Committed to Racial Equity

Committed to Racial Equity

Gordon McHenry, Jr. poses with Jenny with his hand around her shoulder they are both wearing Live United shirts

United Way of King County is on a racial equity journey. We envision equitable and just communities where all people thrive. Systemic racism has caused our already unfair world to become even more inequitable. The only solution is to join with community and dismantle these racist systems that are at the root of the issues.

In our past, United Way has supported communities of color and made grant investments to try and offset the disparities caused by our racist systems. That isn’t enough. The power must be shifted to community.

We hope you’ll join us in this work.

Together, we’re working toward a racially just community.

Meet a few United Way of King County employees who are engaged in this work.

Racial Equity in Action

How are we advancing racial equity? The commitment is for it to show up in all aspects of our work, including:

  • Investing in community-based organizations that fight the effects of structural and institutional racism and reduce the inequities we see. See the full list of community investments.
  • Developing new ways of doing work that puts the decision making power in the hands of the communities impacted by those funding decisions. Two examples of this are the Black Community Building Collective and the Indigenous Communities Fund.
  • Actively working to change the systems that cause inequities in the first place through programmatic work and advocacy agenda.
  • Our commitment to racial equity includes working internally to continuously improve our organization.  In 2020 we committed to organizational assessment and training with the consulting team at Equity Matters.  Following the assessment, we have implemented a range of changes. This report from September 2021 shares the results of the assessment and on-going implementation.

Join Us in This Work

It’s going to take all of us, working together, to build a community that is racially just. Please join alongside us.

Attend an Advancing Racial Equity event.

Watch a past Advancing Racial Equity event.

Connect with Nadia Gandara, Director of Racial Equity Strategies.

Staff group photo infront of Seattle Heart sticker outside of United Way building

Our Commitment to Racial Equity

Our commitment to racial equity and working toward a racially just community shows up in all aspects of our work.

Join Us in This Work

It’s going to take all of us, working together, to build a community that is racially just. Please join alongside us.

Attend an upcoming Advancing Racial Equity event.

Watch a recap of a previous Advancing Racial Equity event.

Connect with our Director of Racial Equity Strategies, Nadia Gandara.

In Partnership With Community

Thankfully, so many people from so many different communities have helped us on this journey. These are some of the folks who we have learned from, continue to listen to and are lucky enough to be held accountable by. Communities who receive supports will continue to be listened to, valued and prioritized.

Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Employee Group

The BIPOC Employee Group is a call to action by the BIPOC staff of United Way of King County to end systemic and racial inequities. This group’s goal is to support BIPOC staff at United Way by facilitating monthly check-ins and lunches to review internal and external anti-racist practices, ways to take action to achieve racial equity and to support and cultivate community in a shared space.

Board of Directors Racial Equity Committee

This is a standing committee that is tasked with ensuring that racial equity is at the core of policy, programs and practices at United Way of King County. Their purpose is to:

  • Provide oversight and guidance of implementation, delivery and achievement of the racial equity organizational goals including the Racial Equity Assessment recommendations and the Racial Equity Theory of Change.
  • Lead racial equity focused, ongoing engagement and education of board members and staff.
  • Review racial equity strategies to strengthen internal and external anti-racist practices.
  • Cultivate and maintain strong partnerships with key BIPOC stakeholders, internally and externally, to further racial equity practices and systems aimed at advancing racial justice and establishing partnerships.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Committee (DEIAC)

This is a staff-led and staff-driven action committee that supports United Way of King County’s commitment to a work environment which is free from any form of racism, bigotry, harassment, intimidation, threat, or abuse, whether verbal or written, physical or psychological, direct or implied.

DEIAC’s vision for diversity, equity and inclusion at United Way is:

  • A racially equitable workplace culture where all staff, volunteers and stakeholders feel valued and supported in all aspects of who they are.
  • An organization that is actively committed, internally and externally, to undoing systemic racism and injustice.
  • An organization that intentionally lives by the values of equity and racial equity, evidenced in processes, policies and power structures.

White Employees Confronting Racism (WECR)

This is a group of white employees of United Way of King County who are committed to dismantling institutional racism and white privilege. As white allies against racism, they are responsible for participating in the undoing of oppressive systems that affect the lives of colleagues and friends of color. Their work includes:

  • Stewarding education and self-awareness.
  • Engaging in anti-racist work at an organizational and community level.
  • Supporting BIPOC-led equity work.

The Black Community Building Collective

This is a group of 15 Black nonprofit leaders who have come together to determine how United Way funding will be directed to support equitable recovery and the long-term viability of King County’s Black community. The organizations that comprise the Collective are:

Visit the Black Community Building Collective page.

The Indigenous Fund members

This is a group of organizations whose communities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as longstanding acts of racial oppression, genocide and injustice. Organizations include:

This fund will support Indigenous communities to continue to thrive on their own terms. Read more about United Way’s work to support those communities who were once the original inhabitants of unceded land that now comprises Seattle and King County