RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy

An illustration of people from diverse racial backgrounds. Image by Lyubov Ivanova / Getty Images

Illustration by Lyubov Ivanova / Getty Images

Against the backdrop of a pandemic that was already inflicting disproportionate physical and economic pain on communities of color, and an overdue reckoning with America's long history of systemic inequity and structural racism, the RAND Corporation has launched the RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy.

The center, funded by an initial $1 million from donor contributions and RAND’s own resources, will support a growing portfolio of innovative, high-impact racial equity research and analysis at RAND, create a clearinghouse to help coordinate related efforts, and collaborate with organizations dedicated to advancing racial equity. Fundraising for the center is a priority in RAND’s Tomorrow Demands Today $400 million campaign.

“The evidence is clear regarding persistent racial inequities in the settings that define our daily lives—the neighborhood, the hospital, the classroom, and the U.S. criminal justice system,” said Michael D. Rich, president and CEO. “RAND has an obligation to address these problems, but it will not be enough to conduct more research. We will need to convert that research into action.”

The center emerges from an effort by RAND to take stock of where it stands on how policy analysis is designed, framed, executed and translated, and the role of factors related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The center’s blueprint was developed with the input of RAND staff, and the center is part of a larger commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization’s operations and external engagement.

Our Mission

The RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy aims to develop and apply approaches and solutions that build racial equity-based systems and policies for the future.

Key objectives include

  1. use research, engagement and policy development activities to identify and apply effective approaches for rebuilding systems and policies that center racial equity
  2. foster dialogue about advancing racial equity-based systems and policies, both within and outside RAND
  3. promote development of current and future policy leaders with the skills to advance racial equity-based systems and policies.

Key components include

  • Centering racial equity in systems and policies. What does it take to examine, address, and sustain efforts to more fully integrate racial equity in systems and policies that serve the public good?
  • Catalyzing racial equity in systems and policies. How can we strengthen RAND’s connections with leaders in racial equity in order to move from talk to action?
  • Promoting racial equity values in policy leadership. How do we develop current and future policy leaders who can advance racial equity-based changes in systems and policies?

While focused on racial equity, center activities will emphasize the intersection of race with other factors such as ethnicity, age, economic status, gender and gender identity, geography, health status and disability, and sexual orientation.

Center Director

RAND is undertaking a search for a director to lead the new center. The director will have a track record in racial equity systems and policy research, including engaging diverse stakeholder groups and conducting outreach in areas such as community-building and dissemination of research and analysis findings.

For more information about the Center, please contact Anita Chandra, vice president and director, RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

In the meantime, we've highlighted a small sample of RAND research below that addresses the challenge of racial equity from a variety of angles.

Health and Well-Being


Security and Public Safety

  • Facial recognition on a mobile device, image by Irina Shi/Adobe Stock


    The Benefits and Risks of Face Recognition Technology

    May 14, 2020

    Face recognition technologies (FRTs) offer opportunities to improve identification efforts, but they also raise concerns about privacy and bias. Understanding the trade-offs between the utility and risks of FRTs is crucial for evaluating their adoption and implementation.

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Economic Opportunity

RAND's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion