Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

During the crafting of our current three-year strategic plan, we prioritized the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) agenda for the organization. We don’t want to create a new program. We do want to use a DEI analysis and lens to evaluate our existing work and make critical organizational decisions.

Year One, Of A Three Year Strategic Plan

Paul McDowell, United Way Board Chair signs the statement. Click on the image to see other board members as they sign the newly adopted Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Vision Statement.


Together, United Way staff and board members have identified actionable goals and tasks to include in our 3-year strategic and annual work plans. As of January 2019:

  • We have prioritized and budgeted for full staff participation in the Racial Equity Institute (REI) training and encourage participation in Building Bridges.
  • We dedicate 12 staff meetings a year to our DEI work - this includes planning and extended learning time about critical issues and have invited local presenters to provide training on a variety of equity and diversity issues. In addition, we host “Learn United” a book club, focused on racial and economic justice, for staff and other nonprofits in our building and our community.
  • We’ve joined the WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition and two staff members attend regular meetings.
  • Two additional staff members have joined the giving circle, CoThinkk. Each staff member will dedicate 40+ hours a year, and UWABC contributes financially, to the giving circle.
  • We are currently conducting staff and board assessments of our internal practices through the use of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks tool (GDIB). We are adding concrete action steps to our 2019 Operational plan based on the results of the GDIB assessment of our Vision, Leadership and Structure.
  • This year, for the first time, our grantmaking process now includes funding for all grantees to begin or continue their own diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. This change comes as a part of a larger redesign with included shifting from accepting applications from organizations on a "per program" basis to making grants for general operating support.
  • We’ve crafted a vision statement that was signed by our staff and board members at the February 2019 board meeting and prominently displayed on our website and other materials/locations thereafter. As new staff and board members are added, they too will be asked to add their name to this public-facing statement and work with us to make the vision an active part of our work. View this statement and our other guiding principles here


Diversity Wheel

Our staff and board members recognize that using a robust diversity, equity and inclusion lens can help us make better decisions. While much of our work will center around racial inequity, we want to acknowledge the importance of all these (and others) in our work. Click on the image to see a full-size version.