Save the Children: Continuing Our Progress Towards DEI

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (May 25, 2021) – Save the Children is deeply focused on fostering a culture of belonging, where we celebrate our diverse workforce, all staff are supported, treated equitably and have opportunities for growth. Quarterly, we share progress on our ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as well as the areas where we must accelerate our pace. We last shared our DEI progress in February.

Save the Children’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is rooted in an understanding of historic racial, economic and social inequities and a firm belief that differences in perspectives, experiences and identities lead to stronger teams and bring us closer to our vision for a world in which every child can reach their full potential. We live out this commitment by not only staying true to our mission, our values and our hope – but taking action – towards a more equitable and just world.

Our Progress Made 

Listen and Learn

  • In honor of Black History Month, our B.L.A.C.K. (Brave Leaders Advancing Culture & Knowledge) Employee Affinity Group (EAG) led a series of events including discussions on Black culture, African-American history, staff wellness sessions and a celebration of Black people that featured the talents of children enrolled in our U.S. programs.
  • To celebrate Women’s History Month in March, our Gender Equality Team hosted a Courageous Conversation entitled "Co-Creating a Feminist Future.” We continue to hold courageous conversations at the divisional and team levels, including on inclusive language and storytelling.
  • We created space for Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) colleagues to come together amid the recent rise in anti-Asian violence and hate crimes. We stood up a new AAPI EAG.
  • We also stood up a new EAG for our Early Career Professionals.


  • We welcomed a diverse class of new Trustees to our Board in February 2021, increasing people of color from 25 to 32 percent. Fifty-three percent of our Board identifies as women, a 3 percent increase from 2020.

Talent & Opportunity

  • Our Talent Attraction and Acquisition Team partnered with B.L.A.C.K. and other colleagues from our EAGs and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to represent Save the Children at 13 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) career fairs in Q1, bolstering our applicant flow by 280% for our summer internship program.
  • We recently hired a Howard University graduate with outstanding HBCU networks who is amplifying our talent sourcing strategies, including weekly engagement with staff and our EAGs to drive diversity outreach and referrals. They have also partnered with recruitment leaders in other INGO organizations to collectively address and improve diversity recruitment initiatives in our sector.
  • From January through mid-May, 52 percent of all hires identified as non-white, up 7 percent from this period last year. The diversity of our applicant pool (excluding Head Start) remained at 53 percent.
  • We conducted a race and gender review of our professional development program participants to ensure equity.

Our Work

  • We co-hosted an event with the Women’s Refugee Commission on gender-based violence during Women’s History Month. We brought several girl advocates to various events over the course of the month, including an International Women’s Day Congressional event and the UN-led Commission on the Status of Women.
  • We launched a Gender and Power (GAP) Analysis Training for staff across the global organization. Between January and March, staff representing all of the regions in which Save the Children works learned how to conduct a GAP Analysis to advance gender equality and social justice in our programming and advocacy.
  • In our U.S. programs, we hired Sr. Collective Impact Specialists in Miss. and S.C. as well as a Community Engagement Specialist in Tenn. These specialists all work in communities that serve a significant number of children of color.
  • Our U.S. Programs team has funded projects identified by B.L.A.C.K. to benefit our Miss. and S.C. programs, ranging from book clubs with discussion on culturally appropriate books to virtual field trips that help students understand their heritage.
  • Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) completed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workshop for over 150 of its Volunteer Leaders, Student Ambassadors and staff across the country. SCAN also developed an online educational training series for all future staff and advocates.
  • We have created a specific fund for disability-related employee accommodations. This funding will help ensure our technology – among other things – is accessible and will enable all our staff to more easily access the resources and tools needed to be successful in their work.

Our Work Underway

Listen and Learn

  • We held a number of workshops for staff, hosted by the Racial Equity Institute in Q1, with three additional sessions scheduled this month. These workshops have been received very positively by staff, and are helping us build a practical understanding of structural racism.
  • Beginning in June, we will incorporate an anti-racism training into our onboarding training for new employees, as well as to our annual training for current staff later this summer.
  • Following our 2020 Culture Survey and a thoughtful review process, we recently launched an internal report detailing key themes, analysis and eight recommended areas of focus for the organization in 2021. The survey and report serve as key accountability mechanisms to ensure we are cultivating a workplace where all staff feel valued, respected, like they belong and are treated fairly. 
  • The Disability and Wellness Network (DAWN) EAG is collaborating with Human Resources on accommodation policies to better support employees with chronic illnesses and disabilities. They are also working to bring in an outside speaker for an upcoming Courageous Conversation.
  • Proud@Save, our EAG for LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies, is planning a host of events for Pride Month in June. They are collaborating with our other EAGs on events and with our B.L.A.C.K EAG on a virtual gallery leading up to Juneteenth.

Talent & Opportunity

  • We announced EmPOWER, an internal mentoring program focused on professional development of junior and mid-level staff who are also people of color. The program will officially launch in June.
  • We will finalize a broad review of our compensation structure by late August, which will include a fairness analysis to ensure there is pay equity regardless of race or gender.

Our Work

  • Our policy and advocacy colleagues held meetings with disability-focused organizations to lay the groundwork for future collaboration on advocacy. The team also hired a Disability Inclusion Fellow for the summer. 
  • We have formed a localization coordination group with colleagues from across the organization to align our efforts on how we can shift power and resources closer to the point of impact. This group hosted a Lunch and Learn session for internal staff to share work underway in this area.
  • Our Disability Accelerator Program, a 6-month program to spearhead disability inclusive programming across selected countries where we work, will be expanding from three to five countries.
  • We are currently recruiting for a Sr. Specialist, Disabilities & Inclusion, who will help strengthen our U.S. program offerings and technical assistance to be more inclusive of children with different abilities.
  • We signed the Equitable Recovery Pledge with other national organizations to ensure equity is front and center in decision-making and institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re jointly advocating that federal and state funds be distributed with an “equity lens” and take into account the disproportionate needs facing communities of color, particularly those in rural America.
  • We are proactively and thoughtfully transforming our imagery and communications across multiple channels to put forward the voices of the children and families we work with and better reflect the diversity of the communities where they live.
  • We are currently improving our internal processes and systems to more accurately identify which of the small businesses we work with are minority, women and veteran-owned. These enhancements will be complete by the end of June. In addition, we are also working to more actively market business opportunities to diverse vendors and consultants whenever possible.  

Our Gaps and Opportunities

  • Our new Senior Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging will join the organization at the end of June.
  • Coming out of the 2020 Culture Survey and subsequent focus group discussions, our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is reviewing the impact of time dedicated to activities not covered by grants but that contribute to our organizational culture – for example, DEI efforts and participation in EAGs.
  • Also from the Culture Survey, we are exploring ways to assess disability inclusion in our facilities and LGBTQIA workplace inclusion. 
  • Our EAGs frequently, but not always, have an SLT member who serves as an executive sponsor. To ensure all EAGs have access to leadership and equal opportunity to advocate for improved policies and employee experience, an effort to connect EAGs with an SLT-level executive sponsor or champion are underway. 
  • Our commitment to diverse hiring panels is an effort to build a workforce that is more reflective of the communities in which we work. This has put an additional burden on diverse colleagues, who are often asked to participate in multiple hiring panels.
  • We seek to engage more local partners in our international work, particularly early on in the process when designing programs. We’re also working to shift power and decision-making directly to our partners who come from the communities where we work. We are being much more intentional about this, and are currently working with global colleagues to improve the process by which we identify and collaborate with new and potential partners.

Every day, Save the Children works to close equity gaps so all children have the opportunity to survive, thrive and be protected. We are resolute in our ambition to fight discrimination of all forms, both within our organization and within the communities we work. Save the Children is more determined than ever to build an inclusive organization that draws strength and inspiration from our differences as well as the children and families we work with. 

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we've been advocating for the rights of children worldwide. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming the future we share. Our results, financial statements and charity ratings reaffirm that Save the Children is a charity you can trust. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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