Hanif Fazal

Founding Partner


What do you do at CEI?
I am the CEO and founding partner of CEI. In my position I’m provided the opportunity to work with partner organizations, school districts, foundations and community leaders to strategically and urgently advance equity and inclusion efforts. I also have the great fortune to work with and support the amazing team we have assembled at the Center; together we are focused on building a thriving organization that models the principles of equity and inclusion internally while providing the highest level of services externally.

What did you do before CEI?

I have spent over 20 years addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. For seven of those years I worked within a nonprofit organization and helped lead a transformative process to advance equity and inclusion across all aspects of the organization. This experience was pivotal as it helped me understand that a transformative process focused on equity and inclusion is possible. It also illuminated the real challenges, pitfalls, benefits, and opportunities that are generated –at all levels of an organization- when engaging in this type of process.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to work regionally, nationally and internationally with numerous organizations across the fields of education, philanthropy, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors, helping them to plan and strategically advance equity and inclusion efforts organization or system wide. I have presented on the subject of equity, diversity, and inclusion to a myriad of stakeholders, and provided numerous workshops that assist direct service providers in applying an equity lens to their practice. Alongside this work I had the opportunity to found a number of programs that have continued to operate to the present day. I have founded the Heart of Facilitation training, a national facilitation training program for educators, social workers, and diversity officers, and facilitators. I am the founder of the Step Up program, a nationally and locally recognized program that serves over 350 disadvantaged students yearly across Portland Public school District. I am the co-founder of Open School East, a 7th-12th grade school program that serves students across 5 school districts, and I am also the co-founder of the Equity Certificate Program which is a collaborative education initiative providing intensive professional development focused on equity and inclusion to educators across multiple school districts.

Why do you do this work?
I do this work because I want to contribute to something bigger than me.

What do you believe
I believe that this work has no finish line although it has a lot of “wins” along the way.

What is a question that guides your work?
How do we find our empowerment-individually and collectively-, in a system designed for our oppression?

Hanif Fazal-Bio (PDF)