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The Strategic Framework outlines the vision, goals, strategies, objectives, and guiding principle of Citizens Options Unlimited commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) both within the organization and in our intersections and interactions with people we support, families, employees, and external stakeholders. Additionally, it provides a clear structure for focusing our actions and ensuring they are meaningful, targeted, and lead to sustained, deep, and powerful change. Altogether, it charts a course for building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.

The framework is grounded in our mission and core values. Our DEI goals reaffirm that our mission and core values are foundational to who we are. Likewise, they continue to represent who we want to be as an organization, even as we put greater emphasis on our work in DEI.

The components illustrated in the pages that follow define the framework itself. Together, these components provide the necessary strategic foundation for the DEI Action Plan’s initiative and next steps:

  • Vision for Transformative Impact: This is our shared understanding of how this work integrates with our organization’s core values and mission to create long-lasting change.
  • Guiding Principles: These key ideas guide how we will accomplish our work together and codify the spirit of DEI practices at CITIZENS.
  • Overarching DEI Goal: To become the culturally competent, human service organization of choice for all our internal and external constituents.
  • Areas of Focus: To guide our actions, these thematic areas of emphasis were developed based on organization surveys and an organizational assessment
  • Strategies and Objectives: These specific directional strategies, align with our focus areas, provide a roadmap for targeted actions, and intended outcomes staged over time.

Core Values

At Citizens we believe that:

Collage of Polaroid photos of people supported by CitizensCitizens DEI Core Values Graphic


Citizens Words to Know DEI Graphic


Recognizing all dimensions of human differences. In the broadest sense, diversity refers to the inclusion of all historically marginalized people regardless of racial and ethnic background, disability, gender and gender identity, sexuality, nationality, religious beliefs, age, and socioeconomic status among others.

Guaranteeing identical distribution of resources regardless of the above-mentioned differences. Equality focuses on perceived fairness and is different from equity.

Recognizes that all people do not start from the same place and focuses on adjusting imbalances, giving each person what they need to succeed. Imbalances focus on access, opportunity, and support.

The practice of creating spaces, in and outside an organization, that celebrate and recognize the value of diversity. Including people who have historically been excluded at all levels of the organization (representation) and ensuring that everyone can achieve their full potential is of great importance.



Overarching DEI Goal

To become a premier, culturally competent, educational institution and residential provider of choice for partners, students, job candidates, and staff who value diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Areas of Focus:

To enact measurable change over time, our work in DEI will focus on growing the areas of strength and improving in the areas of deficit identified in our needs assessment and the DEI strategic process.

Citizens DEI Areas of Focus Graphic

DEI Strategies and Objectives

Next, we move from intent into action and outcomes. To do so, we must develop, implement, measure, and sustain an Action Plan that aligns with our areas of focus.

Citizens DEI Areas of Focus Strategies Graphic


DEI Actions List / Progress

A photo of a diverse group of young adults at a table
Below, you will find an initial list of actions we will pursue to implement our DEI strategies and objectives. The actions are organized under CITIZENS’s three main DEI strategies. Several actions relate to more than one of the three strategies. We indicate these instances. All items are coded by the timeframe anticipated as defined above. You will additionally see completed items identified in this document.


Explore the Plan

Below are some quick links to Share Feedback, view the Full Plan or view Words to Know


Our Partners

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