Read how we're continually learning to create a better Eastern Iowa for all people.
The idea that we will forever be students of diversity, equity and inclusion is something I’ve heard and read over the past few months and it’s a notion that resonates deeply with us at United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI). We have been reflecting as an organization on what our roles and responsibilities are in this arena, how we can be students to continually grow and learn; and what our next steps need to include.
In late summer, United Way Worldwide, our network leader, put forth increased membership requirements around the topic of racial equity. United Way organizations across the world made a clear statement about our values and commitment to advancing racial equity as the vote passed with strong support. UWECI eagerly voted yes to the requirements:
- Develop, maintain, and publicly post an organization position opposing all forms of racism;
- Annually, provide racial equity training for all board members and staff; and
- Develop and use racial equity as one of the criteria in making community investments.
It was work UWECI was already engaged in, as we had adopted a statement of Diversity & Inclusion in June 2019, and were pleased to see our fellow United Ways agree this topic is of utmost importance.
Additionally, we acknowledged that our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion needs formal organizational support. We did this when we established a standing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cross-collaboration committee. Our organizational leaders recognized that we need to be continually growing and have a responsibility to our community around advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s a task that requires UWECI to examine itself honestly, both internally and externally. Just as encouraging was how our Board of Trustees, made up of many community leaders, agreed that UWECI and they, themselves, have a responsibility to our community and ourselves in this work.
In the coming months, we’ll be looking into and reporting back on different areas such as policies, procedures, and initiatives; volunteer efforts; internal and external trainings; gathering and incorporation of data; among many other things.
We’re anxious in moving forward our work around diversity equity, and inclusion. We know there will be hard conversations, enlightening moments and genuine relationships built and deepened. There’s no finish line to cross in this work, instead it’s a winding path of profound learning with UWECI and our community growing together as we fight for the education, financial stability and health of every person in our community.
UWECI President & CEO