Equity and Inclusion

Arts and culture help spark conversations, spur social change and make our community strong. But too many of our residents – including communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities – experience vast disparities in terms of access to publicly funded services, including arts and culture. RACC is committed to ensuring that everyone in our region has equal access to arts and the fundamental right to express their culture through the arts.

Tackling the issue of equity and inclusion requires commitment, respect, patience, determination, and flexibility. It also requires knowledge, and this page was designed to share information and resources with those who want to be part of this important work. If you have questions to ask or additional resources to share, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at info@racc.org.


(Approved February, 2015)

We believe that the arts have the power to change hearts and minds, and to inspire social change. Prejudice and privilege have created barriers that RACC must dismantle, systematically and strategically, until everyone in our community has equitable access to arts and culture.

We acknowledge that there is no one perfect way to achieve equity, but we are willing to take risks because there is much work to do. We are thoughtfully researching and implementing new methods of thinking within our organizational culture, starting with an in-depth assessment of our services, policies and procedures. We are seeking out and listening to voices that have not been heard, and fully engaging under-represented populations in dialogue that will help us improve.

We are committed to the full scope of this work and will hold ourselves accountable along the way—anything less would prove a disservice to ourselves and the communities we serve. RACC strives to be an organization that values and celebrates everyone’s life experiences, their voices and their histories. By consistently bringing new perspectives to our decision-making table, forming new relationships and alliances, and finding new ways to support creativity, RACC will be a strong, equitable and relevant organization. Throughout this process, we commit to humility, optimism and respect.


In Need of a Long Welcome: Supporting the Integration of Newcomers to Portland (2016) A report from the Center to Advance Racial Equity, Portland State University (editors: Ann Curry-Stevens & Anne Sinkey) This report aims to spur an awakening to the assets that newcomers bring to the Portland community, and to map out a pathway to their inclusion in Portland’s social, intellectual and economic fabric. Five newcomer communities are focused on: indigenous Latinos, Tongans, Iraqis, Iranians and Somalis.

An Introduction to Engaging Diverse Audiences (PDF). Based on local and national best practices for equity and inclusion work, RACC has developed six building blocks to help organizations foster equitable access to the arts by increasing the participation of and engagement with diverse audiences.

Making Meaningful Connections. The James Irvine Foundation provides an excellent summary of characteristics among arts groups that are successfully engaging new and diverse participants.

Cultural and Community Connections (PDF), (Excel) A list of contacts who can help you reach diverse communities in the Portland metro area.

RACC’s Contact list for Culturally Specific Media

RACC’s demographic questionnaire template for staff, board and volunteers (PDF)

Access to Arts and Culture: a web page summary of free and reduced cost opportunities provided by RACC-funded arts organizations.

Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile. Published by the Coalition of Communities of Color and Portland State University in 2010, this report documents the experiences of communities of color in Multnomah County, and discusses opportunities to create new policies that support rather than harm these communities. The Coalition has also published community-specific follow-up reports for the African American, African immigrant and refugee, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, Native American and Slavic Communities.


August, 2013: RACC’s Literature Review documents diversity initiatives undertaken by arts and culture organizations nationally.

April, 2013: RACC’s Equity & Outreach Plan (PDF) responds to the community’s changing demographics and various inequities that exist regarding access to arts and culture in RACC’s service area.

July, 2012: Summary of RACC’s panel discussion on Equity (PDF): On July 25, 2012, RACC hosted a panel discussion on equity, diversity, inclusion, access and outreach. More than 60 representatives from arts organizations, foundations, and other agencies attended the gathering hosted by the Portland Art Museum. This document includes key points from the discussion.

May, 2012: RACC launches language support services (Press Release). RACC now produces many of its materials in Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese, and provides printed translations of its other materials upon request. RACC can also provide in-person and over-the-phone language interpretation support as needed; call 503-823-5071

February 25, 2012: Portland introduces new diversity goals for local arts and culture groups seeking public funds, by DK Row, The Oregonian.

November, 2011: RACC’s year one progress report on Equity and Diversity (PDF)


Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights

Multnomah County Office of Diversity and Equity

The D5 Coalition: National funders working to make philanthropy more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

Equity Stories, a project of the Coalition for a Livable Future

An Introduction to Racial Equity Assessment Tools, from Race Forward

Racial Equity Strategy Guide (PDF)

From the Inside and the Outside Tools and Strategies for Change

Equity tools: Case studies in budget filters and community engagement (page 16, especially)

Equitable Development

National Arts Marketing Project: Attracting Diverse Audiences (PDF)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Audience Development Manifesto

Population Research Center at Portland State University

Metropolitan Knowledge Network at Portland State University

Greater Portland Pulse: Challenges to Measuring Racial Equity

A map of racial distribution in Portland (scroll down to the 13th map)

Regional Equity Atlas


Say Hey / Partners in Diversity

Colored Pencils Art and Culture Council

NAYA’s Native Professionals & Friends Night

LAX/IdeAL – the Latino Artists eXchange / Intercambio de artistas Latinos

Urban League of Portland

The Urban League’s Young Nonprofit Professionals of Portland

Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

Oregon Native American Chamber

Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon

African American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon

East Portland Chamber of Commerce

Portland Emerging Arts Leaders