The Boulder Fund

2020 Recipient

Kiara Butler
CEO & Founder
Diversity Talks
Issue Areas:
Advocacy, Youth Development, Teacher Training, Cultural Competency
Rhode Island


Diversity Talks specializes in increasing the cultural competence of educators by providing student-led professional development grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion. With this approach, they partner with school systems and organizations to create unique educational contexts where adults are learners and young people are facilitators of learning. Diversity Talks believes that a lasting impact is possible if we focus our efforts on increasing the cultural competence of adults and concurrently create a platform for youth voice.

Over the past year, Diversity Talks developed a framework and assessment that evaluates the cultural competence of educators using four dimensions; power, empathy, relationships, and mindset (PERM). They will evaluate and refine the utility and effectiveness of the PERM Framework and Assessment with Rhode Island pilot partners to set the foundation to disseminate a proven PERM Framework and Assessment nationwide.


Kiara Butler is the CEO and Founder of Diversity Talks, a nascent, Rhode Island-based training company, which specializes in providing student-led professional development grounded in diversity, equity and inclusion. Butler is a strong advocate for student voice and in her current work, she focuses on bringing the voices of marginalized groups to the forefront. Because of her advocacy, she has been recognized for her work in various capacities.

Originally from Mississippi - a state known for holding biases, bigotry, and racism - Butler is a graduate of the state’s K12 public education system. When a K12 student in Mississippi, she did not believe educators were aware that the lack of inclusivity of all races, religions, and cultures had a connection between students feeling marginalized and low student performance. Today, her experiences as a student remain the driving force behind her commitment as a change agent transforming K12 public education.

Butler has obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Career Oriented Humanities with an emphasis in African American Studies from the prestigious Tougaloo College and became a member of the Gamma Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Butler also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Belhaven University. In 2021, Butler will have obtained a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University.