The Research Institute for Structural Change (RISC) is a nonprofit public interest organization that promotes community-led social change. Our mission is to transform communities through research, knowledge partnerships, and innovative programming that promotes structural change in our four areas of advocacy: gender and racial equity, global health, education and youth empowerment, and cultural change.

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About Us

We forge partnerships and alliances that transform research into action through bold and inclusive research frameworks rooted in structural justice and in doing research in the public interest. Unlike most research centers, RISC’s mission is underwritten by a reparative mandate. This means we are focused on transformational change and on coordinating the necessary resource transfers from institutions of higher learning to underserved communities that acknowledges how these institutions have historically benefited from (often unethical) research on and about marginalized communities without reciprocal benefits and reparative actions to these communities. Our theory of change is based on coordinating these structural resource transfers to underserved communities as a practice of justice.

RISC provides state-of-the field research and programming services in our four areas of advocacy to nonprofits and grassroots organizations at no cost, underwriting activities through grants, philanthropy, project alignment, and through novel partnerships with institutions of higher learning that leverage innovative models of research impact and faculty service with land-grant mandates to serve the public good.  

We lead by serving communities. Whether it’s a call for a healing justice community music program, or a research gap in civil rights legislation that attorneys need filled to more effectively represent civil rights claimants in court, we respond to community-led calls for social action research and programs at local, national, and international scales. Our research and programming services are primarily focused on helping mend the resource gap that exists between grassroots organizations working to eradicate structural inequalities, and the data-driven needs community organizations need to thrive as effective agents of change in public and policy arenas. 

We provide opportunity development for diverse researchers serving as community advocates, and we support individuals across artistic and activist arenas who are working to shift cultural conversations towards structural justice and structural change.

We believe that securing lasting, socially transformative structural change remains a pressing global challenge in the collective struggle for social, racial, gender, and environmental justice. Our era is increasingly defined by policy rollbacks and unprecedented setbacks in civil rights, gender equity, and environmental challenges that have deep structural causes and intersecting root structures. The Research Institute for Structural Change responds to the complex challenges of ongoing structural inequality through an innovative systems-change framework that bridges high-quality research in the public interest with community activism and people-centered grassroots power. 

Interested in joining our efforts?

Check out our projects and ways to support RISC.
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Get Involved

At RISC, we take ‘research for the people, by the people’ to mean a way of doing research that requires a change-of-lens perspective, one that shifts away from regarding academic researchers as ‘outside’ of community-based organizing networks and shifts toward acknowledging the unique skills and perspectives that diverse researchers bring with them as Black, Indigenous, people of color, 2SLGBTQ+, and disabled persons, but also as survivors of sexual, domestic, and intimate partner violence who are already engaged in advocacy work. We build supportive research and partnership environments (across legal, scientific, and humanities fields) where the research that informs community-led change is forged in a wealth of shared and lived expertise about the nature of structural violence our communities face, and the paths that must be forged collaboratively in pursuit of structural change. If you’re interested in joining our efforts, please fill out one of our contact forms below!

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Land Acknowledgment