Grantee Spotlight from Oklahoma

Implementing an Equitable Recruitment Process to Build a Diverse Partner Network


Equitable recruitment is a crucial part of ensuring that our programs and services are provided to the communities who are most in need. When we put processes in place to make sure that people from diverse backgrounds are represented, we increase the likelihood that all of the people we serve receive the help and support they need and deserve.
Ronneal Mathews, MPH, Director of Community Engagement at Thrive, Inc.
Logo of SPARK Innovation OKC

TPP Tier 2 (TPP20) Innovation and Impact Network grantees build partner networks that develop and test innovative approaches to improve adolescent health. It’s widely understood that having diverse partners at the table leads to stronger interventions that better reflect the community’s needs. But how do grantees go about creating a diverse partner network?

This is the question that Thrive, Inc.—a grantee from Oklahoma City innovating strategies to empower caregivers—puzzled over. Ultimately, Thrive decided to make their process for recruiting, reviewing, and contracting with new network partners more equitable.

To do so, the team:

  • Created a simple request for proposals that didn’t require 501(c)(3) status or a proposed budget, to minimize barriers for organizations with fewer resources
  • De-identified proposals and delegated proposal review to an independent group that included representation from youth and caregivers (the network’s priority populations), to avoid potential bias during the review process and make the process more inclusive
  • Provided stipends to proposal reviewers, to incentivize their participation and reinforce the significance of their role in the process
  • Awarded all new network partners the same amount of funding, to level the playing field across all organizations

This intentional process resulted in a diverse network of 12 partner organizations, now called SPARK Innovation OKC. Spark Innovation OKC includes public agencies and grassroots, faith-based, and advocacy organizations that represent a variety of historically marginalized groups. Joining the network gives these organizations an opportunity to shape interventions designed to support their community, as well as an opportunity to build their own knowledge and capacity around adolescent health and related topics.

For TPP Tier 2 grantees looking to pitch to potential partners, check out the Engaging TPP Program Partners: Slide Deck Template for Tier 2 Innovation and Impact Network Grantees. TPP Program grantees can also get helpful guidance from this Engaging Diverse Community Partners Job Aid, even though it’s designed for Title X projects.