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Organization Development
a Catalyst for Social Change

Applegate Consulting Group is an organization development (OD) practice that assists national and international nonprofit organizations, government agencies and socially responsible for-profit corporations with developing human and organizational capacity and building a more just and equitable society.


News & Events

Beth Applegate contributed to a recently published book
on cultural competency

Author: Patricia St Onge
Beth Applegate, Vicki Asakura, Monika K. Moss, Brigette Rouson, Alfredo Vergara-Lobo

Publication Date:
July 15, 2009
 ISBN: 978-0-940069-68-8
Publisher: Fieldstone Alliance
Pages: 272
Price: $29.95

Order Here

There is no such thing as a “how-to” manual on cultural competency. It’s an ongoing journey organizations choose to take because they know the end-result is a more inclusive, connected, and effective organization. This forthcoming book by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management collects the voices of many nonprofit leaders and capacity builders to help nonprofit organizations begin to understand the complexity within diverse communities.

Through a range of methods—literature review, personal interviews, peer dialogue, insights of contributing authors—readers get a mosaic of perspectives that surround cultural competency. Plus, the book presents the insights of authors who represent five major ethnic communities in the United States: Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, African American, White, and Latino. [Read Press Release]


16th Annual White Privilege Conference

Beth co-presented a 90 minute concurrent session entitled Ending Racism Within Our Lifetimes: How can Work in Communities Differently and Effectively to Achieve Racial Justice. In many communities, efforts to address structural racism are conducted in silos, often competing rather than collaborating, with sometimes limited engagement of the community, and awareness of how the process reflects dominant white culture.  This workshop will present a community case study, and work through the challenges we all face in aligning our organizational practices, strategies and community-building processes with our value of racial justice.  Also, learn about the new governance model of an emerging racial healing and equity national network, Within Our Lifetime.


16th Annual White Privilege Conference

Beth co-presented a day-long institute on Implicit Bias. Implicit Bias, as defined by Racial Equity Tools, "is a concept based on an emerging body of cognitive and neural research. It identifies ways in which unconscious patterns people inevitably develop in their brains to organize information actually affect individuals attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications, even though individuals may not even be aware that those biases exist within themselves. "Implicit Bias affects everything, when you think about our social institutions (i.e. churches, schools, universities, hospitals, recreational parks, families, law enforcement, local and national government). Practices are developed based on unconscious biases. At this day and age, the growth of our communities depend on unearthing unconscious biases and providing solutions to work together. Recognizing our own implicit bias is an important start on our individual journeys to heal from internalized oppression and superiority, and to organize systemically to improve the human condition. It helps us to understand how people unconsciously and sometimes unwillingly exhibit bias toward other individuals and groups. Raises awareness about how implicit bias reveals itself in the words we use to express our feelings and behavior toward people of color. While it is important to state that implicit bias is only one piece of a broader set of understanding about how bias, racism and privilege operate systemically and together, implicit bias research demonstrates individual neural associations can be changed through specific practices of "debiasing", and, if those biases can be changed at the individual level we have hope with sufficient time will and investment they can also change at the societal level. Our learning objectives for the institute include: 1) raising awareness of Implicit Bias through utilizing the IAT Implicit Association Test; 2) learning how Implicit Bias can reveal itself in different ways, such as by the words we use to express our feelings and behavior toward people of color; 3) Understanding Implicit Bias can help free us from guilty feelings about the embedded nature of racism in our society. It can help us recognize that individually we may not be to blame, but that we are all responsible and accountable for confronting racist policies and behaviors. Our institute will help participants through a highly interactive experience and offer action-oriented, concrete takeaways about how to leverage awareness of Implicit Bias and how to apply this new knowledge to racial and social justice work in the South and across the United States.


16th Annual White Privilege Conference

Beth Applegate, co-presented a day-long institute on using Polarity Thinking to interrupt White Privilege. Learning about Polarity Thinking has deeply impacted the way I approach my work. I use Polarity Thinking directly with clients when they are caught in cyclical patterns that emerge when polarities are not well managed. Polarity Thinking is not new. Polarities are ongoing, interdependent values (often opposites) that need each other over time in order to achieve a greater purpose. They are energy systems that work in a predictable way. They live in us and we live in them. They are free, unstoppable and leveragable. Each polarity is a powerful energy system that can be – and has been - leveraged to achieve positive change. Polarity Thinking has been used to support black students in a traditionally white school at the fall of apartheid in South Africa, and is being used to support black communities and police reform in the United States today. When we can see societal problems as a part of one or more key polarities, it increases the attainability, speed, and sustainability of our efforts to build the world we envision. Through storytelling and interactive exercises, participants will literally get to stand in and experience each of the four quadrants of a polarity map, experience the "getting unstuck” process, and work in teams to create action steps to leverage the upsides of both sizes of the polarity.



15th Annual White Privilege Conference


Beth Applegate, co-presented a day-long institute on  using Polarity Thinking to interrupt White Privilege. Polarity Thinking is not new. The focus on interdependent pairs (polarities) is as old as Judaism, which recognizes an interdependency between a god of mercy who loves you and a god of justice who holds you accountable for your actions. Polarities are interdependent pairs in which we live and that live in us. In the literature they are also called dilemmas, paradoxes, or tensions. They are unsolvable, unavoidable, indestructible, and unstoppable. Each polarity is a powerful energy system that we can learn to leverage to achieve positive change. For example, which one is more important? Intention OR Impact; Individual Racism OR Structural Racism; Making a Difference OR Enjoying Life; Mercy OR Justice; Freedom for the Part OR Equality among the parts within the Whole. These are all polarities. Opposite pairs which can't function well independently - You cannot choose one as a solution and neglect the other over a sustained period of time without experiencing negative results. A very relevant and life-sustaining polarity is breathing. We breathe in; we breathe out. Do you prefer one over the other? Is one better than the other? Choosing inhaling

White privilege, in the United States context, is about inequitable distribution of power, money, education, healthcare, housing, and work, to name a few. Most of the issues associated with interrupting and dismantling white privilege are polarities to leverage and not problems to solve. It is easy to identify white privilege as a "problem to solve." It is also easy to simply identify the "solution" as the move From white privilege To racial equality. This is based on a "gap analysis" in which we identify three things: 1) what is wrong with the present state = white privilege, 2) what would be a preferred future state = racial equality, and, 3) a strategy to bridge the "gap" between the present state and the preferred future state. We suggest that gap analysis and typical problem solving, alone, is not only inadequate to interrupt white privilege, it undermines our efforts by generating unnecessary resistance. We suggest that the absolutely essential move From white privilege To racial equality is more effectively seen as a segment of an ongoing polarity energy system. When we can see it as a part of one or more key polarities, it will increase the attainability, speed, and sustainability of our efforts to interrupt white privilege, which in turn will support building relationships, and achieving justice faster and more sustainably.


In Our Lifetime Network

Beth Applegate, was selected to serve on both the Governance, and Campaign Committees for the In Our Lifetime Network. We are a network of racial healing practitioners and racial equity advocates who are committed to ending the impact of racism in our lifetime. We heal communities and dismantle beliefs. We advocate for just policies and lead change. We learn, We listen, We act. Email:; Twitter: @wolnetwork