How to Address Equity in a Meaningful Way in Federal Applications

  • July 27, 2023

Now more than ever, federal funders are placing emphasis not only on the project activities themselves but also on the project’s ability to positively impact Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB).

DEIAB is interwoven into the evaluation criteria for many funding opportunities. More Americans must participate in and benefit from the innovation economy to realize federal programs’ vision to strengthen U.S. economic and national security. This includes ensuring participation from historically underrepresented populations in technology and innovation—people of color, people from rural communities, women, veterans, and more. Diversifying the pool of inventors, researchers, funders, founders, and workers will spread growth to all corners and pockets of a region while also increasing the equity, accessibility, and diversity of the innovation economy.

Successful applicants will pursue impactful diversity and inclusion strategies that accelerate innovation and growth, increasing the equity, accessibility, and diversity of the innovation economy through creating pathways to higher education, training, upskilling, and accessible good jobs. Applicants to many federal grants will be expected to describe how the applicant and other stakeholders will actively engage underserved communities in planning and implementation and how benefits from the project will be shared equitably, especially with historically marginalized populations in the project’s region of focus.

When preparing a grant proposal for federal funding, it’s important to keep in mind that equity, inclusion, diversity, belonging, and accessibility are evaluation criteria for many funding opportunities. To address these criteria in a meaningful way, consider the following tips:

  1. Conduct a diversity audit of your organization. Look at the demographics of your staff, board, and volunteers to see if they reflect the communities you serve. If not, develop strategies to diversify your organization and demonstrate your commitment to equity and inclusion.
  2. Engage underserved communities in planning and implementation. Reach out to community organizations, schools, and other stakeholders to ensure that the benefits of your proposed program will be shared equitably. Consider holding focus groups or community meetings to gather input and feedback.
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to accessible good jobs. Describe how your program will create good jobs that are accessible to people from all backgrounds, including those historically underrepresented in tech and innovation.
  4. Use inclusive language throughout your proposal. Avoid jargon or language that may be difficult for some readers to understand. Use gender-neutral and person-first language and avoid assumptions about people’s identities or experiences.
  5. Consider partnering with organizations that have a track record of promoting equity and inclusion. By partnering with organizations that share your values and priorities, you can demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion that extends beyond your organization.
  6. Ensure your recruitment is culturally competent. This might mean hiring a community outreach personnel or liaison to help create recruitment messaging that speaks to a broad range of people and is inclusive of all.

By following these tips, you can demonstrate your commitment to equity, inclusion, diversity, belonging, and accessibility in a meaningful way in your federal grant proposal. Remember to keep the funder’s priorities and requirements in mind, and don’t be afraid to reach out to program officers for clarification or guidance. Good luck!

We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.