Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

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Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and we abide to and uphold all of MIT’s policies.

MIT

The MIT Institute Community and Equity Office’s mission is to advance a respectful and caring community that embraces diversity and empowers everyone to learn and do their best at MIT, cultivating a community focused on MIT’s shared values of excellence, community, equity, belonging, openness, integrity, and mutual respect.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

MIT Solve

MIT Solve acknowledges Indigenous Peoples as the traditional stewards of the land, and the enduring relationship that exists between them and their traditional territories. The land on which we sit is the traditional unceded territory of the Wampanoag Nation. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced occupation of their territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous people connected to this land on which we gather from time immemorial.

Through Solve’s core values of optimism, partnership, open innovation, human-centered solutions, and inclusive technology, we strive to uphold the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and are committed to anti-racism in all the work we do. Read more about our commitment to anti-racism here.

MIT Solve has an internal DEI team of Solve staff specifically focused on three areas: 

  1. Internal efforts (including data collection, hiring, and vendor selection)
  2. Programming
  3. Communications  

Diversity: We appreciate and leverage the many differences of Solve staff and Solve’s larger community, and we involve and reflect the various communities we serve through partnership and open innovation. We believe that “everyone should have a seat at the problem-solving table,” as MIT President Reif states

Equity: We design our policies, practices, and resources with the goal of providing people of all backgrounds a genuine opportunity to thrive. 

Inclusion: We strive to create an environment in which everyone feels valued and respected. Solve specifically seeks to support social entrepreneurs who use human-centered, inclusive technologies to solve world challenges. We know that when solutions are designed with the most underserved populations in mind, they benefit everyone. 

MIT Solver Teams and their Selection

To date, MIT Solve supports 165 Solver teams from 43 countries around the world. Of these teams, 52 percent are women-led. Of the 165 Solver teams, 72 are headquartered outside the US and 58 are headquartered in the US.

When selecting Solver teams for a particular Challenge, we do not believe one solution from one team will solve the posed Challenge. Instead, we apply a portfolio approach. For each Challenge, Solve selects a class of six to ten Solver teams. For each Solver cohort, we look for a diverse pool across geography, gender, stage, technology, approach, business model, and more.

Further, we do not believe Solve or MIT on its own is best suited to evaluate and select these Solver teams. We build for each Challenge a diverse Challenge Leadership Group of approximately 20 cross-sector leaders who help us design and promote the Challenge, as well as select the Solver teams and mentor them post-selection. We build the Challenge Leadership Group with a particular look at creating a diverse group across geography, race, gender, sector, technical expertise, and more.

MIT Solve Indigenous Fellowship and US Challenges

While Solve is a global program focused on driving innovation to solve world challenges, we also seek to continue doing work in the United States, including a special focus on racial justice.

In 2018, Solve started an Indigenous Communities Fellowship and now supports 21 Indigenous Communities Fellows representing 12 American Indian tribes, two-thirds of which are women. Read more about the program here.  

In 2020, we launched the Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge, which poses the question “How can workers in the United States attain the knowledge and learn the skills needed to access sustainable jobs and livelihoods in the new economy?” and include a racial justice focus.

In 2021, Solve will launch a Challenge looking at anti-racist technology and how to promote racial justice in the US—please get in touch to provide input on the challenge and get involved with this work. 

MIT Solve Events

At Solve’s annual flagship events, Solve at MIT and Solve Challenge Finals, content and programming are held to exceptionally high diversity standards to maintain the quality of our events. We strive for those on stage—whether performers, moderators, speakers, or panelists—to represent the diversity of our global community, through geographic region, race, gender identity, and sector. Solve’s flagship events provide closed captioning for virtual and recorded sessions. 

Similarly, at Solve’s regional Indigenous Communities Fellowship events, we make a concerted effort to ensure that not only speakers and event attendees represent diverse perspectives, but that the location of our events aligns with the mission of the Fellowship – for the past two years, the regional Fellowship event has been held on the Standing Rock and Pine Ridge reservations, respectively. All event vendors have been Native-owned and operated small businesses.

MIT Solve Staff and Vendors

MIT Solve is committed to inclusion and diversity to build a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. The more diverse our team is, the better we can achieve our mission of solving world challenges.

As of August 2020, out of 23 full-time Solve staff, 74 percent are women and 43 percent are non-white based on self-reporting. 

Like MIT, we are conducting an exercise to review our vendor relations and are committed to the diversity of these across all of our programs. 

Accessibility

MIT is committed to providing an environment that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Solve’s flagship events provide closed captioning for virtual and recorded sessions. 

Solve’s physical office building entrance can be accessed by two power doors. The third floor office space is accessible by elevator and two power doors. 

 
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