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Equity Clinic Graduation

The Local Government Equity Clinic leverages the expertise and resources of the University and a nationwide network of subject matter experts and practitioners who use data to inform best practices and policies for the public good. The Clinic serves local government staff and leaders who are interested learning how to think critically about governance, data, and equitable decision making. After two successful cohorts within the Commonwealth, the Clinic is now offered nationally. 

This year's program will include live online sessions, required asynchronous reflection assignments, reading articles, and a final project. 

The Local Government Equity Clinic is a collaboration between the Virginia Institute of Government and the School of Data Science at the University of Virginia. The program leverages the expertise and resources of both organizations in alignment with shared goals around data for the public good and equipping communities with tools to promote good governance, equity, and resiliency.

“The Local Government Equity Clinic is more than just having a conversation. Sometimes it can be hard to transform mission statements into action. Our purpose is to better understand what it means to ‘apply an equity lens’ in practice and to increase confidence in articulating that process to other people.”

Siri Russell, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
School of Data Science and Special Advisor on Equitable Government Strategy to The Virginia Institute of Government


Apply to The Local Government Equity Clinic

 Clinic Program Details

Program Overview

The Equity Clinic meets twice a month (6 sessions total, with a final 7th session dedicated to project presentations). Sessions are seminar style, discussion based. 

There will be asynchronous assignments in between meetings, and participants are required to complete an equity-focused project in order to receive credit for the clinic. Please note that attendance in a minimum of 75% of meetings is required. 

Ideal candidates who will get the most of this experience are local government practitioners:

  • Who are looking to move from inspiration to action
  • Who want to increase their ability to articulate the benefit of equity-minded actions in their organization/department/unit
  • who want to leverage decision making and evaluation to better serve their communities and expand their personal/professional network of local government professionals similarly invested in building equitable communities
  • are interested in gaining competency around creating and operationalizing goals related to equity and change

Please note: Priority is given to smaller and mid-size localities who tend to have fewer resources. Human capital, funding, knowledge, and tools are all necessary to develop equitable organizations and communities, which is why the Equity Clinic operates on a sliding scale.


The cost for attending the equity clinic varies depending on organization size: 

  • $750 for organizational budgets under $750,000
  • $1,000 for organizational budgets above $750,000 and up to $2,000,000
  • $1,500 for organizational budgets of $2,000,000 and up

Members of the Virginia Institute of Government will receive a 10% discount. If additional financial aid is required, fiscal stress will be taken into consideration for those within the Commonwealth. Participants from outside of Virginia will need to provide additional information to determine the level of assistance that is needed.

2023-2024 Schedule 

Applications for the Spring Equity Clinic are open now. The Equity Clinic meets every other Friday, and meetings run from 9:00-10:30 am. The class will meet on the following dates:

  • March 1
  • March 15
  • March 29
  • April 12
  • April 26
  • May 10
Program Content

What does the idea of equity mean? 

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in local government
  • Considering structures and the role of local government in diversity, equity, and inclusion

How do you apply this understanding to challenges in local government? 

  • Theory of Change
  • Change management tools

Unit 3: Applications in local government

  • Think critically about committees, strategic planning, etc. 
  • Direct and Indirect Impact 
  • Appropriate goal setting with action steps
  • Final project