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Part 1: Get Ready


1. Ground The Case For Change In Your Mission And Values Systems

Begin by articulating why you think it’s important to focus explicitly on race, equity and inclusion, and how this focus will enable you to carry out your mission more effectively. You’ll need to do your homework about the history of race, equity and inclusion within your United Way and in your community. Who’s been excluded? Who’s bearing the burden of inequitable resources and life outcomes? Continue to refine your case as you bring more stakeholders into the process. Communicating with a sense of urgency is a crucial first step to understanding the “why” and building the business case, a shared vision, and commitment to change.

You’re embarking on a change process and people typically want to know why the change matters before they commit to making efforts to implement it. No matter the size of your UW, help your staff, board, volunteers, partners, and community members understand why you’re focusing on race, equity and inclusion, and how this focus will improve your ability to achieve your mission and LIVE UNITED. As a leader, begin by expressing your own ideas, then gather input from others. As you move through the process, explore and refine the shared case for change with additional stakeholders.

Here Are Three Core Ideas To Help You Get Started:

Clarify How Focusing on Race, Equity and Inclusion Enables You to Achieve Your Mission, Vision, and Values

Living United means being courageous and eliminating the disparities that keep certain segments of our community from achieving opportunities for a better life. It means mobilizing the caring power of community to lift those most in need and create communities where no one experiences barriers to living healthy, thriving lives. It also means internally modeling what an equitable and caring community looks like. Explain how the absence of this focus will harm (or has harmed) your community and your organization, how taking this approach will benefit everyone, and how even traditional social service providers have a role to play in eliminating the barriers that create a need for their services.

Explore How Focusing on Race, Equity and Inclusion Will Strengthen the Fabric of Your Community

When everyone prospers, the talents of each community member are developed and their potential to contribute to a thriving community and economy is expanded. Given the economic, ecological, and social challenges we face in our communities, we need everyone living their best lives and making their best contributions—including your staff. We know that a more engaged staff stays longer, remains more committed, and can more authentically engage with the community.

Explain How Focusing on Race, Equity and Inclusion Will Strengthen the Fabric of Your United Way

UWW is evolving our business model in response to fundamental shifts in technology, globalization, and increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. For instance, ensuring that your United Way is an inclusive workplace for people of many racial and ethnic backgrounds will enable you to attract and retain talented individuals to serve your mission. It will enable you to partner even more effectively with a wider range of individuals and organizations in your community. It will bring new insights and strategies into every aspect of your work.