Organization Name: Equity Research Action Coalition

Focus Area: Littlest Learners
Region: United States
Sector: Non-Profit
Investment Year: 2022
The Equity Research Action Coalition operates within the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. The Coalition co-constructs research and evaluation with community organizations, policymakers, and advocates, supporting optimal development of Black and minoritized children plus marginalized communities. Intersection of research, practice, and policy uses anti-racist and cultural wealth frameworks to identify root causes of inequities to ensure children's health, wealth, and educational experiences are protected, promoted, and preserved. Interdisciplinary work focuses on early childhood research and evaluation, equitable policies, mentoring and training, plus counter-narrative communications. Since Spring 2021, funders have invested over $6 million in Coalition research.

Why We Invested

Early childhood research is a critical tool for developing and implementing effective policies, practices and strategies that improve children’s learning and well-being. While we know that racism and discrimination have a profound impact on children’s experiences, well-being and learning, there are few research centers in the US focused explicitly on the early childhood experiences of children and families from under-resourced communities, and even fewer focused specifically on Black children and families. The Equity Research Action Coalition, founded by leading scholar Dr. Iheoma Iruka, helps to fill this critical gap by supporting a growing network of talented researchers of color, who are applying their academic skills to producing action-oriented research that centers Black children and their families. We are proud to support the Equity Research Action Coalition’s efforts to ensure that the research used to assess and inform systems change is grounded in equitable approaches.

The Coalition develops evidence informing practice and policy aimed at eradicating impact of racism and its consequences, such as poverty, on lives of Black and other minoritized children, families, and communities. We are working with other organizations to uplift the agenda while centering Black people and their experiences in society. Black people have a culture which is of great value. This work is about affirming Black people, Black culture, plus Black children's joy and well-being.
Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Founding Director