Our Equity WorkUnited Way is committed to promoting equity internally and through our public-facing programs
“DEI” has become a buzzworthy acronym over the last few years. For many organizations, unfortunately, it’s something that’s easy to say and convenient to promote, but hard to execute and sustain.
Authentic advancement of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for organizations and individuals requires commitment, and attention, to learning and education, access to resources and fair paying jobs, cultural awareness, and recognition of mounting disparities between those who thrive and those who do not. It requires tangible action, not yet another “task force” to meet quarterly and discuss initiatives that never come to fruition.
For us at the United Way, that means being thoughtful and intentional about hiring and board nomination practices, the promotion of talent, partnerships, grantmaking, and programming.
Acceptance is critical, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Throughout each initiative, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville values differences, creating an environment that strives to be genuinely inclusive. We are engaged in enriching our cultural perspective and thus, working to contribute positively to the dismantling of systemic racism.
The flowery language and business-speak have to be rooted in tangible goals and steadfast actions. We plan to hold ourselves, and insist that our community and its members hold us, accountable to these goals and ensure we remain on track to create a community where every person can thrive.
To be part of the movement, we have to walk the walk. We urge you to join us.
Our Equity Work in Action
We demonstrate our commitment to equity through our partnerships, grantmaking, programming, and initiatives.
New podcast from the United Way explores real stories of real people in Charlottesville. Offering agency to those who are historically-marginalized and providing a voice to those who are for too long unheard. Topics include entrepreneurship, local government, race, wealth, and the state of the culinary industry. Subscribe for episodes every other Wednesday.
It’s a simple idea: bring people in our community together to share a meal, a conversation, and build common ground. Getting to know one another can lead to greater awareness and understanding, can begin to build trust, and form new relationships. Attendees are asked to embrace multiple viewpoints, welcome diversity, act with respect, and exercise active listening.
We use an equity lens throughout our grantmaking process. Our landmark partnership with the Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce works to stimulate and support small minority-owned businesses located in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We recognize that one barrier to success for small businesses is the lack of access to affordable capital. This program is intended to provide a financial lift to the recipients as they pursue success.
Inclusive Excellence Framework
The Inclusive Excellent Framework, developed by board member, Kevin McDonald, was created to synergize and support our collective diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts. The collaborative Inclusive Excellent model for organizational change has been a national movement since 2005 and calls for organizations to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to achieving excellence.