Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) begins at home. At the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we are committed to doing our part to dismantle systemic racism and inequality and to champion equitable opportunities—both in our external work and internally at CZI.

To help build a more just, inclusive, and equitable future, we embrace people from all backgrounds and experiences, who challenge each other’s assumptions with fresh perspectives. To that end, we are co-creating an environment where everyone feels respected and valued, and we celebrate the beauty in the diversity of our shared strength.

We’re committed to fair treatment, access, and advancement for all members of the CZI team—from interns to management. A sense of belonging is important to us, so we strive to actively foster a workplace where everyone is and feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued.

Group of CZI employees in symbolic power fist t-shirts, smiling and leaping in the air before heading out to AfroTech (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).
CZI employees pose in a group photo before heading out to AfroTech. Taken at CZI Headquarters in Redwood City, California | Photograph by CZI
CZI employees pose in a group photo before heading out to AfroTech. Taken at CZI Headquarters in Redwood City, California | Photograph by CZI
DEI Begins at Home

We still have much work ahead to advance DEI as we strengthen our own practices within CZI. Below is a summary of our current internal DEI efforts including recruiting practices, a snapshot of CZI’s diverse workforce, employee perspectives on DEI, our support for DEI learning, and more information on our employee resource groups.

Recruiting and Representation at CZI

We believe a diverse workforce is a necessity to be successful in our mission. We work to ensure we have considered candidates from a wide range of backgrounds before making a hiring decision. In 2020, we launched a robust program embedded into our recruiting and hiring practices known as the Diverse Slate Practice (DSP). This practice requires that managers consider a wide range of candidates on-site for every position, including considering female applicants and candidates from EEOC underrepresented minority (URM) or protected categories for our technology and operational roles. We identify if someone is a particular demographic through the use of voluntary self-identification (VSI). Here is a snapshot of what representation at CZI looks like.

CZI Employee Demographic Data
DEI Learning Journey

We are committed to a learning journey to build more trust, transparency, and accountability in our work to make CZI a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. All CZI employees have access to a repository of DEI resources, which can be accessed through their $2,500 professional development funds. In addition, our DEI team provides opportunities for everyone in the organization to grow in their DEI learning journey. We offer training by experts in the field as well as a DEI learning series, which can include guest speakers, lunch and learns on DEI-related topics, and a book club with renowned authors.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

We want everyone—regardless of age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, or perspective—to feel excited to work at CZI every day. We're proud of our employee-led resource groups, which help to create safe and inclusive environments for everyone and help empower personal and professional growth. These groups aim to build community among staff as well as to advance awareness and celebrate cultural diversity within our networks at CZI and beyond.

Meet Our Team

Belinda Stubblefield VP, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Sarah Akutagawa DIRECTOR, DEI LEARNING & CONSULTATION
Danielle Jenkins PROGRAM MANAGER, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Tyrone Fleurizard PROGRAM & OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE, DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Thato Ramoabi PROGRAM MANAGER, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Lacey Veal PROGRAM MANAGER, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Investing in Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Racial equity cannot be a siloed goal. As we work to build a better future for everyone, CZI is committed to centering racial equity throughout our work as well as supporting partners directly working within the equity and inclusion ecosystem. Here’s a summary of where we’ve invested as part of our initial $500 million commitment over the next five years to support organizations and leaders addressing racial equity, diversity and inclusion. CZI is committed for the long-term and we are just getting started.

Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Grants

In addition to key investments to date across our work, our five year commitment includes directing $100 million to support partners who have been and will continue creating conditions for organizations, communities and individuals at the front lines of the fight for equity to thrive. In 2021, CZI announced an additional 90+ new racial equity, diversity and inclusion grants to support these partner organizations. Read our FAQs for more information.

Our Work

These are some of the key racial equity, diversity and inclusion investments to date across our work in science, education, and within our communities and how we are supporting our partners with the tools they need to make an impact.

Stylized Science icon of a microscope.

Science

  • Science is a powerful tool to catalyze discovery and innovation to improve and extend lives. Yet on a global basis, biomedical science is also rife with systemic disparities, inequities, and injustice. People of color and marginalized communities have experienced a long history of exploitation in the name of scientific research, and indeed science has itself been deployed as a tool of oppression. In the United States, the burdens of these injustices disproportionately impact people of color, including Black, Latina/o/x, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities.
  • We aim to deepen our learning of systemic racism and how to address it in biomedicine, incorporating equity as a key lens in our grantmaking, and embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion principles at the heart of our strategic priority-setting. We will do this by challenging ourselves to ask, in all that we do:
    • Who does the science?
    • What science is being done?
    • Who is at the table?
    • Who has access?

    Read more about our commitment to scientific equity in Nature Medicine.

  • We are continuously learning and improving our practices through our grantmaking, technology development, scientific events, and community building. We strive to bring together diverse scientific teams that incorporate a wide range of lived experiences and perspectives. We believe resources created and used by scientists need to be inclusive and explicitly representative of communities of color. We aim to take an equitable and participatory approach to how we define and evaluate the success of our grants, and we are dedicated to making tools, methods, and datasets accessible to a broad set of researchers and communities.
  • CZI is partnering with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to support projects led by excellent biomedical researchers who—through their outreach, mentoring, teaching, and leadership—have a record of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in their scientific fields. CZI is also supporting the inclusion of data from tissue samples from ancestrally diverse donors in the Human Cell Atlas, an effort to map all healthy human cells in order to better understand and treat disease.
  • Black, Latina/o/x, and Indigenous communities and other communities of color in the United States are disproportionately burdened by COVID-19, further exacerbating the stark health disparities that exist. To increase statewide testing capacity in California, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub) and UCSF created a COVID-19 testing lab with financial, product, and engineering support from CZI. The lab provided free testing for populations across California that might otherwise not have access to tests — including for undocumented, uninsured, and unsheltered populations, and people in nursing homes and prisons.
  • In order to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccination support and build capacity in areas hardest hit by the virus, we partnered with a number of grassroots organizations working on COVID-19 recovery efforts. We’re proud to partner with:
    • Unidos en Salud, a collaboration of UCSF healthcare providers, CZ Biohub infectious disease experts, and community organizers.
    • The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, supporting a cohort of 110 California community-based organizations to prioritize community engagement, public health communication and outreach, and building trust in the COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Made to Save, an education and grassroots organizing campaign working to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • CZI supports increasing diversity and representation in science reporting and the science journalism ecosystem through the following initiatives and more:
    • Hyperlocal news outlet Mission Local has reported extensively on COVID’s overall disproportionate impact in San Francisco’s Mission District, a predominantly Latina/o/x neighborhood. Their coverage provides helpful bilingual community messaging, compiling clear summaries of infection rates, publishing articles on where to access food and wellness resources, and more. CZI is supporting Mission Local in hiring a dedicated science reporter and bringing on interns from underrepresented communities. 
    • A grant to The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project to establish the COVID Racial Data Tracker to collect, analyze, and publish the most up-to-date race and ethnicity data on COVID in the US. CZI also provided funding to support The Atlantic’s COVID-19 reporting, ensuring their coverage was made freely available and reflected the issues affecting communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
    • The Sharon Begley-STAT Science Reporting Fellowship, which provides a paid reporting position at STAT for early career journalists from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups that includes an MIT educational component in partnership with the Knight Science Journalism program.
    • Expansion of The Root’s coronavirus coverage into comprehensive, multimedia examinations of largely untold stories like how Black Americans are recovering from COVID, the effects of COVID on Black undocumented immigrants, and the Black transgender community and access to medical care.

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Stylized Education icon of the outline of a brain with a flowering plant rising up in front of it.

Education

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative envisions a country where demographics are not predictive of student outcomes and every child enters adulthood with the knowledge, skills, habits and agency they need to realize their full potential. CZI’s earliest education grants, back in 2016, were made in support of a more racially diverse education system and current investments in the last year include:

In partnership with a number of organizations such as 228 Accelerator, Camelback Ventures, Promise54 and the Equity Lab, we have also been working internally to develop our team’s capacity to more deeply investigate the impacts of systemic racism in education. We are committed to expanding beyond these efforts and look forward to continuing to work alongside our employees and partners to diversify our team and support the success of our leaders of color.

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Community

The San Francisco Bay Area has experienced unmatched prosperity and growth, but has one of highest rates of economic inequity in the country. We cannot create a future for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color without addressing structural racism and inequities in our community. CZI’s Community team works in service of a more just Bay Area and California where people impacted by structural racism and inequities can shape their communities. We also strive to embrace racially and equity centered solutions that help preserve, protect, and produce more affordable housing, so everyone has access to a safe, reliable place to call home.

  • Through the Community Fund, our local responsive grantmaking and capacity building program, we partner with organizations helping to create a more socially, economically, and racially just San Mateo County. Through their programs and services, Community Fund partners are increasing socioeconomic opportunity for people of color and other communities in San Mateo County, including low-income households, immigrants regardless of documentation status, and people who identify as LGBTQIA+. Since its launch in 2017, the Community Fund has granted more than $12 million to local organizations.
  • COVID-19 exposed and exacerbated the health and economic inequities experienced by Black, Latinx, and other  communities of color in the Bay Area. Our local response to the pandemic specifically addresses the needs of communities most impacted by COVID-19, supporting organizations and programs that are providing relief and long-term recovery for individuals and families who are bearing the brunt of the crisis. 

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Movement & Capacity Building

We’re constantly working to better tackle equity head on, and to better support our partners and the communities we serve. Our Movement & Capacity Building team manages grant partner training sessions open to all CZI grantees across our core focus areas—Science, Education, and within our communities. As part of the wider program, many of our sessions focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We partnered with Danielle DeRuiter-Williams from The Justice Collective, on a series on Core Concepts of Race, Equity and Identity. We partnered on sessions with Libero Della Piana and LeeAnn Hall from the Alliance for a Just Society. Nicole Sanchez from Vaya Consulting delivered a series on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion In The Workplace and Adriana Barboza, Carmen McClaskey, and Jamilyn Bailey from The Management Center led a series entitled Key Management Practices with Race Equity Lens. In addition, the Movement & Capacity Building Team held in-depth embedded trainings for single issue cohorts to support impacted communities such as Housing and Science. For each of these coalitions we leaned into anti-trauma, restoration, and increasing DEI across many levels.

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