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An eastern Iowa coalition to increase diversity, equity and inclusion is asking area businesses to survey themselves

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Inclusive ICR's DEI index is now available for area businesses through May 13.

A coalition working on diversity, equity and inclusion in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor is offering a free assessment tool for area businesses.

Inclusive ICR Co-Chair Stefanie Munsterman said the group created a DEI index as a response to businesses asking for help.

"They want to know what is our baseline: what are we doing right now? What are our areas for opportunities? What are areas of challenge? How can we do better? What are we doing well, and then what resources can we have in order to continue our growth on the DEI journey?" she said.

Munsterman said once a business completes the index, which will function similarly to a survey, it’ll receive a confidential report on what improvements it can make.

"Then from there, that's where we can look at the online resource library that we're building out, which will feature local and regional and national tools, and to connect them to strategists who specialize in the DEI space," she said.

Munsterman said library will have affordable options businesses could do to improve, like working on community outreach and support for underrepresented groups.

So far, more than 50 businesses are working on the index. Munsterman said the community's response has been strong.

"I'm hearing from the community in general that they're thankful that organizations are beginning to see DEI as a large pillar that is necessary for the organization to create positive change," she said.

Munsterman said beyond the DEI index, which they hope to continue yearly, Inclusive ICR has additional events, resources, and projects to support diversity efforts in business.

The index is now available and is open through May 13.

Catherine Wheeler is Iowa Public Radio's All Things Considered host and a reporter.