Equity + Inclusion

Land Acknowledgement

Rock to the Future acknowledges that the unceded land on which we gather, now known as Philadelphia, are the lands of the Lenni Lenape people, whose presence and resilience in Pennsylvania continues to this day. We honor the original caretakers of this land and recognize the histories of land theft, violence, erasure, and oppression that has brought our organization and ourselves here. Learn more and support the Lenape.

Our Commitment

We recognize the deeply entrenched practices, cultural norms, and social structures that perpetuate inequities. Rock to the Future, in our work with youth from underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia, is committed to eliminating those inequities. Rock to the Future makes a formal promise to improve our culture, practices, and approaches to uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our organization — knowing it requires sustained commitment, courage, and optimism.

We strive to achieve racial justice, social justice, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work and in the way we lead our lives. We have decided to take an inward look to ensure these values remain at the foundation of our organization and to further educate ourselves as we continue to grow. In 2021, students, team members, and board members led a 6-month selection process to find a facilitator to support us through this work. Rock to the Future is excited to select Keva White and VIP Community Services to guide our continued journey towards equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. We will provide updates on our progress with Keva on this webpage. 


Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Survey Results 
Executive Summary 

January 8, 2022

Who We Are
Rock to the Future provides student-driven music programs in a safe and supportive environment at no cost for Philadelphia youth. We believe in cultivating an environment that allows youth to build life skills that support current and life-long well being.

We have enlisted the help of Keva White with VIP Community Services to guide our continued journey towards equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. Our first step towards anti-racism is understanding our current status. We asked our past and present students, staff, and board members to participate in an Anti-Racism Stakeholder Survey. This is a brief summary of the 20 page report. If you would like a copy of the full report please contact Daniel@RocktotheFuture.org.

Who Participated
We received answers from 97 separate stakeholders.

  • These included alumni, community partners, past and present team members, past and present board members, parents/guardians, students, school partners, and volunteers.
  • Stakeholders who identified as Black/African American provided the most survey responses (a total of 43 or 44.5%), followed by 31(32%) White/Caucasian stakeholders, 14 (14.5%) responses were received from Hispanic or Latino stakeholders, and 1% of respondents self-identified as Asian or Asian American with 8 (8%) identifying as two or more races.
  • A total of 51 (53%) Stakeholders who responded to survey were female, 37 (38%) were male, and 9 stakeholders (9%) indicated an unspecified selfIdentified/expressed gender identity
    35% of respondents were under the age of 20, 10% were between 20 - 29, 24% between 30 - 39, and 31% over the age of 40.

What We Do Well

  • We have created and are continuing to develop an inclusive and diverse organization: 92% of stakeholders believe that Rock to the Future provides an environment for free and open expression of ideas, opinions, and beliefs; 91% believe we have a culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse team
  • We are committed to inclusion and diversity: 92% believe that our leadership supports and values diversity and inclusion.
  • Our community believes in our organization and loves our programs.
    “Rock to the Future is one of the most inclusive, socially conscious organizations I have ever worked with. Diversity there, and appreciation of diversity, is so obvious in the organization and in all their activities and program offerings.”
    “This is the best program ever!”
    “I feel as if I can truly be myself and I feel like I truly belong, I have friends that are very supportive caring and loving and I get along with everyone so well♡”

Areas for Growth

  • We need to improve our transparency: 16% of stakeholders felt neutral or that there was not transparency throughout the organization and multiple stakeholders commented specifically on the need for transparency from the team and board.
  • We need to create clear processes for reporting concerns and discrimination and communicate these processes to our stakeholders: 26% of stakeholders were unclear on how to report instances of discrimination should they occur.
  • Additional growth opportunities and training are needed for team members and board members: 14% of stakeholders felt neutral about music instructor’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and multiple comments were provided regarding authentic commitment from the Board of Directors.
  • We need to offer more opportunities for all of our stakeholders: 20% of stakeholders felt neutral in regards to Rock to the Future providing education and training opportunities and 50% of stakeholders reported they had the opportunity to participate in a Rock to the Future training opportunity related to equity and inclusion within the past 12 months.

Next Steps
We will immediately begin our work towards improvement. Our first step towards cultivating a more inclusive environment will be enacting new procedures for reporting harassment and discrimination. We look forward to communicating our new processes in the first quarter of 2022. We will also hold an educational and training session called The Race to Social Justice on January 17th for board members, team members, and volunteers.

Over the coming 6 months, we will continue to learn what we do well and how we can improve through focus groups with our students, team members, and board members, provide training and education opportunities for our stakeholder groups, tackle specific needs within the organization through project based consulting, and work together to achieve justice within our organization and the communities we serve.

Thank you to The Douty Foundation for funding this opportunity and to Keva White and VIP Community Services for your guidance.

Stakeholder Focus Groups

February, 2022

Rock to the Future, in partnership with VIP Community Service, led Anti-Racism Focus Groups among three major stakeholder groups, Team Members, Board Members, and Students. Out of these Focus Groups came two action items:

  1. Developing a new procedure for reporting instances of harassment and discrimination
  2. Holding bi-annual forums with the community to discuss Equity & Inclusion Efforts

New Reporting Process

May, 2022

Based on the results of our Stakeholder Focus Group Report, we instituted a new procedure for reporting and handing experiences or discrimination, bullying & harassment. That process is as follows:

  1. We uploaded a form to our website for reporting instances of discrimination, harrassment or bullying. It is accessible through the “report” button in the website footer.
  2. Anyone who experiences an incident of harassment or discrimination can fill out this form. All information will be kept confidential and the form will include links to Whistleblower Policies & Anti-Employee Retaliation Laws so that anyone who fills the form out will know there are no repercussions for reporting. The form will also have the option to be filled out anonymously. 
  3. Once the form is submitted it will go to the newly created Concerns@rocktothefuture.org email address, which will automatically be forwarded to all members of the HR & OD Committee plus the CEO and the Operations Manager. 
  4. The Committee has 48 to review and respond to all reported incidences.
  5. The Committee will open an investigation and decide the appropriate course of action depending on the severity of the incident – which may include team members, board members, and other stakeholders.
  6. All concerns will be reported at Board meetings and team meetings. 

This information is to be disseminated to all stakeholder groups. It has been added to the Standard Operating Procedures, and will be added to the Employee Handbook. Training on this process will be included in all Board, Team, Student and Volunteer Onboarding and Annual Training Plans. 

VIP Community Services Anti-Racism Training

June, 2022

Rock to the Future just completed the final round of Anti-Racism training, led by Keva White of VIP Community Services. The training was comprised of 4 separate 1.5 hour modules:

  1.  The Race to Social Justice
  2.  Raising Awareness in a Multicultural Workplace
  3.  Developing Equity Teams
  4.  Designing Anti-Racism Action Plans

These trainings were offered to all Rock to the Future Team Members, Board Members and Volunteers.