Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the foundation for everything that goes on at United Way of Whitewater Valley (UWWV).
As a result, to continue being a relevant and essential partner to our agency partners we strive to be a leader in the fight for equity and inclusion. We believe that everyone in Wayne and Union counties deserves the resources, opportunities and support they need to thrive.
However, equitable community change does not happen overnight. It takes tangible daily effort to ensure that all residents of Wayne and Union counties are given the resources that they need. Luckily for us, the United Way Worldwide provides us with helpful information. This includes information about implementing strategies, plans and processes that allow us to be a catalyst for community change. This is not just an external process; we work daily towards being a more equitable organization internally. We work towards change internally so that we can better serve residents.
One way that we are actively becoming a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organization is through training. For example, each of our board members and staff go through diversity, equity and inclusion training. Or as we like to refer to it DEI. This training is critical for our staff and board members. It is important that they are given the knowledge they need to make the informed decisions. Above all, our board members take this training very seriously. They don’t just use their knowledge while working with UWWV, they take it with them out into the community.
Thoughts From Our Board Members
As important decision-makers, our board members must be vigorously trained in strategies, messages, and processes necessary to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. We had the chance to talk with our board members about things they have learned from DEI training. Their answers were enlightening. We often speak about our commitment to DEI, but it is also important to show our commitment. Here are thoughts from some of our board members on DEI training.
Patrick Ripberger, Mezzo Solutions
“Increasing our understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Wayne and Union County benefits us all. By ensuring that we are all serving, including, and actively seeking diversity we are laying the path for a healthier and happier community. When we all feel seen, heard, and cared for we will all follow the call to work together. The DEI education through United Way has helped me better understand equality vs. equity. This lens is so important in my work with Public Health. The gift of this knowledge is strengthening my understanding and ability to serve the community.”
Samantha Powell, 3 Rivers
“After completing several of the DEI trainings, they have opened my mind to looking at the “big picture” with wider lenses. I thought that our community was more diverse than it actually is and I want to help make that better in our community one baby step at a time. With the group of individuals that we have serving on our board currently, I think we all have a passion for our community and want to take what we are learning from the DEI training and apply it immediately. I know some of the topics discussed in the trainings I have attended; I have shared with my staff at work.”
Morgan Howard, First Merchants Bank
“The training has added some tools I can use to better navigate sensitive subjects and still have meaningful, honest conversations. It has empowered me to ask questions versus shying away.”
A Global Wide Commitment to DEI
Our board member’s commitment and passion for DEI is reflected throughout the entire global organization. We took the time to speak with a representative of United Way Worldwide to emphasize how vital diversity, equity and inclusion are, not just here locally, but around the world.
“United Way is embedded in communities across the country, and every day we work to create meaningful, lasting change in the areas of education, health, and financial stability,” said Geniro Dingle, Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, United Way Worldwide. “By explicitly focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are working to ensure that United Way leaders take an equity-driven approach – which means intentionally including everyone in society – to solving community issues.”
Becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization takes daily effort. As a result, it is important to us that Wayne and Union counties residents understand our commitment to DEI. Read our official statement about our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, here.
What Does DEI Look Like in Wayne and Union Counties?
Diversity, equity and inclusion may look different than you think. Living in primarily homogenous counties can lead us to believe that there is no need for DEI. In fact, we need to work as diligently as United Ways, who may be located in more diverse areas. To us focusing on DEI in Wayne and Union counties looks like funding for the Amigos Youth Tennis Program or promoting our program More Than Words.
We work daily to stay aligned with our commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. It requires intentionality and dedication on behalf of our staff and board members. Every day we are one step closer to a more inclusive and equitable community for all members. In addition, if you would like to learn more about United Way of Whitewater Valley or our partner agencies, click here. Each of our fantastic agency partners works in one of our four focus areas: childhood success, youth success, economic mobility, and access to health. Read more about their stories here, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about what we do.