If we do our [research] well, reality will appear even more unstable, complex, and disorderly than it does now.
- Jane Flax


Equity Policy

The Root Cause Research Center (RCRC) is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of accountability, transparency, veneration, belonging, and liberation.

We believe that the people most impacted by an issue are best positioned to discover the root causes and solutions of that issue. Impacted people are the most qualified investigators on our team. The collective sum of our lived experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, self-expression, unique capabilities, and insights allow us to do extraordinary work.

We embrace and encourage every team member’s differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make that person unique.

To hold strong to these principles, our transformative accountability strategy includes: 

  1. The promotion of direct contact/discussion and open face-to-face contact between staff, board members, and affiliates; 

  2. Assuring that strategic decision-making is made collectively by staff, board, and affiliates by regularly reporting projects and creating opportunities for input and discussion; 

  3. Using policy and strategy-making as a means of learning and development; 

  4. Understanding that conflict is inevitable as well as a source of creativity;

  5. Regularly checking to make sure that the alignment of how we treat organizational members is congruent with values expressed in work; and

  6. By calling attention to power dynamics (place-based, role/hierarchy based, etc) when opening a meeting. 

RCRC’s equity initiatives are applicable—but not limited—to our practices and policies on recruitment and selection; compensation and benefits; professional development and training; promotions; transfers; social and recreational programs; layoffs; terminations; and the ongoing development of a transformational and healthy work environment.

Race & Class Statement

We believe in foregrounding the intersectional lens around race and class to build resilience in combating systems of oppression through justice and abolition, rather than focusing solely on veneer diversity metrics. In recognition of the lingering damage caused by racist strategies employed within the American Labor Movement, both historically and in the present, as well as the ongoing class issues grounded in White supremacy (i.e. respectability politics, colorism, assimilation pressures, etc) that exist in some Black spaces, we have chosen this intersectional path. Working foundationally at the intersections of race and class, RCRC is building resilience, collective power, and cross-racial solidarity across the state of Kentucky, and inevitably, across the American South.

Corporate Engagement Policy

Guiding Principle: The Root Cause Research Center (RCRC) will not accept gifts, enter into partnerships, or accept support that will compromise its commitment to its mission and essential values, as articulated in the organization’s strategic framework.

Definition of corporate engagement: “Corporate” refers to for-profit entities and related non-profit entities such as foundations and trade associations. “Engagement” includes grants, contracts and other transactions that provide for mutual legal obligations, and acceptance of donations including money, property and in-kind contributions. Engagement also includes strategic partnerships, corporate sponsor recognition, joint messaging, product certification, product endorsement, and cause marketing. Corporate engagement does not include routine commercial transactions with vendors or the sales of goods produced by RCRC in the open market. If there are doubts about whether a relationship would be covered by this policy, the question should be referred to our Co-Principal Investigators at the earliest possible opportunity.

Review of corporate engagement opportunities: Both Co-Principal Investigators will review all corporate engagements with the guidance of pertinent fiscal agents. They may authorize some categories of corporate engagement in advance. All other engagement opportunities will be approved on a case-by-case basis. The Co-Principal Investigators may refer unusual or controversial engagements to the Board and/or Accountability Council. Employees and other persons acting on behalf of RCRC are expected to inform the Co-Principal Investigators before initiating or responding to a corporate engagement opportunity and to provide full and complete information so that the engagement opportunity can be properly assessed.

Assessment of corporate opportunities: The following factors will guide the review of corporate engagements:

  • The nature of the engagement, including fiscal and programmatic control, level of investment, reasonability of conditions or restrictions, and any unusual financial or legal risks.

  • The extent to which the engagement is likely to advance RCRC’s core objectives, provide support for important programs and lead to a significant, productive relationship.

  • The extent to which the engagement is likely to affect the independence, reputation, or integrity of the entire institution and the availability of methods to reduce the risk of any adverse impact.


RCRC will not enter into corporate engagements that violate any federal, state, or local law, are financially unsound or could expose RCRC to unacceptable liability or other adverse consequences.

The Co-Principal Investigators will continually evaluate ongoing corporate engagements. They will report periodically to the Board.

Louisville, KY

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