Equity Focused, Justice Oriented

United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT) has the bold mission to eradicate poverty and increase social mobility through the power of partnerships.

For 133 years, United Ways across the country have served those crushed under the weight of impoverished environments. That service has looked, felt, and sounded like charity. Yet the issues have not gone away.

The next 133 years demand more. United Way of the Greater Triangle is up to the challenge to act, which is why we’re making a strategic commitment to both charity and justice — supporting the solutions that combat the immediate effects of poverty while also focusing on long-term solutions that attack the root causes. But we can't do it without you.

Impact Investing

Eradicating poverty will take a combination of short-term solutions and systemic change. That's why we're diversifying the way we support impact here in the Triangle and focusing on equity in everything from emergency support (through our Rapid Response Fund model) to our community impact strategies (through our Cradle to Career and Healthy Families pillars). In addition, opportunities through our Equity In Leadership pillar, which are largely supported by the Anti-Racism Community Fund, are explicit and exclusive in the ways we allocate our resources to address the root cause and racist structures affecting our most vulnerable neighbors today.

Justice-Oriented Storytelling

Statistical data isn't enough to shift our community's consciousness from one that simply supports eradicating poverty to one that understands how people end up in poverty and the barriers designed to keep them there. Using a justice-focused approach to storytelling, we're prioritizing anecdotal data by connecting local nonprofits with the community narrative and putting the power of the stories back into the hands of the individuals experiencing the challenges.

Operationalizing Equity Through Engagement

How can you engage in equity yourself or through your own company? Outside of an ongoing list of engagement opportunities that directly support the Triangle community, we've created a model that analyzes where activities fall on a charity to justice spectrum and can give Triangle employees the opportunity to engage in their communities in ways that matter.

10 To Watch

Nonprofit organizations led by men have three times the assets as those led by women.
As a community, we haven’t supported enough minority leaders working hard to represent our neighbors in need. Through 10 To Watch, we’re addressing racial, gender, and power disparities in leadership by empowering local communities, amplifying the voices of nonprofit leaders of color and women, and preparing the broader community for these leaders’ continued success.

Key equity-focused initiatives to date:

  • UWGT identifies Equity in Leadership as a strategic pillar and creates 10 To Watch program

    • The organization’s final investment pillars, presented by staff and approved by the Board of Directors, will guide the shape of investments and partnerships in the future.
    • As part of its commitment to Equity in Leadership, UWGT commits to track and share racial and gender demographic data of internal and partner organization boards, executive leadership, and staff.
    • A re-examination of the organization’s funding portfolio shows:
      • 80% of people served are POC but less than 20% of nonprofits are led by POC.
      • Male-led organizations hold 3x the assets of female-led organizations.
    • These disparities lead to the creation of 10 to Watch, which promises:
      • Specific funds for nonprofit leaders who are Black, LatinX, and/or Woman ($500K total investment over two years)
    • Provides dollars, leadership development training, and access to UWGT networks
  • UWGT’s Reimagines Community Impact Fund grants

    • With a focus on equity and justice to provide solutions to immediate needs as well as the long-term funding needed for systemic change, the re-imagination includes these key changes:
      • UWGT pivots to creating and utilizing community-defined measures of nonprofit success
      • Explicit equity and anti-racism questions are added into end-of-year reporting (and not just related to outcomes)
  • Shifting Habits

    • With external support processes in place, UWGT begins shifting its internal habits to become more equity-focused. This includes:
      • The decision to prioritize community-owned narratives in storytelling
      • Conducting representation audits of the organization’s own materials and processes (including visibility in marketing materials/ website, tracking nonprofit partner engagement)
  • Durham One Fund is reactivated to support McDougald Terrace residents

    • The re-activation of this emergency response fund ensures that:
      • Displaced community representatives have a role in the decision-making process for funding
      • Funding is based on community need, services delivered, and displaced community engagement
  • UWGT partners with Frontline Solutions to conduct the organization’s first internal equity assessment

    • UWGT believes that to truly be an equitable organization, we must focus our efforts internally and externally. As part of this process, esteemed consulting firm Frontline Solutions begins the organization’s internal and comprehensive equity assessment, which includes:
      • Facilitated racial identity caucusing
      • Ongoing coaching and support
      • Board DEI development
  • UWGT launches the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

    • The activation of this Triangle-wide emergency response fund includes:
      • Multiple rounds of funding to ensure investments are in the most relevant areas and representing the most pressing community needs
      • Service to POC communities is prioritized based on disproportionate impact data
      • POC-led organizations are prioritized
      • The public communication of the number of grants awarded as well as the average grant award aggregated by leadership’s race
  • UWGT launches the Anti-Racism Community Fund

    • This represents an evolution of UWGT’s Equity work. With a commitment to fighting for justice through action, community empowerment, and the dismantling of systems that perpetuate racism and keep our neighbors in poverty, the fund intends to:
      • Empower and fund local grassroots leaders
      • Invest in scalable, systems-aiming anti-racism work
      • Increase the operational and service capacities of nonprofit/for-profit sectors to be anti-racist
      • Lead as a narrative campaign, not just a fundraising campaign