young girl smiling and listening to audiobooks

From the Inside Out

At Learning Ally, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are a part of each and every one of us. DEI drives our culture, our solutions and ultimately the equality in educational outcomes we strive to achieve.

Our Commitment

We know DEI doesn’t always come naturally, but we work at it each and every day with ongoing training and development. And most importantly we understand that it is up to each of us to model our behaviors in both our professional and personal lives.

We live our values and are equipped with the knowledge and support to recognize and combat racism, bias and discrimination in our organization.

We engage in hiring and retention policies and practices that build and maintain a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce and workplace.

We utilize a solution design process that is inclusive of the needs and voices of underserved communities.

Unlocking Equity for Millions of Underserved Students

For over 75 years, Learning Ally has been addressing equity gaps for overlooked communities, from our beginnings serving blind and visually impaired veterans, to our present day, helping struggling students succeed. Through our game-changing approach Whole Child Literacy TM, we are working to break the cycle of inequity in education.

We Strive To Learn and Be Better

Empowering Staff Discussions

To be good at DEI you need to be good at being uncomfortable and having tough conversations. We like to say we create an environment where you can be comfortable being uncomfortable. To help facilitate conversations we have launched our Just Talk series, which empowers staff to talk about DEI in different environments; from unstructured small groups, to All Staff gatherings.

Bias and Diversity Training

Practice, practice, practice, learn, learn, learn. Continuous training helps us each to increase empathy and address the importance of cultural competence, awareness of the persistent problem of biases and stereotypes, and how we can work better together in everything we do.

Education and Enrichment

We create programming for our staff and partners to provide continual education and enrichment that reflects DEI stories in our world today.

Juneteenth Chat with Congresswoman Lucy McBath

At Learning Ally we took Juneteenth on! We had the great pleasure of being joined by Congresswoman Lucy McBath, who spoke to us about her experiences and work as an advocate for equity, antiracism, and women’s health.

Heritage Week Celebrations

Programming developed by our very own staff provided a deeper exploration of heritage and legacy, as well as an introduction to intersectionality and how it can magnify layers of privilege and of discrimination. We were inspired to check our own thinking and to consider how the rich web of stories we tell as individuals—and as an organization—can serve deeper than surface understanding.

Our DEI Team

Led by our Steering Committee, Learning Ally has over 30 staff who spend their time every week committed to our various DEI initiatives. Meet our steering committee and see their personal statements about what drives their dedication to this work.

Andrew Singleton
"My dream is for other diverse populations to stand on my shoulders to achieve more. That’s only possible if I make a concerted effort to remove all obstacles and help pave the foundation through an organization that embraces DEI."

Andrew Singleton

National Director of State Initiatives and DEI Lead

Courtney McCall
“As a lifelong educator, it is my responsibility to ensure that every student views themselves as a successful learner. We must relentlessly challenge the status quo until this is the case. ”

Courtney McCall

National Director of Enterprise Learning

Paula Restrepo
“I joined the DEI Steering Committee because I represent the immigrant community that, with its hard work, has brought so much to this country. I feel inside the need to be the voice for the underrepresented who deserve to be included but lack the ability to have a voice for themselves.”

Paula Restrepo

Virtual Community Engagement Manager

Erin Walker
“I've witnessed the disparity caused by systemic racism in schools first-hand. I'm passionately committed to ensuring that Learning Ally enables educators to deliver equitable reading outcomes.”

Erin Walker

Director, Leader, Innovation k-12

Andrew Friedman
"I am passionate about kids and an education system that embraces our children’s differences and understands THEIR needs to unlock a child’s potential. Learning Ally and I sit in a unique position to imbed DE&I in everything we do to improve children’s lives."

Andrew Friedman

President and CEO

Elise Darwish
“Our commitment to serve students must come with an understanding of the assets of all students and the barriers they may face. The DEI committee helps us build that knowledge.”

Elise Darwish

National Board Vice Chair

Hal Logan
“Doing DEI right is hard. That’s why most organizations are not successful at making it part of their core identities. Learning Ally is tackling this challenge in the most thorough and systematic manner I’ve seen, and that’s why I’m proud to be part of the effort”

Hal Logan

Board Chair Emeritus

Steve Valvano
“Talent comes from all races, genders, religions and countries of origin. Learning Ally’s values enable us to be equipped with the knowledge and support to recognize and combat racism, bias and discrimination.”

Steve Valvano

Vice President of Great People, Human Resources

Therese Llorente
“Through our DEI work, I hope that we create an environment for our staff, volunteers, and students to have equal opportunities to learn and succeed and become the best versions of themselves.”

Therese Llorente

National Board Chair

Cynthia Hamburger
“As a woman leader of a certain age, I understand the subtle and overt biases that create barriers in a person's career growth. I am passionate about systematically removing these barriers to allow all people to achieve their aspirations.”

Cynthia Hamburger

Senior Advisor