The Othering & Belonging Institute is excited to be partnering with the Social Impact Exchange (SIE) and the Seed Collaborative on a first-ever Targeted Universalism (TU) Community of Practice designed to train people from foundations, large nonprofits, and institutions who want to take a deep dive into understanding and implementing TU. 

TU has been gaining traction over the past few years as an effective policy and program approach that combines the benefits of both targeted and universal policies, and is now being used by the Biden administration to address homelessness.

Complex problems need complex solutions, and it’s the fresh, sophisticated approach of TU that can break through gridlock and create new avenues communities to thrive. Targeted Universalism is a systemic approach that supports the needs of the particular, while also attending to universal thriving and reminding us that we are all part of the same social fabric.

This Community of Practice (CoP) is an opportunity for participants to grow their TU "muscle," build relationships with others, and grapple with the challenges and opportunities of co-creation and implementation of TU. Additional info about the purpose, objectives, and focus of the CoP is below.

Members of the CoP will convene virtually for 90-minute sessions monthly over a 9-month learning journey (9 sessions), with one individual coaching session, and will have access to an ongoing curated communication channel where participants can share tools and information. The program will begin in September.

Space is limited to 20-25 participants for groundbreaking opportunities. The cost to participate is $2,500 - $5,000 per individual (sliding scale), and participants should have a willingness to consider both their internal and external facing operations as well as an interest from their organization's leadership to integrate TU. If you are interested and would like to learn more about this CoP, please email by June 16, 2023.

More information

Targeted Universalism Community of Practice


The purpose of this CoP is to: 

  • Foster a deep understanding of TU methodology, strategies, and implementation for distinct workflows (e.g., a funder making grants, a nonprofit addressing a community issue, a company achieving a corporate priority) 

  • Share challenges and opportunities, including what works and discrete practices

  • Collaborate on creative problem solving, learning, and innovating, using TU within the cohort and with expert TU practitioners 

  • Build Relationships with colleagues and experts in service to cocreating and learning together the concepts of belonging and TU

How can TU help my organization? 

There is a groundswell of multi-sector interest in the practice of TU and belonging, from hospitals and schools to government programs and foundations, from corporations to community and advocacy groups. The appeal and promise of TU addresses some of the most pressing systemic challenges of our time -- including increasing division, breaking, and competition between groups -- by offering a process to care for our different needs and situatedness. 

TU differs from typical approaches to equity. 

  • Equity is often practiced as focusing on disparities, which can become a binary that looks at the most- and least-favored groups, ignoring other groups, and setting the goal as what the most favored group has rather than a universal, affirmative outcome. Disparity-focused or "closing the gap" strategies can lead to pitting groups against each other and creating competition for scarce resources. It can also fall into the trap of racial essentialism. 

  • TU, on the other hand, organizes around an outcomes-based, universal goal while developing strategies that look at structures, institutions, culture, and the situatedness of groups and individuals. TU focuses on the construction and situatedness of groups through data and disaggregated information and takes racially constructed outcomes and disparities seriously by looking at how they are constructed. Organizing around a universal goal can create common cause and social cohesion, while the targeted strategies recognize and address differences in situatedness, history, and opportunity. Importantly, TU thus accounts for issues affecting marginalized groups, including but not limited to race, gender, religion, and disability. TU is also valuable when there is broad consensus that there's a problem but disagreement on solutions. At its best, TU can expand care, power, and promote real reform -- which advances us towards a world of belonging. Often called equity 2.0, TU is particularly effective around policy, programs, process, and design. As an operations and communications strategy, it is a sophisticated and practical process and philosophy that can advance us towards bridging and belonging.


The TU CoP is designed to advance justice, equity, and belonging through realization of the following outcomes: 

  • Strengthen the application of TU among interested institutions focused on both internal and external functions 

  • Create broad understanding of the challenges and successes among institutions and places applying TU

  • Create relationship among those working with TU to enable knowledge-spillover effects among community members

  • Increase exposure to experts and experienced practitioners of TU

  • Understand TU in the context of and in service to belonging and "bridging" as both a mechanism and outcome of TU that can drive transformation.

Feel free to email with any questions.