Honoring MLK Jr. Day

Week of January 17, 2022

Stay tuned for more details on our 2022 event. This event will feature a speaker and be part of our Advancing Racial Equity event series. 

Last Year’s Virtual Panel: Philanthropy & Advancing Racial Equity

Professional headshot of Edgar Villanueva Author of Decolonizing Wealth
Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth
Professional headshot of Gordon McHenry, Jr. President & CEO, United Way of King County
Gordon McHenry, Jr., President & CEO, United Way of King County
Zamzam Mohamed, CEO and Co-founder, Voices of Tomorrow
Andrea Caupain Sanderson, CEO, Byrd Barr Place

They discussed and explored how philanthropy can work toward achieving greater racial equity.

About Our Support of MLK Jr. Day

Historical and systemic racism drive racial inequities in our community, including Black, Indigenous, Latino and other people of color experiencing disproportionately high levels of homelessness, education inequities and poverty in King County. 

Not only has the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately impacted communities of color, the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many other Black people elevated the national conversation around racism and racial justice. 

It is against this backdrop that we’ve given much thought and intention to how we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy this year. 

Our mission is to bring people together.

To foster learning and conversation around racial equity in a way that is more safely accessible amidst the pandemic, we are bringing thought and community leaders together in a racial equity-centered virtual panel discussion to explore the topic of how philanthropy can advance racial equity in the community.  

For nearly four decades, the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition has brought people together to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s legacy by organizing the MLK Jr. Day March and many additional activities. We are honored to continue our years-long partnership with them and support their efforts again this year through volunteer management and financial support.

Though this year may be different from how we honored Dr. King’s legacy in the past, we encourage you to engage, learn, act in the community, and both nourish and build authentic partnerships. Next year, we anticipate including large-scale volunteer opportunities as an additional opportunity to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. 


Can United Way help my company organize a large volunteer project?

In order to focus on the racial equity-centered virtual panel event and also support Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition’s march, we will not be working with individual companies around volunteer opportunities this year. You can find volunteer opportunities that other nonprofit organizations are hosting through our volunteer site. Details coming soon.

Will this change around volunteering be a permanent one in how United Way celebrates and honors MLK Jr. Day?

No. This shift from large-scale volunteerism to two key events is a result of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year, we expect to celebrate and honor MLK Jr. Day in ways similar to years past, including supporting a significant number of volunteer opportunities. 

Thanks to these 2021 Generous Event Sponsors