Prosper Portland Equity Council

Contact: Meleani Bates, Equity Council Project Manager

The Equity Council is furthering our journey of inclusiveness as an organization through plans for staff training and facilitation, caucusing, informal meetings and raising awareness and promoting equity within Prosper Portland.

Equity Council

Equity definition

The City of Portland defines equity in the following way:

Equity is when everyone has access to the opportunity necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential. We have a shared fate as individuals within a community, and communities within a society. All communities need the ability to shape their own present and future. Equity is both the means to healthy communities and an end that benefits us all.

Advancing equity at Prosper Portland means the following:

  1. Because opportunities currently do not exist for everyone, equity is a restorative measure of redistributing benefits and burdens.
  2. Because as individuals we operate within systems that create inequities, equity requires both individual and systems level change.
  3. Because “business as usual” will not change by itself, equity requires transforming the culture that produces different outcomes of the organization.

Equity and equality are not the same thing. Equality is treating everyone the same, while equity is ensuring everyone has what they need to be successful. While equality aims to promote fairness, it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and has the same needs and goals.


  • Sharon Smith
  • Amarillys Zurschmit
  • Anne Crispino-Taylor
  • Kimberly Branam
  • Nan Rodriguez
  • Berk Nelson
  • Robert Smith
  • Chabre Vickers
  • David Koch
  • Caleb Comas
  • Cristal Finley
  • Meleani Bates

Guiding Documents

Strategic Direction

The Equity Council is a supporting body for agency-wide culture change and providing advice on organizational equitable practices to achieve it.

To achieve its purpose, the Council focuses on four main areas:

  1. Support the culture change towards a more inclusive and equitable culture

    • Assist in the identification of institutional racism and cultural barriers that prohibit equitable access to Prosper Portland resources
    • Provide leadership for creating a culturally responsive work environment
    • Model effective and inclusive engagement with underrepresented communities
    • Initiate and champion courageous conversations that increase employee awareness and sensitivity to issues of race, privilege, and inequity;
  2. Identify and enable training opportunities to support individual and agency-wide skill building

    • Provide support in the delivery of training, facilitation and other assistance, as necessary, to promote progress toward achieving Equity Policy objectives
    • Help Facilitate the involvement of the Prosper Portland Leadership Management in Council initiatives
  3. Review and provide input on key elements of the equity framework and equity action plan

  4. Act as conduits to/from respective teams for agency-wide discussions.