For-profit

Cultures Connecting LLC

Website:

https://www.culturesconnecting.com/

Location:

Seattle, Washington

Type:

For-profit DEI Consulting

Founders:

Caprice Hollins and Ilsa Govan

Cultures Connecting is a left-leaning consulting firm that provides critical race theory-aligned diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting services to schools, companies, associations, and nonprofits across the United States. The firm was founded and is operated self-described “social justice activists” Caprice Hollins and Ilsa Govan. The firm mostly consults for clients in the Seattle area, but it had worked for large national brands, school districts, and associations across the United States include Seattle Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and Facebook. [1] [2]

The company was among the firms profiled by Parents Defending Education in its “Consultant Report Card,” which uncovered through public records research that school districts in Washington State and Pennsylvania paid the firm for “Cultural Competency Training” and “Equity Teams Training.” [3] [4]

Background

Cultures Connecting was founded in 2008 by Caprice Hollins and Ilsa Govan after Hollins left Seattle Public Schools, where she was director of equity, race, and learning support. The firm employs three trainers in addition to Hollins and Govan and offers consulting services to a broad array of organizations. [5]

The firm offers workshops, coaching, and keynote speeches that emphasize left-progressive ides on racial issues and public policy. Topics covered by the firm’s workshops include the “impact of individual and systemic racism on the lives of People of Color (PoC) in the United States” as well as “the killing of Black people at the hands of the police, the minimization of racism on Indigenous Peoples, [and] the impact of anti-immigration laws.” [6]

The firm also offers separate workshop spaces for black and white staff members, calling such separation an “important step” for organizations to take. The organization’s workshops call for white participants to “acknowledge their own collusion with racism.” [7]

The firm offers a workshop targeted towards white women titled “What’s Up with White Women?” which seeks to uncover whether participants are “upholding or fighting racism.” The firm sells books of the same title written by Cultures Connecting co-founder Ilsa Govan and co-author Tilman Smith, a Seattle-based consulted specializing in “white privilege” and “anti-racism.” [8]

Clients

Cultures Connecting’s website displays a partial list of more than 275 current of former clients of the firm. The firm’s clients include Amazon; the American Booksellers Association; the American Red Cross; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Chicago Public Schools; the city governments of Seattle, Portland, and Tacoma; Earth Justice; Facebook; Intel; Microsoft; SEIU 775, and dozens of independent colleges and K-12 schools. [9]

Consultant Report Card

Cultures Connecting was profiled by right-leaning advocacy organization Parents Defending Education as one of dozens of left-leaning consulting firms that provide consulting services on critical race theory-inspired diversity, equity, and inclusion issues to schools. [10]

While the firm appears to consult for dozens of private and public schools, Parents Defending Education identified around $20,000 in spending by school districts in Washington and Pennsylvania, including $7,500 paid from the Bainbridge Island (WA) school district and $11,981 from the Radnor Township (PA) school district for one-day training sessions. [11]

References

  1. “Clients.” Cultures Connecting. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.culturesconnecting.com/clients ^
  2. “Cultures Connecting.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/report/cultures-connecting/ ^
  3. “Cultures Connecting.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/report/cultures-connecting/ ^
  4. “About the Consultant Report Card.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed October 28, 2021.  . https://defendinged.org/case-study/about-the-consulting-report-card/ ^
  5. “About Us.” Cultures Connecting. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.culturesconnecting.com/about-us ^
  6. “Workshops.” Cultures Connecting. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.culturesconnecting.com/workshops ^
  7. “Workshops.” Cultures Connecting. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.culturesconnecting.com/workshops ^
  8. “What’s Up with White Women?” Cultures Connecting. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.culturesconnecting.com/whats-up-with-white-women ^
  9.  “Clients.” Cultures Connecting. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://www.culturesconnecting.com/clients ^
  10. “Cultures Connecting.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/report/cultures-connecting/ ^
  11. “Cultures Connecting.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed November 13, 2021. https://defendinged.org/report/cultures-connecting/ ^
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