Justice Work

As a social innovation firm, our consulting and organizing practice is focused on advancing equity and social justice. To further enable us to accomplish these goals, we established a social justice incubator/think tank called Justice Work, as a distinct, c3 fiscally sponsored project of the National Center for Civic Innovation, a leading fiscal sponsorship hub at the Fund for the City of New York.

Justice Work develops and builds innovations and interventions for social movements and philanthropy, through research, organizing, convening, and crafting solutions from practice.

Current projects at Justice Work include the LGBTQ Poverty Initiative, ongoing work on criminal legal systems change, pro bono support to grassroots initiatives and several exciting new research and organizing projects that we will more fully flesh out on this site as they develop.  These include,  --  the US LGBTQ+ Women's Research/Organizing Initiative (producing a community survey of life experience of  LGBTQ+ women who center their sexual, emotional and familial lives with other self-identified women); the Transformational Human Resource Management Initiative (a thought leadership project exploring how HR can be more connected to social mission); and Media Infrastructure Projects (exploring engagements to strengthen progressive media infrastructure).


National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group

We designed a convening and research project in 2013 that produced the ground-breaking report, A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT people and People Living with HIV. The report's release set the stage for the formation of this national network in 2014. Over the past 4 years, the Vaid Group team has helped organize and staff this national network of over 50 organizations, and over 120 individuals, working to reduce the harms caused by criminal legal systems to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons and people living with HIV (PLHIV). The network is now being directed by Black and Pink, a prison abolitionist organization supporting LGBTQ and HIV-positive prisoners. This initiative has been supported by: Mandel-Rodis Fund, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Ford Foundation, Palette Fund, H. Van Ameringen Foundation.

LGBTQ Poverty Initiative

The Vaid Group initiated and helped staff a participatory research and organizing project conducted by 9 organizations. The goal was to develop a national poverty policy agenda that could help increase awareness and engagement on issues affecting low-income and poor LGBTQ communities, and to increase engagement by the LGBTQ movement to address and end poverty in the US. Over 220 people contributed input for a report titled Intersecting Injustice: Addressing LGBTQ Poverty and Economic Justice for All which was published in May of 2018. Our partners in producing the report include: Center for American Progress, National LGBTQ Task Force, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Whitman Walker Clinic, Trans Women of Color Collective, CUNY Graduate Center Social Justice Sexuality Project, and the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School. The Vaid's Group work on its poverty initiative has been supported by the Ford Foundation, New York Women's Foundation, the Williams Institute, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

We are currently networking LGBT Centers around the country to support each other working on anti-poverty initiatives and bringing together LGBT and anti-poverty organizations into an anti-poverty action network. Find more information at lgbtqpoverty.info.

LBTQ Women’s/Lesbian Research Initiative

This Initiative addresses the significant gap in knowledge, understanding, policy development and organizing in the US in understanding the experiences of lesbian-identified LBTQ+ women through conducting a community-based survey of life experiences. The goal of the initiative is to positively impact the lives of self-identified LBTQ+ women, by informing policy and decision makers in nonprofit, service, advocacy, governmental, and community institutions with specific information and insights into the lives, experiences, concerns, and challenges facing lesbian-identified LBTQ women in the US today. Over the next two years, we will conduct a community-based survey, release regional and state-by-state data, and engage communities on findings. A fuller description is forthcoming.

Transformational Human Resource Management

Human resources are the core of organizational identity and culture -- they are its talent, the enactment of its operating code, the atmosphere that makes up its culture and the expression and enforcement mechanisms through which an organization can manifest its values. Yet in many instances, human resources as a field of practice remains limited to a formalistic, risk-management framework. Practitioners resort to compliance instead of practicing equity. While the framework of human resources is certainly legally-bound, the reliance and resort to management law firms as arbiters of decisions in critical situations has the effect of limiting the transformational potential of human resource management. This initiative is a strategic thought-partnership between Urvashi Vaid and Seattle-based strategist Margherita Vacchiano to articulate a different vision for human resource management that grounds it in a mission to transform the world, transform the practices of organizations of all kinds, and transform the field of HR itself. Over the next two years we will produce discussion papers, hold strategic convenings with nonprofit, HR and business leaders and develop strategies to introduce the concept of transformational human resource management.

Funding Partners

Ford Foundation

Grant support from the Ford Foundation to support Vaid Group's LGBTQ Poverty Initiative. Research, provide technical assistance and capacity building to groups, develop initiatives to enhance nonprofit sector effectiveness.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Support for LGBTQ Poverty Initiative to foster policy analysis, convening, advocacy coalition development, partnerships with service organizations.