Assessing Community Readiness to Engage in Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Scott Chazdon, Julie Hawker, Bukata Hayes, Neil Linscheid, Nancy O’Brien, Tobias Spanier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Social scientific research has demonstrated that increasing racial or ethnic diversity can reduce overall levels of social solidarity in a community. Yet many community development organizations, including Extension, are deeply committed to creating a broader sense of cohesion in rural communities. This article highlights a recent interagency effort, known as the Welcoming Communities Assessment, to assess a community's readiness for inclusion. The Welcoming Communities Assessment helps community members gain a baseline, action-oriented understanding of how inclusive different sectors of their community are for immigrants, refugees, and people of color. This article describes the assessment's context, design, analysis, and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Extension
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The assessment described here emerged from an existing initiative conducted by University of Minnesota Extension in collaboration with Region Nine Area, Inc. (RNAI), a nonprofit arm of the Region Nine Development Commission in south central Minnesota. With funding from the Blandin Foundation and participation of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, an interagency team created a community cohort program called the Rural Equity Learning Community (RELC). The program brought together diverse stakeholders from six communities to share, examine, and explore inclusive best practices through education and relationship building. An issue identified by the learning cohort was the need to document the readiness of communities to engage in diversity and inclusion efforts. RNAI contracted with Scott Chazdon, who has expertise in community readiness measurement, to guide a team of people from several of the RELC communities in developing a user-friendly community assessment tool and process.

Publisher Copyright:
© by Extension Journal Inc.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • community readiness assessment
  • diversity
  • equity
  • inclusion
  • rural communities


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