Valuing Diversity Project

Valuing diversity is what institutions and members of a community do to acknowledge the benefits of their differences and similarities. They intentionally work to build sustainable relationships among people and institutions with diverse membership. A community that values diversity ensures that institutions provide equal treatment and access to resources and decisions for all community members regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and physical disability.

Purpose and goals

The primary purpose of the Valuing Diversity Project was to enhance the capacity of professional psychology to assist communities in addressing issues related to diversity. The project had three objectives:

  • Assist two communities in the adoption and adaptation of model efforts to improve intergroup relations and to increase the value of diversity;

  • Assemble a database of relevant psychological literature and model strategies that can assist communities in addressing issues related to diversity; and

  • Disseminate the lessons learned and resources developed through this project to communities across the country as well as to intermediary organizations, foundations, and government agencies whose mission is to assist communities in improving intergroup relations and promoting diversity.

This project was sponsored by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Public Interest Directorate, which is committed to applying professional psychology to help address contemporary public issues.

Project structure

The Valuing Diversity Project was overseen by the Executive Director of APA’s Public Interest Directorate and advised by a Working Group composed of seven members of the Society of Community Research and Action (SCRA). These seven individuals are psychologists with substantive knowledge and experience in addressing topics related to diversity. The Association for the Study and Development of Community (ASDC) was responsible for managing the project, maintaining communications with the Directorate, its Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest (BAPPI), and the Working Group, as well as working with community representatives that participated in the project. A cadre of experts that included psychologists who has participated in the research and implementation of related community initiatives provided additional assistance for identifying resources and reviewing plans, activities, and products.

In the overall design, there were two types of community partners for the Valuing Diversity Project:

  • Communities that wanted to value diversity better and who received funds from the Valuing Diversity Project to support their goals (“grantees”); and

  • Communities that have promising strategies for valuing diversity and who could be resources to other communities, including the project’s grantees.

Project activities and products

The project consists of the following major activities:

  • Further development of principles for valuing diversity;

  • Assistance to two community organizations in their implementation of valuing diversity strategies;

  • Development of databases on promising strategies and resources for valuing diversity; and

  • Engagement of professional psychology to assist communities and other professionals in addressing issues related to diversity.

Section 2 of this report describes the accomplishments of the Valuing Diversity Project. The accomplishments are organized according to these activities. Section 3 summarizes the lessons learned of the project.