Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Schoeneman


Recent social movements and the urgency of the climate crisis have heightened awareness of the exclusion of people of color within the environmental movement. While many environmental nonprofits are working to address racial equity within their organizations, they are often not well-equipped with the tools, tactics, and change management strategies to successfully execute their goals. Using data from case studies via qualitative interviews with local Richmond, VA environmental nonprofit leaders, this study aims to combine insights from nonprofit leaders doing racial equity work with key theories of change from the ProSci ADKAR model, John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change, and Adrienne Maree brown’s Emergent Strategy. The study also incorporates relevant literature and survey data about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work and the current state of diversity in the environmental sector. Conclusions explore possible approaches to racial equity work, a hybrid model of change theory for racial equity, and an analysis of common challenges and roadblocks for nonprofit leaders.