Report Offers Sweeping Four Year Plan to Increase Racial Equity in Dane County

August 31, 2015
County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, 608-333-2285
County Board

 Independent Analysis of  Government Operations Offers Strong Strategies for Change

A four year comprehensive plan to increase racial equity in the county will be presented to the Dane County Board of Supervisors later this week.  The report is a roadmap to increase racial equity in the county, encompassing five recommendations to deepen understanding of and commitment to racial equity.  The goal is to  make Dane County government more inclusive and engaging, increase access to economic prosperity, ensure the safety of all neighborhoods, and promote good health for all residents.


The Dane County Board of Supervisors retained the New York-based Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), in partnership with the Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE) to complete the analysis.  The consultants  will make a formal presentation at the September 3rd meeting of the County Board’s Executive Committee at 5:15 p.m. in room 201 of the City-County Building. It is the culmination of a six-month process that assessed the current state of racial equity in Dane County internal government operations, programs, and policies.


“This report is a call to action for Dane County government,” said Sharon Corrigan, Chair of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. “We need to be bold and aspirational as leaders to transform how we do business so that every aspect of county government plays a role in advancing racial equity. I look forward to working closely with the community to make  real change in Dane County,”  Corrigan said.. 

According to the report, “national best practice suggests government is most successful in addressing racial inequity when all employees and the institution normalize racial equity as a key value, operationalize racial equity via new policies and institutional practice, and organize, internally and in partnership with the community and other institutions. The CSI and GARE analysis enumerates the steps necessary for Dane County to truly transform into a racially equitable institution. The analysis outlines actions and strategies that, if implemented with urgency, will move the county toward eliminating racial inequities.”

The recommendations, outlined in detail in the report, are for Dane County to:

  • Develop infrastructure and tools to increase Dane County employees’ and residents’ understanding of and ability to advance racial equity.

  • Implement strategies to ensure Dane County is an effective and inclusive government that engages community and is responsive to its needs.

  • Ensure Dane County’s communities of color share in the County’s economic prosperity.

  • Ensure all neighborhoods and people are safe and racial disproportionalities in the criminal justice system are eliminated.

  • Ensure that all residents have healthy life outcomes.


“The recommendations provide community indicators, performance measures, and specific actions that Dane County can take to move from good intentions to realized positive outcomes,” concluded Corrigan.

The analysis included review of national best practice and existing county documents and data, interviews with county employees and elected officials, and a countywide employee survey. The Dane County Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) Strategic Leadership and Core Teams, which the county established in the summer of 2014, provided critical guidance and feedback.

“Today, racial disparities require our immediate attention as a united movement,” said Supervisor Shelia Stubbs. “As an elected official, it is imperative to address  the inequities that can exist at every stage of a person’s life.  This analysis is about confronting the ineffectiveness of current practices, policies and procedures.  It is a bold step to address the root causes that lead to racial disparities.  This report is a blueprint for Dane County to move forward with racial equity. It’s time for less talk and more action!”  

Dane County is the only county in the United States  that has hired  an independent third party consultant  to conduct a comprehensive  racial equity analysis of  its government operations. In recent years, the county has employed a number of strategies to address racial disparities, however, challenges remain for residents of color at every age and in every aspect of life. The report and recommendations make clear there are additional opportunities to increase racial equity across  county’s operations.


The report is available on the Dane County legislative tracking system at: (See agenda item “F”)