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We see our relationship with Earthworks as a mutual partnership. Earthworks provides a needed service and technical expertise for us to achieve a citizen enforcement program. And that relationship has been built on mutual respect.

As part of Earthworks’ commitment to building grassroots power, focusing on equity and justice, we undertake a periodic Relationship Assessment to deepen trust, transparency, and communication between ourselves and our allies and help us understand how to improve our relationship with allies.

We conducted our first Relationship Assessment in 2020, with integral support from our DEI consultants, Partners for Collaborative Change. Through this process, we identified 54 partner organizations, individuals, coalitions, and community groups, conducted nine in-depth partnership interviews (seven in English and two in Spanish), and received 23 survey responses. This process helped us identify critical organizational strengths and areas for growth that we worked on for the next three years.

Exploring our Network: The map above showcases the diverse landscape of our 135 partnerships, including 36 regional/community nonprofits, 29 national/international NGOs, 25 community groups, and 7 sovereign nations.

In 2023, again working closely with Partners for Collaborative Change, we developed the second iteration of our Relationship Assessment, building on lessons learned from the first assessment to craft more thoughtful questions and develop a more comprehensive list of organizational relationships. This was also an opportunity for Earthworks to measure if we had improved on the areas for growth outlined in our previous assessment. As part of this assessment, we identified 135 organizational relationships, garnered 50 survey respondents, and conducted 11 in-depth interviews in three languages. We also worked to improve reciprocity, including creating a clear Honorarium Policy to compensate allies who aren’t paid for their work and widely disseminating the results of the assessment. 

Results from our 2023 Relationship Assessment indicate that Earthworks has maintained many of the strengths from our previous assessment: partners expressed appreciation for our policy and technical knowledge, our financial support and connection to funding resources, our communications expertise and media relationships, and our overall respectful collaboration. On the other hand, responses indicated that partners would benefit from clearer mechanisms to hold Earthworks accountable for any issues that arise during a relationship, with some partners citing instances where Earthworks could have done a better job centering frontline leadership in community support campaigns.

Our partners and allies also identified continued questions regarding transparency—allies feel transparent about their relationship with Earthworks’ staff individually but don’t have clarity about the broader organization, our mission and programs, and our organizational structure. Finally, the results from this Relationship Assessment highlight a continued and pressing need for our frontline partners and allies to have more access to administrative and financial support through joint proposals, funding referrals, and subgrants. 

Now, Earthworks is analyzing these results and incorporating them into our strategic planning process for the upcoming year at the individual, programmatic, and org-wide levels. We’re deeply grateful to all our partners and allies who took the valuable time to participate in this process, and we look forward to deepening our work together.

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