Next Street has been on a journey to promote diversity, equity and inclusion since our founding, both through our external work and our internal practices. We are proud of the progress that we’ve made and the work that we’ve done to foster racial equity. Recent events continue to confirm that our work is only beginning and that we need to do more to support our employees, our clients, and the communities of color we serve.

Read the rest of our statement on being an Anti-Racist Institution here.

Next Street’s commitment to being an anti-racist organization is an ongoing and consistently evolving journey. We are always learning new ways to grow, and are excited to share the work we’ve accomplished so far, as well as our ongoing commitments towards our anti-racist agenda.

 

Our work to become an antiracist firm began in 2018 with a series of actions:

  • Management Team members attended Anti-Bias Anti-Racist Training in 2018-19
  • We launched an Inclusive Impact Committee, whose mission is to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of everything Next Street does, internally and externally in 2019
  • In spring 2020 following heightened awareness of violence against the Black community, we made additional commitments:
    • Created this webpage to hold ourselves accountable publicly for our work
    • Agitate for racial justice and system change through our individual and collective voice
    • Assess and challenge our beliefs, internal practices, and ways of working, including hiring from diverse groups
    • Act with partners to dismantle racist structures
    • Account for our progress publicly through measurement and reporting

To date, we have implemented the following changes:

  • Updated Next Street’s Board of Managers to include Managing Partner Charisse Conanan Johnson, better representing our anti-racist commitment and the expanding racial, gender, and experiential diversity of our team
  • In collaboration with Crossroads, all Next Street staff, including management and directors, have completed anti-racism training
  • Began an antiracist reflection and coaching process Racial Equity Consultants (REC) for the Inclusive Impact Committee and Management Team, and also worked with REC to institute racial identity caucusing for all staff
  • Committed a % of firm profits to businesses owned by BIPOC community members and designed grant program for launch in fall 2021
  • Released an Inclusive Language resource guide on common equitable language and definitions to use in our work
  • Provided Next Street Employees with an additional two days off annually to volunteer to combat racial inequity
  • Conducted analysis on race and gender pay and advancement equity
  • Trained all people managers on unconscious biases and how to identify and address them through our performance management process
  • Examined Next Street’s spend on outside suppliers and created a list of BIPOC-owned vendors for use as a firm and to be shared with partners
  • Continued to focus on building a diverse pipeline of candidates by recruiting at historically Black colleges and universities and posting our jobs on several job boards targeted at BIPOC communities
  • Incorporated discussion around our antiracism commitment into the interview process to screen candidates for willingness and potential to our advance our antiracist values
  • Hosted ongoing training and discussion sessions with staff for input on other changes needed
  • Updated our organizational mission statement and other language to better represent our intentions to become an antiracist firm and serve businesses that have been systemically held back

Going forward, we will hold ourselves accountable to the following additional commitments:

  • Continue to agitate for change both internally and externally
  • Launch grant fund for BIPOC-owned small businesses in fall 2021
  • Update Next Street offices to reflect our antiracist principles when we fully return to offices in January 2022
  • Create a long-term plan following our coaching work with REC

Our commitment does not end here. We will continue to apply what we learn through our Inclusive Impact work in support of our anti-racist commitments, and strive for antiracism in all our work.  Check out our work and publications pages for examples.

Racial Equity Resources

Our team is always learning. We’d like to share some of the resources we’ve gathered related to racial equity and small business. While no list is exhaustive and the learning process is continuous, we hope this list can provide additional perspectives for how racism affects the small business community.