Office of Social Equity & Innovation

Social Equity Event group photo
Social Equity Event group photo
Social Equity Event luncheon
Social Equity Event speaker with microphone

The Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation works with City agencies and departments to increase systems, policies, and practices that sustain Social Equity, Race, and Social Justice. The office oversees the citywide effort to eliminate social inequity and race and social injustices by evaluating institutional and structural government systems, policies, and practices to dismantle racism.

What is Racism?

Racial oppression is painful to experience and challenging to discuss. Discussions are difficult even when people respect and understand each other; they are harder when people use different ways of expression to convey different ideas.  To align our city’s focus on racial equity in local government, we want to clarify and define “racism” specifically to refer to individual, institutional and systemic racism. 

  • Structural Racism: All of the policies and practices entrenched in established institutions that harm certain racial groups and help others. 
  • Institutional Racism: Laws, customs, traditions, and practices that systematically result in racial inequalities in society.   Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which policies and practices of organizations or parts of systems (schools, courts, transportation authorities, etc.) create different outcomes for different racial groups
  • Interpersonal Racism: Interpersonal racism occurs between individuals. Once private beliefs come into interaction with others, this type of racism is now in the interpersonal realm. Examples include public expressions of racial prejudice, hate, bias, and bigotry between individuals.

**It’s important to know that systemic racism is strategic and intentionally designed into our policies, practices, and institutions or parts of systems that reproduce disparities that disproportionately impact communities of color and First Nations people.

About Our Office

Equity Values

  • Accountability and Transparency
  • Collaboration, Communication
  • Equitable Programs and Policy
  • Inclusion and Engagement
  • Innovation, Stewardship
  • Learning and Development


Focus Areas

  • Arts and Culture
  • Contracts for M/WBEs, SBEs, DBEs
  • Criminal Justice
  • Development and Sustainability
  • Youth and Education
  • Housing and Transportation

Core Services

  • Advocacy/Policy
  • Data/Analysis, Technical Guidance
  • Facilitation, Coaching, Collaboration
  • Learning and Development
  • Program Monitoring/Evaluation
  • Work Plans, Inclusionary Budgeting


  • Business Equity Leadership Team
  • Community Engagement
  • Employee Engagement
  • Identification of Equity Opportunities
  • Race and Social Justice Academy



Promote social equity, race, and social justice within the City and County of Denver.


The Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation shall lead efforts to eliminate social inequity and race and social injustices by evaluating institutional and structural government systems, policies, and practices.


  • Seek information and best practices to dismantle racial inequities.
  • Embrace ongoing engagement within our community and staff.
  • Integrate equitable practices and policies across all city agencies and departments.


  1. Denver will be an inclusive employer where city staff is valued, supported, and given the tools to advance social equity, race, and social justice. 

  2. Denver will be an inclusive city that integrates social equity, race, and social justice into policies, practices, programs, and budgetary decisions to create equitable outcomes.

  3. Denver will be an inclusive government that effectively engages the community to create equitable outcomes. 

  4. Denver will use nationally recognized research and data-driven practices to support the city’s progress toward social equity, race and social justice. 



  1. Use research-based practices to develop content and facilitate learning related to social equity, race, and social justice.

  2. All city agencies and departments will develop equity plans to identify social equity opportunities and prioritize strategies that align with citywide goals.

  3. Embrace ongoing engagement within our community.

  4. Utilize data to measure the progress of defined goals concerning social equity, race, and social justice.

Key Functions

Policy and Operations:

Improve policy, service delivery, and equitable distribution of resources to ensure that priorities of equity are integrated into key programs, practices, and processes.


  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Teams (EDI) will focus on developing tailored Equity Work Plans for their respective agencies/departments. Members of the EDI teams will utilize inclusive learning and development principles to identify equity goals and create the Equity Work Plans. They are expected to serve as role models for building inclusive practices, connect the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion as well as support continued awareness of relevant issues within their individual teams.
  • Racial Equity Tools:  The SEI Office will produce and provide equity implementation tools and resources to aid departments in operationalizing and achieving goals concerning social equity, and race and social justice
  • Each city department and agency shall develop an Equity Plan and include goals and strategies to eliminate inequity and race and social injustices in institutional and structural government systems, policies, and practices. The SEI Office shall provide requisite templates and tools that serve to aid in the development of Equity Plans

Learning and Development:

Race and Social Justice Academy: This culturally responsive training and development platform will equip all city employees with knowledge and skills to address racial disparities in housing, community health and economic mobility for marginalized communities of color and First Nations People. City employees will learn how to apply key concepts such as racial equity and inclusion, in addition to learning approaches to counteract institutionalized racism.

Collaborative Partners To Address Systemic Racism

Race Forward

Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity.

NLC’s Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) Initiative

NLC’s Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) initiative serves to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities.