“Fighting Poverty is Fighting Racism.”

-Sarah Thompson Schick, Board Member

Join the Journey and Live United

“The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.”
– Bryan Stevenson

United Way for Greater Austin’s mission is to bring people, ideas, and resources together to fight poverty in our community. Race has a big impact on a person’s life outcomes, so we can only break the cycle of poverty by standing up for racial justice.

That’s why we commit to:

Acknowledging and reconciling our historical role in perpetuating systems of inequality

Changing inequitable systems that prevent our community from reaching its full potential

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion as individuals, as an organization, and with our community

We can create a more equitable, inclusive community together. Join the journey and Live United!

Austin: A Tale of Two Cities

Race and zip code continue to be some of the biggest predictors of a person’s life outcomes. Zip codes determine what opportunities are available to families, such as parks, jobs, grocery stores, child care, schools, and safe housing.

In Travis County, the poverty rate for Black and Hispanic people is more than double that of non-Hispanic white people.

The highest rates of poverty are among children, especially children of color. Of the approximately 14,197 children under 6 living in poverty, 90% are children of color.

Source: US Census Bureau

Poverty Rates by Race

999 %
Non-Hispanic White
999 %
Black or African-American
999 %
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)

We’re always learning and unlearning

Since 2018, 38 United Way team members have participated in anti-racism training.

We value the lived experience of parents. Through our Family Leadership Council, we center the voices of parents in our strategic work.

The Success By 6 Coalition is partnering with the City of Austin Equity Office to complete an equity assessment and center diversity, equity, and inclusion in our early childhood work.

Child care workers are disproportionately women of color. Through our Pre-K Partnerships collaboration with Austin ISD, we are building pathways for child care workers to achieve higher education degrees and a living wage. We advocate for equitable resources in early childhood and empower child care providers to advocate at the city, county, and state levels.

We center equity in our grantmaking process. Lived experience as a person of color is a critical input, both among our community reviewers and in the leadership of nonprofit applicants.

We prioritize language access. Both our 2-1-1 “call for help” line and ConnectATX – which offer help with food, housing, transportation, and more – are available in more than 200 languages.

Our Journey So Far

2019

Our Year of Conversation
  • Invested in our commitment to DEI and hired Rachel Rosen & SPARK as our DEI consultants
  • Invited all team members to give anonymous input on specific ways our organization could improve
  • Formed a DEI Committee, with representatives from each department and our Leadership Team

2020

Our First Year of Action
  • Created a DEI strategic plan, to serve as a roadmap toward progress
  • Increased transparency of and access to information about how decisions are made
  • Started a review of organizational policies, and improved several policies to be more equitable
  • Intentionally focused on increasing the racial diversity of our Board and team

2021

Continuing Our Journey
  • Continuing to improve organizational policies
  • Orienting new team members to our anti-racism work and values during the onboarding process
  • Offering the opportunity to participate in affinity groups to all team members
  • Guiding our Leadership Team through a 360-degree review process

There’s more work to do, and anti-racism work remains a priority for all of us here at United Way. We’re committed to the fight for racial justice as more than just a moment – but a movement.

What we’re reading, watching, and listening to

BOOK:

Caste (The Origins of Our Discontents), Isabel Wilkerson

DOCUMENTARY:

Amend

PODCAST:

1619

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