Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) 

Advancing Equity, honoring our diverse identity, and creating an inclusive culture (1)

Guiding Principles

The City of Sun Prairie is a vibrant and thriving community located in northeastern Dane county, just east of the City of Madison. Sun Prairie has experienced strong population growth since its incorporation from a village to a city in 1958, undergoing a transformation from a relatively small community of less than 4,000 to an estimated 36,394 today. The City is well situated regionally, with excellent access to major transportation routes and facilities.  As an organization, the City employs 285 full-time and 80 part-time. Sun Prairie's appeal, marked by its high quality of life, outstanding parks and recreation programs, a historic downtown, exceptional public schools, and forward-thinking approach to community development, continues to attract residents and visitors alike.

As the City of Sun Prairie experiences rapid population growth, it is continues to evolve into a more diverse and dynamic organization and community. We not only acknowledge but also wholeheartedly embrace this diversity, seeing it as a source of strength and vitality. Our commitment to advancing equity, honoring our diverse identity, and fostering an inclusive culture serves as the focus of our daily endeavors. We encourage you to review our the steps we have taken live out our values and cultivate a community where all are welcome. 

Our DEI Journey

Beginning Steps

On August 4th, 2015, the City Council created the Ad Hoc Steering Committee on Diversity. The committee consisted of 17 members and Mayor Paul Esser acted as the Chair. The Committee was tasked with the following:

  1. Provide recommendations to enhance the City's capability to locate, recruit and hire qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds
  2. Identify and Provide a better understanding of the unique needs of different individuals and communities within Sun Prairie regarding City Services

Over the next year and a half, the Committee met approximately two times per month to discuss and analyze topics related to the above. Following the dissolution of the Committee on April 1, 2017 the Mayor presented the Committee's Final Report (PDF) to the City Council. The City Council accepted the report and instructed staff to begin the implementation of its recommendations.

Since that time, the City has made continued to make significant progress in advancing these values.

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Action Steps

Our organization has taken many steps to ensure we our living out our values of DEI and we invite you to see our journey. Our dedication to serving every member of our community is an ongoing endeavor. Explore the graphics and links below to witness the tangible steps we've taken towards our mission. 

WCMA Presentation

In 2023, the City's Communications & Diversity Strategist presented at the Winter WMCA Conference to a variety of different City Managers and Administrators about Sun Prairie's DEI Journey while encouraging them to consider the ways they can take steps to live out the values of DEI. Click on the graphic below to see a PDF of the presentation which includes demographic information about the community and our organization, DEI action steps, explanation of the Equity Audit and more.

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Our Journey (StoryMap)

We have developed an accessible and interactive StoryMap that chronicles the comprehensive array of events, plans, and initiatives we have set in motion to further our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within our organization and across the community. We encourage you to explore its contents and follow our progress as we document the wide range of actions we are taking. We want to note that this resource is continuously updated and designed to serve as a continuously evolving reference. Additionally, there is information included about the DEI work being led by the Sun Prairie Area School District. 

Click the graphic below to be redirected. 

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Organizational Equity Audit 

To ensure that our organization and the services it provides to the public are consistent with these values, the City contracted with a firm to conduct an Organizational Equity Audit. In December 2021, City Council approved a contract with Prism Technical LLC to complete this work. 

The priority areas of the audit include: 

-Building a more diverse and inclusive organization for employees and the community in which the City serves.

-Identifying blind spots and processes that perpetuate systemic injustice. 

-Identifying current successes, areas for improvement and recommendations/strategy in next steps for making concrete improvements in the areas of DEI. 

To ensure a comprehensive assessment, the Equity Audit was conducted in a phased approach. Part One of the audit focused on conducting an organizational review, which included an in-depth analysis of our internal practices regarding DEI and how city employees experience the city as an employer. Part Two centered on engaging with the community to capture their experiences regarding equity in city services. The end result is a comprehensive report that outlines the goals of the audit by providing a path toward ensuring the city is an inclusive employer delivering services in an equitable manner.

To review the report in PDF format, click the graphic below. 

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Presentation to Committee of the Whole of the Organizational Equity Audit

On Tuesday, September 19, 2023, the Organizational Equity Audit was presented to the Mayor and City Council members to break down the study and its purposes, highlight key findings for Part One and Part Two, and discuss recommendations and next steps. To review the presentation and highlights of the project, click the graphic below. To watch a recording of the presentation, please follow this link

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Relevant documents to the Organization Equity Audit:

Community Partner Sponsorship

In 2023, City Council passed a budget initiative to allocate funds for organizations in the community who are planning events, activities, and initiatives in line with the City's values of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Our commitment to advancing equity, honoring our diverse identity, and fostering an inclusive culture serves as the focus of our daily endeavors. We want to support others who are doing this work in the Sun Prairie community. Currently, there is $5,000 allocated available for this initiative. You can click the graphic below to be directed to the application.

 Once your application is submitted, an internal team of staff will review and reach out to the email address provided to notify you of the application's status. Specific questions can be sent to Jake King, Communications & Diversity Strategist, at jking@cityofsunprairie.com.

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