Equity and Inclusion Statement
Around the world, across the country, and all over our home state of Alaska, hearts have turned toward healing the trauma and inequities resulting from hundreds of years of institutionalized colonialism, discrimination, oppression and racism. Entire populations of people-our friends, neighbors, colleagues and counterparts-have suffered as a result of policies, practices and mindsets that marginalize and devalue them; without the rich histories and experiences of all people, our community cannot be whole.
United Way of Mat-Su has and continues to work toward excellent Health, strong Financial Stability and quality Education for all residents of our community. We publicly acknowledge that without the rich cultures of the Ahtna and Dena’ina Athabascan peoples, their stalwart stewardship of the lands, waters and skyscapes we inhabit, and the often-painful past histories of their forced removal and disconnection from traditional lands, we would not be here and able to do this work. Our organization vows to not only maintain, but to expand, evolve and reshape our partnerships with our area’s tribal elders, affiliates and councils so as to honor the peoples from whom we have received so much.
United Way of Mat-Su envisions a community wherein all residents have equal access to opportunity, comprehensive and compassionate treatment, meaningful resources, and can achieve their highest potential. Where every individual is at their best, a powerful, cohesive community grows; where bias exists and social justice is lacking, well-being cannot be achieved. We unequivocally denounce inequitable systems and injustice, knowing full well that there is much work still to be done.
Whether gathering large groups of volunteers to clean and make safe a local playground, advocating for change in our state’s policies, funding safety and accessibility improvements for local agencies, or providing needed school supplies, food, healthy activities and fellowship to families and individuals from all walks of life, United Way of Mat-Su pledges to further our work in dismantling barriers to better lives for Black, Indigenous, and other Peoples of Color, as well as those who are differently-abled, from all socioeconomic backgrounds. We rise to oppose any and all discrimination that impedes progress toward good Health, strong Financial Stability and quality Education in our community. We turn our efforts powerfully toward those who have historically been marginalized and excluded from the same advantages that we ourselves enjoy.
Our community is only as inclusive and strong as its philanthropic and compassionate infrastructures. By seeking to lift up all people, we can show our gratitude for the lived experience of all community members, sharing the work of engaging all Mat-Su residents in conversations that celebrate diversity and show respect for each person, rather than silencing those voices which heretofore may have been hidden.
United Way of Mat-Su’s hope for the community we serve is nothing less than a sense of true belonging-not just for each individual, but for every demographic and microsphere from which our Whole Community is comprised. With humbleness, fortitude, intention and grace, we pledge to make choices that reflect fairness, equal access, true connection, and amazing opportunities for all.
We Live United
Diversity and Inclusion are core values for United Way. We aspire to involve every segment of the community in every aspect of our work and to demonstrate our commitment to and accountability for an inclusive environment in which differences are recognized, respected, valued and celebrated.
Inclusion: A Strategy to Leverage Diversity
Leveraging diversity requires an environment where people feel heard and supported to do their personal best. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created.
Diversity: The Quality of Being Different or Unique at the Individual or Group Level
This includes work style, parental status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, skin color, language, age, mental and physical abilities–and more. Even people who appear the same on the outside are different!