Equity and inclusion are critical to who we are and what we value at ioby. 

We were founded with the belief that residents know best what their neighborhoods need, and are best positioned to lead this change. From the beginning, we have been committed to working with particular attention to Black and Brown communities that have been overlooked by government and philanthropy, often because of a long history of institutional and material racism—like redlining, neighborhood demolition as a part of urban renewal, and more. We know that our commitment to racial justice is a continuing commitment that we have to actively affirm and work towards every day.

Our fight for racial justice isn't an action we can take alone. We must remain accountable to our community, and so we must work alongside and be led by our BIPOC neighbors as we confront systemic and historic oppression. We must hold racial justice at the center as we shape our actions, policies, programs, and learnings to move toward becoming a fully-realized anti-racist organization. These efforts, a work in progress, are outlined below.

We invite you to help keep us accountable, remind us of our commitments, and ask us tough questions by reaching out to us hello@ioby.org


We believe in explicitly naming race, racism, and systemic oppression in the formation of our internal and external policies, and in building these policies to actively work against racism.

  • Our Principles and Actions include a commitment to racial justice and the need for inclusivity in the face of systemic oppression. 

  • Our Digital Inclusion Policy is a guiding tool to hold ourselves accountable in making just, equitable platform and marketing decisions in both the long and short term. We know that technology is not value-neutral; in fact, it is often used to uphold systems of white supremacy. To ensure our use of technology is a tool for undoing systemic oppression takes constant and rigorous work, collaboration and evaluation. 

  • Our Hiring Practices, designed to eliminate opportunities for unconscious bias, are cited by staff as the piece of formal racial equity work that we feel most passionate and confident about, and that we feel are best at. We’re grateful to our advisors Karla Monterosso and Bex Ahuja for their help. 

  • We use an Equitable Storytelling Framework to ensure we are sharing the stories of project leaders and their communities in an authentic, non-exploitive, non-extractive way. This includes paying project leaders, the majority of whom identify as BIPOC, a stipend for the time and labor of sharing their stories.

  • ioby’s annual PTO package includes several "Civic Duty Days" to encourage staff to participate meaningfully in democracy and activism, and each employee has 40 hours allotted over the course of the year to focus specifically on REI work.

  • ioby’s Board Statement on Diversity set the explicit goal to maintain at least 50% Board members of color (which we have successfully maintained since 2015). 


Our work is rooted in deep listening to our communities, in particular communities of color which have long been overlooked by institutions and funders. We design both our core programs and special initiatives to include specific goals around racial equity and inclusion.

  • We set an explicit goal of reaching and serving BIPOC project leaders; in 2023 that goal is at least 65% of project leaders identify as BIPOC (so far in 2023 we are surpassing this benchmark). 

  • We explicitly track and set goals around BIPOC project leaders’ customer satisfaction surveys in order to monitor and quickly catch any biases in our product and service delivery in real time. 

  • ioby match programs practice early recruitment to BIPOC community leaders within the eligible geography for the program, pursuing equity in match fund allocation by offering a head start to access ioby match funds. In 2022, over half of match funding was secured by BIPOC-led ioby campaigns, and this is increasing year over year. 

  • ioby’s Racial Justice Toolkit, which we send out widely and offer as a resource to our project leaders, features the voices of several racial justice leaders sharing lessons from their own work to undo structural racism in their communities.

  • We’ve formally included the racist policy of redlining as a critically important part of how and where ioby decides to make long-term investments in places, and integrated it into our Phase 0 research process to assess where to bring our place-based work. In addition, place-based work must take place in cities where at least one-third of the population is BIPOC.

  • Much of our place-based work and matching funds partnerships include an explicit focus on racial equity, including the recent Racial Equity Matching Fund in Cleveland with our partners, Neighborhood Connections.


Staff-Led Action and Formal Learning

We offer our staff formal and informal ways of participating in our racial equity and inclusion work. Formal training can offer a much-needed shared understanding and language around systemic oppression and anti-racism.

In 2019, ioby’s Board and staff launched a Race, Equity, and Inclusion audit and framework process to assess where we were, and chart where we need to go next. This framework process resulted in the 2021 hiring of Co-Creating Inclusion, a women of color-led REI consulting firm whose ongoing scope with ioby includes:

  • Providing accountability toward shifting organizational culture;
  • Creating and coordinating identity-based employee caucus groups and a staff REI Workgroup;
  • Designing and conducting quarterly REI conversations with the full ioby staff

All staff are given the opportunity to work as part of the REI Workgroup, whose membership rotates, and with their identity-based caucus. Staff are expected to spend 40 hours per year in additional self-directed REI work. In addition:

  • All staff participate in The Management Center’s basic training, which focuses on working across lines of difference such as racial, gender, and class. 

  • ioby managers complete an additional MREIR training from The Management Center, designed to identify and eliminate bias in people and project management. 

  • In 2016, all staff participated in a four-day staff training on working practices, bias and equity with The Management Center.

  • In 2017 ioby staff and board participated in a “Groundwater” Training led by the Racial Equity Institute. It created an important starting point around values for relationship building among all involved, and an important foundational touchstone for ioby as an organization to refer to when planning for continued work in anti-racism.

  • In 2020, Erin Barnes, ioby's CEO at the time, participated in Frontline Solutions' Equity Footprint training.