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Social Sustainability

 Contact Information

Dept Head: Beth Sowder

Equity and Inclusion

As outlined in the City's Social Sustainability strategic plan, equity and inclusion are frameworks to accomplish the City's goals of sustaining an environment where residents and visitors feel welcomed, safe and valued in the community. We consider an equitable community to be one where a person's identity or identities--or what zip code they live in--does not negatively impact their ability to thrive. Because local government is uniquely poised to help dismantle the institutional and systemic impacts of racism and oppression, the City of Fort Collins seeks to proactively address barriers that perpetuate inequity. 

In 2017, the City of Fort Collins became a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a membership network of government entities to advance racial equity and equitable outcomes for all.


What Does Equity & Inclusion Mean for the City Organization?

What Does Equity & Inclusion Mean for the City Organization?

The City's strategic plan has three objectives for equity and inclusion:

  • Neighborhood Livability and Social Health 1.3: Improve accessibility to City and community programs and services to low- and moderate-income populations.
  • Neighborhood Livability and Social Health 1.4: Co-create a more inclusive and equitable community that promotes unity and honors diversity.
  • High Performing Government 7.3: Broaden methods of community engagement with additional consideration to diverse backgrounds, languages and needs.

The Social Sustainability Department serves as the equity perspective of the Triple Bottom Line approach to government. The main objectives of the department's strategic focus on Equity and Inclusion are:

  • Expand the City's diversity, inclusion and equity goals
  • Support programs that enable all residents to have equal access to meet basic needs
  • Promote and maintain a welcoming, inclusive community where people feel connected



The City understands working to address racial inequities helps create equitable outcomes for all. We rely on the following definitions of institutional and systemic racism as frameworks for understanding the role we play to combat racism.

Systemic Racism
The various policies, practices and programs of differing institutions within a community that can lead to adverse outcomes for communities of color compared to white communities.

Institutional Racism
Policies, practices, and programs that, most often unintentionally and unconsciously, work to the benefit of white people and the detriment of people of color.

Programs and policies that ensure equal access and opportunity.

An intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized based on ethnicity, familial status, gender identity, age, marital status, national origin, geographic background, race, religious and spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, or veteran status.

Current Work

Current Work

The City currently has 75+ volunteer employees actively championing various equity projects and programs across the organization via equity-focused subcommittees. Highlights of their work so far include:

  • Elevating the City's Municipal Equality Index score from 60/100 to 83/100
  • Developing transportation equity metrics for the Transportation Master Plan update
  • Developing and implementing an internal respect campaign to facilitate work group dialogues about ways in which the City can maintain an inclusive, respectful culture
  • Surveying the boards and commissions to determine barriers to access and opportunities to diversify representation
  • Updating the City's purchasing policies to expand anti-discrimination language
  • Ensuring the Bike Share program includes access for low-income users
  • Facilitating the City's historic first Pride and Transgender Day of Awareness proclamations
  • Grants received to hire equity fellow and integrate equity into resiliency and mitigation updates to Climate Action Plan

In addition to the work of the teams, some of the City's broader equity and inclusion work includes:

  • Community Trust Resolution and Initiative
  • Multicultural Community Retreat
  • Income-Qualified rate
  • Recreation pass sliding fee
  • Equity and Inclusion component of the ClimateWise social badge
  • Police Services' language immersion program
  • Diversity appreciation banners
  • Equity and inclusion considerations incorporated into Triple Bottom Line Scan
  • Internal equity, diversity and inclusion trainings ranging on topics such as white fragility, the historical impacts of racism, white privilege, and more

Equity Team Subcommittees

Equity Team Subcommittees

Equity Poster
Equity Team Charter

Equity Team Subcommittees:

  • LGBTQIA+ Subcommittee: Raise awareness and provide education on LGBTQIA+ issues (including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) so that staff who identify on that continuum feel safe, included and valued at work, as well as residents, visitors and tourists in our community.
  • Education & Tools Subcommittee: Helping execute diversity initiatives that increase understanding, respect and sense of belonging among staff to enhance employee experience and customer service. 
  • Public Participation Subcommittee: Diversifying voices that inform Council, city processes and decisions so that our organization better serves all members of our community.
  • Transportation Equity Subcommittee: Helping provide education and awareness around mobility needs for all ages, abilities, and incomes; identifying gaps in current transportation efforts, serving as advisory body on projects and programs (including Transportation Master Plan).

Community Trust Resolution Finalized

Community Trust Resolution Finalized

In 2017, City council requested an internal team be convened to review a proposed Community Trust Ordinance brought forward by members of the community. After the analysis was completed, Council unanimously passed the Community Trust Resolution on October 4, 2017.

After the passage of Resolution 2017-091, a stakeholder group met over a four-month period in early 2018 and communicated their results to Council in June 2018. Social Sustainability will continue to help mitigate barriers to inclusion experienced by immigrant community members in Fort Collins through a variety of means, including helping normalize conversations on race relations; work with Human Resources to continue offering staff trainings on bias, privilege, and being an ally; and partner with Police Services and the Communications and Public Involvement Office to foster ongoing communications and relationship-building with
marginalized groups.

Final Report
Community Trust Resolution
Community Trust Analysis

Noticed the Colorful Banners?

Multilingual banners

The City’s new ‘We are Fort Collins’ multilingual banners are one of the ways the City is working on our commitment to celebrate diversity and support an inclusive community, where all of our residents and visitors feel valued. The banners are built around the linguistic diversity within Fort Collins and include the 13 languages most spoken here as well as two Native American languages to acknowledge the ancestral language and place name of the area.

Learn More

How Do I Get Involved With The City’s Efforts?

Contact information:
Janet Freeman
Equity and Inclusion Coordinator