Diversity and Inclusion

"WE MUST ELIMINATE THE SYSTEMIC RACISM THAT PERMEATES THROUGHOUT OUR SOCIETY..."

I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota.  I went to college there and was fortunate enough to be hired by United Way of America as a Management Trainee over 30 years ago.  My first placement was at United Way in St. Paul and I was so pleased to stay in my hometown. 

From the beginning of my career, I understood the word “United” in our name means something special. How we “Live United” by inviting unlikely allies – corporations, small businesses, philanthropic and charitable individuals and institutions, elected and non-elected leaders, schools, service providers, and community advocates to tackle complex challenges like poverty, inequity, and disparate access to health care is remarkable.

My father was an educator who believed every person is entitled to be treated with dignity, respect, and justice.  He did not tolerate racism, prejudice, or discrimination.  He championed diversity and inclusion for everyone and taught me to do the same. 

That is why I broke down sobbing in my living-room May 25th, the morning I heard George Floyd was killed. I questioned why this racist, violent tragedy happened, along with the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbrey, Breonna Taylor, and countless others whose names we may never know.  My heart continues to ache.  We must eliminate the systemic racism that permeates throughout our society and tackle these inequities and mistreatment.   

Over the years, United Way has tried to work towards equity in learning, health care, and economic mobility.  But we can do better, striving toward a more equitable future for every person and denouncing racism and violence.  

Join us on this journey to make Johnson and Washington Counties one place in America where, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our children are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

Sincerely,

Catherine Knight, CEO & President

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

Statement of Diversity and Inclusion

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties strives to be a model of diversity and inclusion, reflecting the many faces, cultures and walks of life that proudly make up our communities. 

We respect, value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are.

We also believe that bringing diverse individuals together allows us to collectively and more effectively address the issues that face our communities. 

To value diversity is to respect and appreciate race, religion, skin color, gender, nationality, language differences, cultural differences, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical, mental and development abilities or disabilities, age, socioeconomic status, work and behavior styles, parental status and the perspectives of each individual, as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences. 

To be inclusive is to leverage diversity by bringing together unique individuals and organizations to collectively impact the issues that face our communities. 

To be a diverse and inclusive system is fundamental to achieving our mission and goals in education, income and health and is at the heart of what it means to live united. 

To achieve a strong, equitable community where everyone is empowered to succeed, we must address existing structural and systemic inequities in our communities through a human-centered approach.

 

Statement of Commitment

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion rests on certain principles that influence our decision-making, guide our interactions with each other and others, and determine the measure of our success.

We will continue to seek respectful relationships and partnerships that align with achieving common goals. 

Focused on inviting all people, we have the opportunity and responsibility to value and respect diverse perspectives, ideas and belief.

We strive to continually improve our understanding and application of inclusion and equity to address disparities in the community

we serve alongside our partners and within our strategies and investments.

It is our aim, therefore,
that our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, partners, strategies and investment
reflect these core values.

 

Effective Date: October 20, 2011
Revised Date: December 19, 2013

Revised Date: March 28, 2019
 

Image: