Letter to the Board of Directors of New York Road Runners (11/20/20)

To the NYRR Board of Directors, 

We have created a document containing all of the submissions that we received from staff, former staff, and several community members regarding the climate at NYRR. We are sharing these in hopes that they will help aid the ongoing investigation and in the case that these items were not shared with Proskauer. 

As employees who have experienced many of the transgressions listed in the attached document and know them to be true, we are making the following recommendations for remediation that we implore the Board to consider in conjunction with Proskauer’s findings. 

  1. Immediate removal of Michael Capiraso, president and CEO and board member, as he fosters toxic, discriminatory, and systemically racist work culture at NYRR.
  2. Develop anti-racist core values and communicate publicly and internally using anti-racist language including internal documents such as Employee Handbook as well as social media campaigns as appropriate.
  3. Hire new leadership with deep work experience and understanding of community programming to oversee community engagement. NYRR needs to invest meaningful time and resources to community engagement while incorporating DEI into the implementation and analysis of impact and goal setting. 
  4. Remedial actions of problematic senior leaders (detailed in the attached document). 
  5. Address staff concerns raised in RebuildNYRR’s original demands. (https://rebuildnyrr.org/2020/08/25/letter-to-board/). 
    1. Hire an external firm to conduct pay equity audit, communicate results, and take corrective action to remediate disparities 
    2. Communicate results of Proskauer findings with a commitment to sustained DEI integration in all facets of business operations including contracting vendors and eliminating nepotist hires
    3. Communicate the results of the investigation of previous issues outlined in the initial Board letter including Rising New York Road Runners data integrity and TFK fundraising ethics.
    4. Allow new DEI hire Erica Edwards O’Neal to lead restructure HR policies and procedures to foster an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory workplace
  6. Create a roadmap with real goals and action items on how NYRR will address and handle DEI that can be shared internally and publicly including an outline of what the new SVP will be working on.
  7. Working in alignment with Erica Edwards O’Neal, there needs to be ways that NYRR supports employees to remedy grievances, resentment, and foster healing in the workplace.     
  8. If the Board chooses to leave current HR leadership in place, they should create a third party employee advocate that can hold HR accountable and ensure that issues are handled in a fair and equitable manner. 
  9. Remove disparagement clause from upcoming layoffs stemming from covid crisis as employees may have ongoing EEOC claims and should still be entitled to their severance pay for the time served at NYRR.
  10. Realign the philanthropy strategy that centralizes fundraising including TFK under one umbrella and is reflective of all youth and community programs and supports NYRR as a running community organization.
  11. Hire a new training consultant company that has demonstrated work history in diverse environments including within its staff. Employees should be able to have career coaches and career trainings led by facilitators who reflect their respective identities. 
  12. The Board should request findings from Proskauer not be limited to a synopsis of problems but inclusive of the leaders who facilitated the root causes. As the Board is looking to remedy discriminatory environments at NYRR, each problematic leader needs to be held accountable. They have all contributed to this toxic environment to different degrees. 
  13. Communicate justification and transparency as to why the Board is taking action or inaction for findings from Proskaur investigation and Tai Dixon DEI audit. 

Thank you for your time and consideration of our recommendations, 

RebuildNYRR 

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