San Diego Environmental Advisory Committee.

Facilitator Day 2

Sequoia Thompson, Coordinator, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation - Los Angeles

Sequoia supports the TRHT-LA Director by assisting with the development and implementation of programs and events in coordination with outside partners and other SCG staff. In addition to joining the SCG team, Sequoia is a Senior Trainer for the Los Angeles County Lesbian Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Collaborative. She has presented as a Motivational Speaker and Cultural Humility Trainer for Professional Development at various organizations such as The American Heart Association and The Department of Public Health. Sequoia graduated from UCLA with her Bachelors in Psychology and LGBTQ+ Studies where she was awarded the Rae Lee Siporin LGBT Leadership Award for Outstanding leadership and service to the UCLA LGBT community at her Lavender Graduation. 

Sequoia is passionate about social justice and BIPOC/QTPOC advocacy. She wants to continue to be a part of healing the hearts of those affected by systemic racism, challenge the institutions who overtly and/or covertly perpetuate it , and continue to challenge ourselves so we don’t perpetuate this systemic plague that separates us.




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