Whether working internally alongside metro area leaders or independently as an entrepreneur, our founder, Sheryl Ude, has made a name for herself in driving real systemic change across complex cities and issues. She puts her heart on the line for community first. Let our track record speak for itself.
Photo credit: Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
Millions of dollars moved from policing and corrections to more community-based services to support diversion and minimize incarceration.
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Reimagining Atlanta City Detention Center into a Center for Equity
Known as Atlanta's largest racial equity & community engagement undertaking, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had a bold vision to transform the detention center into a space for increased resources, wellness, and healing for marginalized communities. Sheryl led a highly complex strategy to implement systemic change. She built consensus and aligned vision with city leaders, state policy makers, celebrities, community advocates, the business community, academia, and consultants on defining equity and policy goals. She launched a 52-member task force and chaired a 25-member planning team to inform vision and direction. Sheryl further engaged and initiated partnerships with Bloomberg Associates, universities, and HBCUs to drive evidenced-based strategies and learning. She designed a citywide community engagement strategy reaching over 600 city employees and residents in-person and over 2,000 individuals virtually.
Increasing Contracting Opportunities for an Underserved African American Community
San Francisco, CA
Less than 4 percent of San Francisco's contracting dollars were awarded to the Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco. To generate economic development opportunities, Sheryl led a community needs assessment to understand barriers to grant funding. She launched a community-informed, multi-collaborative fair with over 15 County leaders and 100 nonprofits and businesses. Participants joined in workshops on City grant pursuits best practices; breakout sessions with topics generated from Bayview-Hunters Point residents; and applied for business licenses onsite.
Approved City vendor applications increased by 50%; participants stated they were more equipped to navigate applying to City funding opportunities; and District Supervisors now had a model for multi-department and community collaboratives.
Program was fully refunded for $350M, and a performance measurement enhancement program was established to better track youth academic and socio-emotional outcomes.
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Evaluating Universal Preschool and Sports, Library, Arts, and Music Programs in Public Schools
San Francisco, CA
Sheryl partnered with school district decision makers to launch the City of San Francisco’s first-ever, large-scale 10-year evaluation of universal access to preschool and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) sports, library, arts and music programs (SLAM). After working with school district leaders to understand implementation and administration challenges, she translated over 900 outcomes measures to a succinct presentation to community and school leaders; developed a robust advisory report to the Mayor and Controller on how to restructure and reprogram services, and developed rigorous and people-centered performance measures.
Reducing Youth Crime through Workforce & Enrichment Interventions
In 2016, youth crime and repeat offenses were 100 percent African American in Atlanta, GA. The Mayor charged the Atlanta Police Department, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and WorkSource Atlanta (“WorkSource”) to lead a short- and long-term strategy. Sheryl drove the overall strategy, collaboration, and planning for stakeholders who typically work in silos. She then conducted a community-needs assessment and program evaluation with youth and their parents. She then led community data validation strategies and conducted national best practice research on youth crime reduction interventions. She launched a mayoral luncheon and community resource fair which included over 20 community-based programs.
During the summer of 2015 listening sessions, youth stated that they needed jobs and summer camp to address repeat offenses. Over 80 identified youth were placed in either jobs or summer camps and participated in weekly "blow out" sessions; youth crime went down to zero during the program period.
* Blow Out Sessions - youth met weekly at one of the Parks and Recreation Centers for mentor-facilitated topics where they could express ideas, concerns, and solutions to neighborhood-level issues and life skills training.
The development of over $300 million in equity and community-prioritized infrastructure project list (by cost/benefit, resilience, carbon, vulnerability, and equity goals) that aligns collaborators and leaders.
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Operationalizing Equity in Clean Energy
The District of Columbia faces major obstacles in protecting the health and well-being of its communities in its resilience and equity goals while decarbonizing critical infrastructure. There was a lack of a prioritized infrastructure project portfolio organized by carbon, vulnerability, equity, and financing that brings together local agencies and expedites funding. Sheryl led a multi-collaborative stakeholder crowdsourcing effort and coached leaders through creating an equity-driven energy evaluation that are not just environmentally sound but socio-economically just as well. To ensure diversity of thought, she established a 12-month Task Force and five subcommittees. Leading with community as its focus, the Task Force: 1) collectively defined equity within project's context; 2) developed evaluation tools across equity, carbon, and resilience goals; and 3) assessed the level of value and effort for each project opportunity.