As a social innovation firm, our  focus is to advance racial, gender, economic and climate equity.   In 2018, we established Justice Work at The Vaid Group as a think tank/action lab to design and incubate interventions that support the work of organizations and donors working toward racial, gender, economic and climate equity.

Justice Work incubates networks and fosters collaboration, using research and data analysis, community engagement, organizing, consultation, convening, network building, policy development, design-thinking, and crafting solutions from practice. These design interventions are grounded in partnership with the front-line organizations working in the substantive areas in which we focus, and developed out of consultation with leaders from directly impacted communities. Justice Work is a 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

Our work starts from intersectional practice, uses design-thinking and data to advance social justice, develop policy and create practice interventions.

Current Initiatives include:  The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey (a community survey that seeks to gather information on the life experiences and of LGBTQ+ womxn 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 practices can be more connected to social mission); Media Infrastructure Projects (exploring engagements to strengthen progressive media infrastructure); and Data for Social Justice (an initiative to increase knowledge and use of data tools in the work of social movements).

Past projects we have incubated and helped to launch include:  National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group (a coalition and network connecting nearly 50 organizations working to address the unique harms of the criminal legal system in the lives of LGBTQ people); the National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network (a national coalition connecting over 100 individuals and organizations committed to ending poverty); and the Donors of Color Network (the first cross-racial network connecting individual HNW donors of color working for racial equity).

Current and Past Initiatives

The National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey

This comprehensive study seeks to addresses the significant gap in knowledge, understanding, policy development and organizing in the US in understanding the experiences of lesbian and LGBTQ+ womxn (inclusively defined). The study is for people who have identified as women at any point in their journeys and want to share their experiences of centering women in their sexual, emotional, familial and personal lives. The study design welcomes lesbians, bisexual, pansexuals, transgender, asexual, gay and queer women who partner with women, trans men who want to report on their experience of partnering with women when they were perceived to be girls or women; and non-binary people who partner with or have partnered with women. 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 at a new site in development called

LGBTQ Poverty Initiative

Since 2015, this initiative's goal has been to increase understanding about poverty in LGBTQ communities and secure action to end poverty. From 2016-2018, we organized a participatory research project conducted by 9 organizations to develop a national poverty policy agenda Our partners included: 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 policy agenda was released in May 2018 and the National LGBTQ Poverty Action Network was formed in October of 2018.
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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.

Data for Social Justice

DFJ is a multi-faceted initiative to accelerate change by supporting practitioners in creating and using data to map and analyze racial equity, anti-poverty and LGBTQ issues in key underserved areas and communities.

National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group

Today the Working Group is a program of Black & Pink, a prison abolitionist organization supporting LGBTQ and HIV-positive prisoners. The Working Group connects organizations and individuals, working to reduce the harms caused by criminal legal systems to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons and people living with HIV (PLHIV). This initiative started as 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.

Funding Partners

Ford Foundation

Support for projects addressing LGBTQ criminalization and poverty.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

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