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Originally developed by professor and critical race scholar john a. powell, targeted universalism is an approach to change management that simultaneously aims for a universal goal while also addressing disparities in opportunities among sub-groups.

This issue brief describes how FSG used a set of specific methods to clarify the essential elements of targeted universalism with the community stakeholders of a collective impact initiative focused on education outcomes in Staten Island.

Top Takeaways

Our engagement led to several insights for generating consensus:

  1. Help everyone understand local disparities by disaggregating data.
  2. Clarify options, including an overview of how targeted universalism can be used in practice.
  3. Make space and time for difficult conversations, and allow representative voices from the community to discuss concerns, opportunities, and trade-offs associated with population-level outcomes.
Perhaps our most important affirmation from the project was that putting equity into practice takes time, patience, and iteration.