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Borealis Philanthropy: How CURE Delivers Organizational Transformation Against the Odds

In July, Borealis Philanthropy interviewed CURE’s Dr. Judy Lubin (she/her). Click on the link below to read Judy’s full reflections on CURE’s resiliency throughout a turbulent past year and a half, and what learnings she is taking forward into the future.

Rewind: Last year was an overwhelming year for racial equity practitioners, whose gifts were called upon in record numbers by many organizations across multiple sectors.  What was that moment like for you?  

Judy: As we were getting lots of calls and email inquiries about working with us, one of the questions we were asking ourselves was: were we going to change our practice in any way? Were we going to do our work differently? Our process usually is nine months minimum to do racial equity organizational change work, but we started asking ourselves is there a racial equity organizational change process that we could develop to be responsive to the needs and the demand at the moment? And we realized that no, we can’t shortchange the work that needs to happen. It takes a certain level of time and care and attention to do really deep racial equity work, and we would just have to be very discerning in who we were partnering with to get a sense of what their needs are, how they are coming into the work, and whether they were ready to go into our process of deep reflection, training, assessment, and action planning.

From the last year and a half, what are 1-2 achievements that you are most proud of as it relates to CURE’s racial equity organizational change work? 

Judy: I certainly am proud of how we have adapted to the moment in terms of the pandemic really forcing us to figure out how we would do work that we normally would do in person that now is all virtual. Before COVID-19, we would travel to be in person with our client partners for all of our workshops and trainings, so we had to take the time to really adapt our training materials and curriculum to be in a virtual setting. And I personally at the beginning, was a little wary about whether we could have the types of conversations and dialogue that we normally have in person in a virtual setting. I have been surprised and really proud that we have been able to make those adjustments and have been able to hold space for the conversations and the work that needed to happen with our client partners.

What are 1-2 lessons or unresolved questions for you/CURE? 

Judy: How are we approaching racial equity work in a way that centers the trauma or recognizes the trauma that Black and brown people are experiencing coming into the work? Pre-pandemic, if there was someone crying in our sessions, it was often a white person crying; now it’s Black and brown staff crying in sessions. We’re hearing staff of color say that sometimes it can feel as if they’re placing their emotions and lived experiences on display for the benefit of learning and change that needs to happen among their white colleagues.

As a result of these dynamics, one of the questions that we’re sitting with is: how do we strengthen the ways in which we center and care for Black and brown people in the work, and are there additional spaces that we can help support? We’ve begun to do this with a couple client partners where we’ve held sessions focused on self-care for Black and brown staff, are actively encouraging affinity groups, and are asking partners to think about how to provide space, time off and compensation to Black and brown staff leading the change work happening in their organizations.

Read the full interview here.  

How CURE Delivers Organizational Transformation Against the Odds