Equity through Meaningful Community Engagement

EMCE (Equity through Meaningful Community Engagement) is helping bridge the assets, knowledge and resources of communities, organizations and systems. EMCE focuses on advancing meaningful community engagement strategies and co-creating innovative models to help communities lead decision-making and change efforts in their communities. EMCE also assists organizations in gaining a deeper knowledge and practice of meaningful community engagement.

Kim Rawlinson on Cross-Sector Collaboration

What do we mean by meaningful community engagement? Watch this short video to learn more.

EMCE seeks to engage and empower communities by:

  • Developing, co-creating, and testing innovative approaches to address inequalities and enhance authentic community engagement with communities through the creation of resources;
  • Bridging the assets, knowedge, and resources of communities, organizations, and systems to better understand and address inequities through processes such as research, evaluation, and other consensus building activities; and
  • Building the capacity of organizations to ensure that interactions with communities are meaningful and equitable and that community members are better equipped to advocate for their communities

EMCE works to advance equity through community engagement initiatives with a variety of organizations and community members. Several of these initiatives have included:


The learnings gained from the Enhancing Equity in Cross-Sector Alignment Through Meaningful Community Engagement research project have led us our current focus on the following activities and initiatives:


  • Book Chapter: A book chapter on our work has been published in Aligning Systems for Health: Research Learnings from Across the Nation. Our book chapter is based on the learnings from the Enhancing Equity in Cross-Sector Alignment Through Meaningful Community Engagement research project and highlights the findings, challenges, and strategies to meaningfully engage community residents in efforts that impact their communities.
  • Partnering with community members with lived experience enhances the community’s ability to address its own health needs and health inequities… However, time and time again, engaging with communities in a meaningful, effective way proves challenging, and it often results in organizations finding ways to “check the box” or only superficially engage with community members. Click here to read the complete book chapter.
  • Community Engagement Academy: EMCE will pilot a Community Engagement Toward Equity Academy in early 2024. The academy will provide a unique opportunity designed to equip participants with effective strategies on how to engage communities in a meaningful and intentional manner in an effort to address inequities. This program will build the capacity and equip community leaders/influencers, organizational leaders, researchers, funders, and other interested stakeholders with the skills and practical tools needed to do their work more effectively.
  • Assessment Tool: EMCE is developing a meaningful community engagement assessment tool for organizations that desire to improve how they engage with the communities they serve.  This tool will assist in assessing strategies currently being utilized and identify areas where changes/shifts may need to be made.
  •  Manuscript Writing: Currently, a manuscript is in progress that will detail the process and findings of the open mic community conversations for the Enhancing Equity in Cross-Sector Alignment Through Meaningful Community Engagement research project. These sessions were conducted with community residents across four South Carolina communities.