Community Groups, COVID, and Diversity: Insights from the 2020 Gramlich Fellows

Location: Zoom

Speaker(s): Ben Demers, Kyle Yoder

How did community groups respond last summer as it became clear that the COVID pandemic was having significant impacts on communities of color? And how are those groups trying to make their boards more diverse and inclusive in light of the pandemic and growing awareness of continued inequality in key institutions? These questions will be the focus of presentations by the two graduate students who spent last summer as Gramlich Fellows in Community and Economic Development

Ben Demers, a dual degree student at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Graduate School of Design, will discuss his research on “How NeighborWorks Organizations Responded to COVID-19’s Racially Disparate Impacts,” which will be published later this year as a Joint Center for Housing Studies/NeighborWorks America working paper.  

Kyle Yoder, a student at HKS, will present “Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast: Promising Practices in Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Governance of NeighborWorks’ Organizations,” which will also be published a Center/NeighborWorks working paper. 

The Gramlich Fellowship in Community and Economic Development, which is co-sponsored by the Center and NeighborWorks America, gives Harvard graduate students the opportunity to identify, research, publish, and present promising approaches for addressing challenges related to affordable housing and community development. Fellows carry out this work independently but in close consultation with staff at both organizations. The application deadline for the 2021 Gramlich Fellowship is Friday, February 12, 2021. 

Download presentation slides:
Ben Demers (PDF)
Kyle Yoder (PPT)

Watch the video:

Photograph by Ted Eytan (Flickr).

Neighborhood during the COVID pandemic