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Imagine you’re a member of a cross-sector group focused on improving education outcomes. Student achievement is clearly uneven along racial lines, but you and your colleagues are unsure of what can be done to increase equity.

Or maybe you’re on the school board. You agree with parents that more needs to be done to support specific populations within the district, but others on the board want to avoid actions that may be viewed as special treatment.

How can you move your colleagues to make decisions that invest in those with the greatest need without sacrificing community-level goals or appearing to favor one group over another?

Our team at FSG is often faced with this situation when we work with clients. One approach for persuading others is “targeted universalism,” an approach to change management that simultaneously aims for a universal goal while also addressing disparities in opportunities among sub-groups. We recently used a set of specific methods to clarify the essential elements of targeted universalism with community stakeholders.


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