National Equity Project

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $7,384,565
Expenses: $6,190,597
Assets: $4,603,491



Oakland, California



Executive Director:

LaShawn Route Chatmon


Diversity consultant

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National Equity Project (NEP) is a non-profit consulting company that provides equity and social justice training for schools, foundations, governments, and other organizations. NEP specializes in “liberatory design,” an approach to developing equity by redesigning societal structures. 1

NEP was established in 1995 as the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools. The group initially helped establish and design emerging schools in and around the Bay Area. In 2007, LaShawn Route Chatmon became executive director. She led the group to rename as it expanded geographically and to refocus on equity consulting.

NEP was cited favorably in a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights April 2021 report on unequal education outcomes in Pennsylvania schools. The report referred to the Equity Design Team, a strategy developed by NEP, the Southern Education Foundation, and the Learning Policy Institute, as an effective means of reducing education inequalities through liberatory design methods. 2

In 2008, NEP received $1,600,700 from the Carnegie Corporation. 3


Parents Defending Education has tracked $1,913,813 in payments from school districts to the National Equity Project since 2012. 4 5

NEP’s largest education client was Grand Rapids Public Schools, which spent $1,024,195 between 2012-2015, and an additional $30,500 from 2020-2021. NEP’s first contract, for $215,625, was part of a joint program with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Douglas and Maria DeVos Family Foundation, and Partners in School Innovation to improve education outcomes in two middle schools, particularly regarding non-white students. The program was described as having “a focus on social justice and equity.” NEP received three more contracts over the following three years for “equity leadership development” and “district equity strategy management.” 6 7

NEP’s foundation clients have included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Packard Foundation. 8


In 2007, LaShawn Route Chatmon became executive director of the National Equity Project. She led the group in two major transitions. First, the group changed its name from the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools to NEP as the organization expanded its operations geographically. Second, Chatmon has also been credited with pushing NEP to focus on equity consulting, particularly racial inequity, rather than school design and development. 9

In 2014, Chatmon gave a presentation at Race Forward’s Facing Race national conference on how to introduce anti-racial inequity policies in school districts where such initiatives have “led to increased marginalization and upset” parents and administrators. 10


In September 2020, the National Equity Project signed an open letter with the Burlington Area School District superintendent, district school board, the Burlington Police Chief, and the Burlington Coalition for Dismantling Racism, asking the school district’s staff and families to confront “racism, discrimination and harassment” after racist comments were discovered written in wood chips in an elementary school playground. 11

In January 2020, Northmont City Schools district apologized to parents after sending out a survey asking parents and students about their racial attitudes, including, “What do you wish white teachers at Northwood knew about teaching your black child?” The district explained to parents that the survey was designed by five teachers and administrators who had received training from NEP, and they were attempting to address equity concerns in the school district. 12

In March 2019, a group of parents formed the group, No Racism in School #1865, to advocate for the Clark County School District to take stronger measures to oppose racism after an incident of racial harassment occurred in one of the district’s high schools. In response to the group’s eight demands, the district hired NEP to provide training to teachers and administrators. 13


  1. “Consulting Services.” National Equity Project. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  2. “Briefing Report.” U.S. Commission On Civil Right. April 2021. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  3. “National Equity Project.” Carnegie Corporation of New York. Accessed October 26, 2021.!/grants/grants-database/grant/30966.0/.
  4. “National Equity Project.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  5. “A Partnering with Grand Rapids Public Schools.” Partners in School Innovation. October 15, 2012. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  6. “National Equity Project.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  7. “A Partnering with Grand Rapids Public Schools.” Partners in School Innovation. October 15, 2012. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  8. “Recent Clients.” National Equity Project. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  9. “LaShawn Route Chatmon.” ASU GSV Summit. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  10. “Lashawn Route Chatmon.” Facing Race. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  11. Kubik, Rachel. “Alleged playground racism at Burlington’s Cooper Elementary School under investigation.” The Journal Times. September 21, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  12. Reed, Molly. “Equity project focus behind Northmont school’s controversial letter.” Dayton 247. January 30, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2021.
  13. Pattillo, Alicia. “Arbor View High School parents launch campaign against racism.” KNTV. August 5, 2018. Accessed October 26, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1995

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Jun Form 990 $7,384,565 $6,190,597 $4,603,491 $835,907 N $3,170,036 $4,184,954 $29,575 $152,875 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $5,363,103 $4,949,334 $3,136,621 $563,005 Y $1,700,385 $3,646,259 $16,459 $175,000 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $4,140,407 $4,306,618 $2,776,956 $617,109 N $548,727 $3,582,532 $9,148 $195,000 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $3,053,144 $3,316,017 $2,780,496 $454,438 N $547,566 $2,501,789 $3,789 $183,221
    2015 Jun Form 990 $3,839,033 $2,476,112 $2,973,332 $384,401 N $1,505,779 $2,332,340 $914 $197,811 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $1,904,696 $3,149,405 $1,653,987 $427,977 N $180,782 $1,721,788 $2,126 $311,411 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $3,030,494 $3,574,361 $3,008,073 $457,161 N $594,632 $2,429,953 $5,909 $344,283 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $3,425,304 $3,710,521 $3,436,971 $342,192 N $750,186 $2,663,011 $12,107 $266,279 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $2,778,331 $3,473,150 $3,836,567 $456,571 N $511,385 $2,250,931 $15,815 $278,556 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)