Equity is the foundation of our work, from our engagement with donors to investment of community resources and interactions with the public. We define equity as the presence of justice and fairness within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. We commit to equity as a core value and practice to advance our mission of connecting people, resources and organizations to create a thriving community for everyone. We are compelled to prioritize historically marginalized and systematically excluded people to end the historical, social and systemic inequities that persist in our community.
We acknowledge that we can only be successful if we recognize, rise up, and support underrepresented populations. United Way is committed to engaging individuals from these communities as partners, donors, and volunteers and intentionally creating pathways for inclusion in leadership roles and decision-making within our own and other organizations. We can only eliminate inequity when all individuals reach their fullest human potential. We maintain building and sustaining equity in our community is an ongoing process that requires commitment to diversity and inclusion that is demonstrated in our organizational culture, values, norms, and behaviors.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work
In June 2020, our Board of Directors took our first steps in our organization’s deepened commitment to building a sustainable system for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into our organization and our funded agencies and programs. In the past year, our Board of Directors has:
- Approved a dedicated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee as an integral component of the Board structure.
- Identified opportunities to incorporate DEI into the Community Impact process.
- Set requirements for DEI training for all members of the Board of Directors and SEUW staff.
Sioux Empire United Way’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has identified additional goals, including building a visual dashboard of DEI data to help guide decision-making and follow our progress, provide capacity-building opportunities for our member organizations, and more effectively communicate the importance of DEI in our work to the community. This work is guided through local needs as well as United Way Worldwide’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion framework.
Key Accomplishments to Date:
- Approved an Equity Statement to define our organization’s work and provide guidance for decision-making.
- Approved an updated non-discrimination policy within the Manual of Policies & Procedures for Funded Agencies. The updated policy thoroughly encompasses all protected statuses for organization staff, volunteers, and/or clients.
- Members of our Board of Directors completed a two-hour training session with a local DEI consulting firm and United Way staff are participating in the Greater Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Pathways sponsored monthly DEI workshops.
- Partnered with the Beacom Research Fellows Program through Augustana University. The partnership will provide resources and educational opportunities to funded agencies on data collection and management to better understand disparities in program services and outcomes.
- United Way sponsored training opportunities for funded organizations' staff and Board of Directors.
- Included metrics to measure diversity, equity, and inclusion progress with the funded application process.
DEI Committee Members
Chair Brenda Kibbe, Sanford Health
Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen, Lutheran Social Services of SD
Tolcha Mesele, Smithfield Foods
Susan Williams, Transformation Project
Carmen Rodriguez Vargas, Smithfield Foods