Coalition for Racial & Ethnic Equity in Development
Equal Space for Every Creed & Race

The Pledge

For Racial & Ethnic Equity

The Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Development (CREED), represented by leaders of United States-based organizations working in international development and humanitarian assistance, pledges to build racial and ethnic equity (REE). We commit to addressing REE comprehensively within our own organizations’ policies, systems, and culture; and working to instill REE in international development.

We recognize the biases, discrimination, and harm caused by structural racism, and how that perpetuates inequities, exclusion, and hurt. As leaders, we take responsibility for building equity and racial justice, and promoting racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion in our organizations. We will strengthen our organizational ethos, behaviors, policies, and systems to bolster REE and build greater effectiveness. We will also support other ongoing efforts in this sector to build equity and decolonize international development with the goal of strengthening local ownership and leadership. We unequivocally state that advancing racial and ethnic diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within our own organizations and in our work is an inextricable part of our broad mission to build a more equitable world for all.

We acknowledge the intersectionality of social categorizations and that race and ethnicity do not exist independently of other identity markers, which often create a complex convergence of discrimination and oppression. Our actions to strengthen REE will be intersectional and inclusive of different identities and overlapping systems of inequality.

We unequivocally state that advancing racial and ethnic diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within our own organizations and in our work is an inextricable part of our broad mission to build a more equitable world for all.

To accomplish this goal, we must build awareness of and address systemic racism, institutional discrimination, western white centeredness, and white privilege in the international development and humanitarian assistance sector writ large. The specific purpose of this pledge is to document our commitment, action, and accountability for achieving REE in international development and humanitarian assistance, and specifically within our own organizations. In particular, this pledge places an explicit focus on building REE in our US offices as we must start with where the power is traditionally held and what is within the span of our control (i.e., policies, systems, and the culture within our organizations). This pledge serves as an initial step in our global commitment to building REE.

By signing this pledge, we endorse its ideals and commit to working toward achieving its standards. As leaders, we will determine the prioritization, cadence, customization, and implementation of REE activities that correspond to our respective organization’s needs. Our organizations will apply this framework to reinforce REE to its maximum advantage and strengthen the achievement of our operational and programmatic goals.

Together, the signatories of this pledge form the CREED Learning Community and commit to sharing our achievements, strategies, and challenges on the online CREED Learning Hub to continue to advance our mutual efforts. Ultimately, we hold our organizations responsible and accountable for building REE within our own organizations and in the international development and humanitarian assistance sector.

Sign the REE Pledge to Move Your Organization Forward

Organizations interested in signing the pledge would have socialized the pledge within their organizations and be prepared to endorse the pledge. To ensure organizational commitment, the pledge will need to be signed by the organization's executive leader.

For more information, please contact our .

Ready to sign the pledge? Please submit the form.

Pledge Components

The pledge encompasses the following five components that can significantly contribute to building REE in our organizations, create evidence-based learning, and transform the sector.

A list of terms used in the pledge.


Frequent questions, and their answers.


Component one

Policies and Systems

Standard: Commitment and accountability to REE in US-based organizational policies and systems.

Illustrative Roadmap

  • Criteria for defining REE policy and system integration
    • REE is explicitly addressed and applied (beyond diversity, equity, and inclusion [DEI] policies) to the organizations’ policies and systems
    • REE is developed in the context of a broader organizational commitment to DEI with regard for intersectionality with other identity markers
    • Policies and systems go beyond compliance with the law and drives organizational change to integrate REE as a measurable organizational value
    • Signed annual commitment to the REE policy by leadership
  • Examples of where the REE policy and systems commitment can be instituted: board and leadership representation, strategy, policy, ethics, and human resources (recruitment and retention), procurement, partnering, and internal and external communications
  • Examples of implementation strategies
    • Annual recommitment to REE policy by the leadership
    • Annual audit of application of REE to organizational policies and systems
  • Examples of reporting strategies
    • Internal: sharing results of pulse surveys, CEO updates, etc.
    • External: annual report outlines REE results against key organizational policies and practices, including board and leadership composition, human resources, procurement, partnering, and communications


Integration of the REE policy across existing and new organizational policies and systems


Accountability in fulfilling commitments, and transparency in policy and execution internally and externally


  • Commitment for REE expressed as an organizational policy
  • Application of the commitment for REE across all organizational policies and systems with corresponding accountability

Illustrative Measures

  • REE policy published
  • Flow-down of REE principles into organizational policies and systems, including key performance indicators for REE for all staff
  • Internal reporting for racial and ethnic bias, and public disclosure on REE policy impact
  • Whistleblower mechanism in place within our respective organizations and in the international development and humanitarian assistance sector

Component two

People, Leadership, and Organizational Structure

Standard: Racial and ethnic diversity across the organization regarding roles, responsibilities, and compensation parity.

Illustrative Roadmap

  • Enhance diversity at the leadership, senior management, and board levels to include consideration of racial and ethnic composition, underserved communities, gender, and socioeconomic background
  • Ensure that processes and criteria are inclusive and do not create roadblocks to a diverse candidate pool by re-examining the following:
    • criteria for all staff and board positions (including those that require technical education versus those that may not; consider prerequisites such as education, international living, and work experience)
    • written job announcements
    • recruitment methods of staff and board members to ensure a pipeline of racially and ethnically diverse talent across roles (e.g., recruit from lesser-known/smaller organizations; community colleges; historically Black colleges and universities; and institutions serving Asian American, Hispanic, Native American, and other minority communities)
    • interviewing, selection, and onboarding processes
    • succession planning for key staff and board positions
  • Develop a career progression plan for staff to ensure a pipeline of racially and ethnically diverse talent across roles that includes sponsorship for and mentorship to succeed in leadership tracks
  • Eliminate salary gaps for all staff working in the same or similar roles, with a specific eye to ensuring that race and ethnicity play no role in establishing wages (e.g., build on the model of how the sector is working to close the gender gap)
  • Increase transparency around diversity composition and compensation
  • Review for possible “founder effects” in the organization, and consider moving senior/long-tenure staff to positions as mentors or sponsors
  • Increase Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals working at the chief of party or project director level
  • Engage composition of BIPOC staff in organizational management and program leadership roles
  • Include adherence to REE values in performance evaluations including as key performance indicators


Recruitment, application, pipeline, retention, advancement, succession planning, and mentorship


Inclusion, representation, fairness in opportunities for voice, roles, and responsibilities, advancement, and equity.


  • Enhanced decision-making, productivity, morale, and retention through:
    • development of a racially and ethnically diverse leadership and governance pipeline
    • leadership, senior management, and board becoming more diverse and inclusive over a specified time bound period
    • diversity in points of view and approach leading to a more vibrant organizational culture

Illustrative Measures

  • Setting, meeting, and exceeding goals for board, leadership, and staff diversity and across all functions
  • Measuring and reporting on diversity metrics, including assessing change in those metrics and identifying areas of improvement over time
  • Procedures/policies in place to:
    • enhance REE diversity in recruitment, interviewing, and selection
    • increase successful hiring, retention, and career progression of diverse personnel with consideration to racial and ethnic composition
    • assess and commit to compensation equity over a time-bound period
    • holding organization accountable for adherence to REE values and goals

Component three

Organizational Culture

Standard: All staff feel respected and valued, and experience physical and psychological safety in the workplace.

Illustrative Roadmap

  • Clearly state REE principles as part of the organization’s core values and make those values a lived value for all staff by translating them through defined behaviors, practices, and leadership competencies
  • Increase leadership’s capacity and responsibility for promoting and reinforcing an inclusive work culture
  • Create safe spaces for all people to acknowledge the costs and impacts of stigma, bias, discrimination, harassment, microaggressions, and racism; and to engage in honest conversation, learning, and healing
  • Raise awareness and seek to change mindsets through ongoing internal capacity building for staff to be sensitized to the issues and increase REE competencies through trainings and staff resource groups
  • Develop meaningful action plans that are informed by staff experiences and perceptions, include self-reflection, and establish measures of progress
  • Employees demonstrate respect for each other and value for each other’s contributions and opinions
  • Demonstrate through feedback mechanisms, performance management processes, and decision-making opportunities how staff can be heard and have their voices valued


  • Apply at all levels of the organizations’ structures, including leadership, human resources, operations, management, business development, technical, and other divisions
  • Incorporate all staff, including project- or country-based staff where applicable, in all organizational REE efforts
  • Board members and senior management must demonstrate commitment continuously through actions as well as internal and external messaging


Safety, respect, belonging, value, and organizational need for diversity.


  • Increased equity and inclusion in organizational culture improve morale and productivity over time
  • Organizational culture to impact international development and humanitarian assistance sector culture over time

Illustrative Measures

  • Appropriate resources, including funding and paid staff time, dedicated to implementing REE initiatives are transparently tracked and reported
  • Data from ongoing pulse surveys are collected, analyzed, and incorporated into action plans, with data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, and other social factors.
  • Review of exit surveys, with objective reviewers, and clear action plans developed to address needed areas of improvement
  • Board, leadership, and senior management participation in REE capacity-building activities and feedback processes

Component four


Standard: Demonstrated implementation of REE commitments, measurement of progress in concrete ways, and regular reporting both internally and externally.

Illustrative Roadmap

  • Include key performance indicator for REE as part of the standard organizational performance and appraisal systems for all staff
  • Establish additional key performance indicator requirements for REE for leadership and managers
  • Set organizational metrics for REE and inclusion (beyond diversity), including regular review of metrics, and proactively use the metrics to address identified REE-related challenges
  • Report on and share REE metrics internally and externally
  • Commit and utilize funds for REE initiatives, including for level of effort for staff and consultants


  • Create, implement, and demonstrate REE progress to staff, board, partners, and other stakeholders through feedback loops and reporting mechanisms
  • Public accountability to uphold its commitments


Integrity, transparency, diversity of perspectives, and action-oriented and evidence-based progress


  • Agility and adaptiveness to organizational and staff needs
  • BIPOC staff retention
  • Increased morale, staff retention and advancement, and trust in the organization
  • Enhanced cultural sensitivity and better outcomes in programs and delivery
  • External public recognition of the organization’s commitment to REE
  • Organizational effectiveness

Illustrative Measures

  • Key performance indicators are analyzed and reported at both organizational and staff levels
  • Appropriate resources, including funding and paid staff time, dedicated to implementing REE initiatives are transparently tracked and reported
  • Systemized ongoing data gathering and reporting process instituted internally and externally and progress on REE metrics regularly shared with internal and external audiences
  • REE metrics achieved across the organization

Component five

Communications and Transparency

Standard: Leaders speak credibly and openly about REE goals, progress, and outcomes internally and externally.

Illustrative Roadmap

  • Build REE communications as a leadership responsibility
  • Create feedback loops with staff and externally with other organizations with intentional focus on racial and ethnic communities based on inclusive, equitable, and intersectional principles
  • Build cultural sensitivity and fluency to understand and address power dynamics, ethnocentric behavior, bias, microaggressions, harassment, discrimination, and intersectionality
  • Identify, pursue, and enact opportunities, across the organization, to increase diversity of thought and respect for all voices


  • Leadership takes responsibility for setting, communicating, and modeling the standards, behaviors, and tone, both internally and externally
  • All staff act as ambassadors for company culture and communications on REE across the organization, including country and project offices
  • Pledge signatory organizations participate in the CREED Learning Hub to promote adoption of REE practices and support a sector-wide shift toward greater REE in international development and humanitarian assistance


Respect, inclusion, sensitivity, accountability, and dedication


  • Build REE both within organizations and the sector by contributing to and participating in the CREED Learning Hub and other related communities of practice
  • Organizational cultures that consistently and unambiguously reinforce REE
  • Sector-wide collaborative and participatory effort towards REE is mobilized

Illustrative Measures

  • Conduct surveys to analyze:
    • Staff’s, leadership’s, and board’s awareness and understanding of REE goals and progress
    • Whether and how feedback loops are working, and actively address gaps
    • Staff are aware of whistleblower and anti-retaliation policies, and demonstrate knowledge of how to access these policies
  • Create feedback loop mechanisms such as all-staff meetings or small focus groups with a set time for questions and answers
  • Post REE goals and progress on commitments externally