Social Impact Initiative
“We are duty-bound to fortify the community through advocacy, participation, and education to bring people together peacefully in difference and diversity.“
— Clarence Lacy, Project Director + SII Council Member
What we're doing
We envision a future built environment where everyone is welcomed, uplifted, and encouraged to be their authentic self.
As part of our collective vision at RIOS, we organized a group dedicated to creating a future where one can move through space with dignity and safety — where our collective stories and experiences are reflected in the built space.
The Social Impact Initiative (SII) is a framework of measures that embeds diversity, equity, and inclusion into the RIOS culture. These terms guide our decision making and project approach, based on a commitment to Action, Accountability, and Authenticity. SII underscores our ability to prioritize social, environmental, and spatial justice in its work and daily operations – with the goal to advocate for a safe and equitable future for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
Defining Our Terms
What this means
Diversity as Representation
We seek to ensure that the faces of the company reflect the spirit of individuality. Emphasizing, celebrating, and finding opportunity in our differences.
Equity as Opportunity
Fostering, valuing, giving opportunity and emphasizing the importance each person has in achieving company goals. A conscious and intentional effort to ensure voices are heard in all aspects of the company, internally and externally.
Inclusion as Collectivism
Ensuring that everyone has equal access, potential, and opportunity. These are fundamental shifts to being an advocate and being celebratory of the community of identities we have created at RIOS.
How we're doing it
Our core principles guide our work and helps us cultivate a culture of action. Through positive action, we frame impactful project selection, fruitful relationships with our community, and an inclusive office culture. We remain accountable to our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals by addressing our biases, making progress for our collective betterment, and following through with our promises.
We believe in the call to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. We enter this work with a passion for making our firm and profession better.
We take genuine action to create and foster relationships, build community partnerships, support employee activism, and create a safe and supportive space for social impact.
Our Council holds us accountable by reporting our achievements and outcomes, giving us the ability reflect on lessons learned and check on our performance.
Who we are
Social Impact Initiative establishes and embraces leadership that transcends professional disciplines and established office hierarchy. Emphasizing lived-experience, diversity, and commitment as areas of expertise, this organization can provide those who typically aren’t in leadership roles to have the opportunity to make firm-wide policy and cultural shifts.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council
A leadership body made up of employees of all disciplines, and professional position to serve as a policy making body. This group leads the discussion and direction of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts for the office.
Committees are the tactical groups made up of the office at large. They are responsible for managing programming to reach goals set by the Council.
Personal and Collective Work
SII Council + External Mentorship
Human Resources Coordinator
SII Council + Recruiting/Internal Mentorship
Business Operations and Development
SII Council + Community Building
What we will achieve
Each objective of the Social Impact Initiative is a means to a more inclusive, just, and equitable thumbprint. The objectives serve as aspects of our current business practice and how we examine their symbiotic efficacy in creating spaces where everyone can be their authentic self. Each objective has a series of tasks to support the diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and targets of the Initiative.
Personal and Collective Growth
Through a critical evaluation of our values and culture, we work to create a safe, collaborative, and inclusive office environment that prioritizes justice and anti-racism.
Recruitment and Retention
Beyond hiring a diverse team, we embrace the importance uplifting, supporting, and promoting Black, Brown, and other underrepresented professionals within the office. We work towards a leadership that is reflective of the diversity of the world we impact.
RIOS has the capability to broaden exposure and the opportunity to design and entrepreneurial disciplines for Black, Brown, and other underrepresented communities. Part of our service is sharing our knowledge and expertise, knowing a diversity of thinkers and lived experiences benefits the built environment and the profession.
We imagine our design collective as an engaged and embedded partner in our immediate community of Leimert Park, as well as larger Los Angeles. As a steward in designing for communities, we strive for authentic and meaningful relationships through listening, uplifting community voices, and providing a platform to support social and environmental advancement.
Business Operations and Development
We emphasize meaningful selection of projects and collaborators that give our work a lens of justice and equity. SII serves as an accountability arm to ensure our design work is conscious of impacts to underrepresented communities and optimizes policies that improve social equity and enhance employee engagement.