A partnership with the United Way to apply empathy research to build community belonging
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To meet the growing awareness of the impacts of marginalization in our communities across the country, thousands of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging programs have been formed in the last two years.

The sad fact is, research shows that the majority of these programs fall short of creating communities where marginalized folks feel represented in a space or feel they belong. Playground of Empathy’s vision is to create communities that do not only speak of inclusion and belonging, or try to understand it conceptually, but are actually able to apply the knowledge and become truly inclusive.

Based on our extensive research with the country’s top scientists studying bias, empathy and connection, we’ve determined that one of the best ways to create belonging is by taking time to walk in the shoes of people who are different from you. Gaining exposure to our differences through media storytelling has many positive outcomes, such as these:

Conceptual Programs Immersive Learning Programs
Design strategies and lessons that don’t create a culture of inclusion Apply empathy, creating curiosity and relatability
Create Defensiveness and Pushback We meet you where you are and let you arrive at your own pace

Use Bullet Points, Statistics =

Failed Attempts to educate

Apply POV Immersive Media 

Changes Viewpoints Gently

Often relies on marginalized folks to do the work to educate others. Applies scalable, evocative storytelling which removes the burden from marginalized folks.
Rely on testimonials Prove through data

These immersive, scalable, and cost-effective experiences allow locals to walk in the shoes of other locals, and better see how society treats us all differently based on our features of identity.

Through a partnership with United Way of Greater Charlottesville for the last year and a half, Playground of Empathy has worked to be data and results driven in how this program impacts groups. Playground’s non profit arm has shared this experience with the United Way board, and 10,000 individuals working at organizations and non profits in the United States. Results

To best understand how this program can and is now on a path to pilot and measure this experience at 12-24 United Ways throughout the United States. Based on our current data, we feel this program could have a sizably noticeable and differential impact on creating communities of belonging, and this next step marks an important phase in that discovery.