American Institutes for Research Launches $100M+, Five-Year Investment in Behavioral and Social Science Research Addressing Systemic Inequity

The AIR Equity Initiative will address underlying causes of systemic inequity and increase opportunities in education, workforce development, and public safety and policing

Arlington, Va. – The American Institutes for Research (AIR) today is announcing the launch of the AIR Equity Initiative, a five-year, $100+ million investment in behavioral and social science research and technical assistance to address one of the nation’s most pressing issues: systemic inequity.

The AIR Equity Initiative will fund research projects that support the goal of establishing bolder, more strategic and sustained ways of advancing equity, especially in areas where investment is limited. This combination of collaborative research and technical assistance encourages on-the-ground, grassroots approaches to decrease systemic inequity by tackling the issues at the core of conversations about education, workforce development, public safety and policing, and health.



“Our nation is grappling with the consequences of systemic inequity in every state and in all areas of society,” said David Myers, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIR. “The COVID-19 crisis further exposed the long-standing societal fault lines and the need for immediate and ongoing action. AIR believes research has a critical role to play in identifying solutions and informing policies to create a better, more equitable world.”

At its core, the AIR Equity Initiative is a collaborative effort. Researchers and technical assistance specialists will work with partners in communities, schools, employment training organizations and others to ensure the research and technical assistance fields reflect and benefit from diverse perspectives. It will provide new opportunities to generate and use research to address complex, overlooked and challenging aspects of systemic inequity.

“For 75 years, AIR has been generating and using evidence to improve lives. The AIR Equity Initiative bolsters that commitment and will leverage AIR’s internal expertise and fund projects and partnerships to study and build the conditions that facilitate effective approaches,” said Kim DuMont, Vice President and Managing Director of the AIR Equity Initiative. “Our aim is to have individuals and communities that are often isolated from opportunity thrive in school, at work, and in their neighborhoods.”

To kick off the AIR Equity Initiative, AIR will host a virtual roundtable on September 28, 2021, at 2 p.m. EDT. The event, Bridges Toward Equity: Making Workforce Development Work for All, will feature a panel of AIR and community experts discussing how they will work to increase economic mobility and prosperity for many Americans who are currently being left behind. The panel will include:

  • Kim DuMont, Vice President and Managing Director of the AIR Equity Initiative, AIR
  • Irma Perez-Johnson, Vice President & Director of Workforce Programs, AIR
  • Mark Potter, Provost & Chief Academic Officer, City Colleges of Chicago
  • Van Ton-Quinlivan, Chief Executive Officer, Futuro Health
  • Moderator: Makini Nyanteh, Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs, AIR

For more information or to register, visit the AIR website. This will be the first in a series of roundtables to discuss the work of the AIR Equity Initiative and its partners. Future events will cover education, public safety and policing, and health.

About AIR
Established in 1946, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of education, health and the workforce. AIR’s work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit