Katharina Cavano l Palladium - Mar 24 2023
CREED Celebrates One Year in Action

Attendees and members of CREED at the first anniversary celebration in February 2023.

It’s been a year since the launch of 'CREED’ – the Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Development – and according to Founder and Chair, Palladium Senior Advisor Indira Ahluwalia, it’s been a year of momentum.

“Before the launch, we weren’t talking about racial and ethnic equity (REE) within our organisations, nor were we talking about it in the industry,” she says. “CREED has ensured that REE is now a sustained and strategic topic of interest in our sector.”

CREED is made up of medium and small for-profit and not-for-profit U.S.-based organisations working in international development and humanitarian assistance. “We’ve gone from it being an idea that was being developed by nine different organisations including Palladium, to a movement upheld by 107 organisations,” Ahluwalia explains. CREED Signatory Members have all signed the REE pledge, which signals their commitment, action, and accountability for achieving racial and ethnic equity in both in the development and humanitarian sector and specifically within their own organisations.

Since launching last year, CREED has held six events, received the support of industry associations, engaged in on-going dialogue with leaders at USAID, the State Department, and the MCC, and expanded the board to 20 organisations. “We held learning events for our signatories this past year for the first two components of the REE pledge and will cover the three remaining components in this year,” adds Ahluwalia. “Right now, we’re building learning and community and our goal is to instil accountability into the system and remove any doubt for organisations on how to operationalise racial and ethnic equity.”

This is only the beginning, says Ahluwalia; now that development professionals are talking about REE, the next step is accountability. “By doing this in the way that we are, as a strategic initiative led by leaders, we’re trying to embed it in our institutions.”

“Our goal is for it to be a leadership imperative that is managed strategically with budgets set aside and the ability to establish and then monitor REE indicators so that we can very clearly speak to progress,” she explains.

Part of that process is having organisations bought in and on board.

As a founding member, Palladium has been at the table since the beginning, leading the Learning Committee as well as the research and learning around the first pledge component. Palladium recently hosted the CREED anniversary event in Washington, DC, and also leads the newly constituted Finance and Fundraising Committee with Palladium Managing Partner Maria Martinkov at the helm.

“Palladium has and continues to take on leadership roles and make strategic investments in CREED to demonstrate the importance of REE within and beyond our company.”

Ahluwalia notes that a cornerstone of CREED is serving our own staff first and foremost and creating a sense of belonging where every individual feels safe to be fully themselves – something that Palladium continues to prioritise.

“When we can achieve that—when every staff person feels that they don’t have to hide their accent or assimilate—then we get the best of each individual’s spirit and performance.”

The coming year brings promise of enormous opportunity for CREED. In an effort to sustain growth and impact, the CREED Board Executive Committee has put into place a process that will allow the organisation to achieve formal 501(c)(3) status in 2023. “By institutionalising CREED, we aim to add staff to our large volunteer base of leaders and experts and continue to grow our signatory base and learning community,” Ahluwalia adds. “In the meantime, we have brought on a fiscal agent to help organise our funding and have raised funds from our signatories members base that will be used to engage interns and additional support as we grow and develop the CREED organisation.”

For Ahluwalia, it’s about getting every organisation in development involved with CREED. “If you’re not a part of it, why not? What’s stopping you?” she asks. “If we’re to create change, we need to have a baseline understanding and if we don’t have that, the goals aren’t credible.” Ultimately, she wants to see people unafraid to talk about building REE and adding their voices to the chorus of already growing list of leaders and practitioners giving their time, energy, and organisational resources to the cause.

Learn more about CREED, watch the anniversary event video, and contact info@thepalladiumgroup.com for more.