New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Valley United Way rejects racism, discrimination
SHELTON — The Valley United Way has turned its focus to racial equity.
The nonprofit organization based in Shelton has announced its diversity, equity and inclusion statement is displayed on its website and is the first step in “ensuring that its systems, policies, and practices are more equitable for all people within the Valley community in Connecticut,” according to Joy DeMarchis, Valley United Way board member and chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
“The Committee and Valley United Way Board Members are committed to working with all community members to eliminate the barriers that impede inequality,” Valley United Way Board Chair Mike Gnibus said.
DeMarchis said that through its DEI statement, Valley United Way affirms that it is “committed to taking positive action to fight structural racism and ethnic discrimination; holding ourselves and our community partners accountable; advocating for social justice; elevating community voice; engaging in further training to address our biases; and, practicing the change we seek to realize with a vision of a more equitable future for all.
“The DEI statement is just the beginning of Valley United Way’s journey focusing on racial equity,” DeMarchis said. “We are actively working on developing training modules that will be required to be completed on an annual basis by board members, volunteers and staff.
“Through this training, our organization will better understand and address our biases, resulting in solutions that provide resources, support, opportunities and networks to facilitate change,” DeMarchis added.
In addition to the DEI statement and training, in the months ahead, Valley United Way will be reviewing its processes of how it identifies partner agencies and determines community investment to ensure equity and accountability, and that the changing needs of the community are served.
This accountability will extend to Valley United
Way’s partner agencies, who will assist Valley United Way in annually reporting the results of its investment.
“As part of the community investment process review, we will provide the opportunity for community leaders, recipients of services, corporate leaders, donors, members of the Valley Council and of course members of the board, volunteers, and staff to participate in focused discussions on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion through virtual ‘Candid Community Conversation’ meetings,” DeMarchis said.
Community members can also provide feedback on Valley United Way’s DEI commitments by submitting comments at https://valleyunitedway.org/contact/.
For more information about the nonprofit organization, visit its website at www.valleyunitedway.org or contact David Kennedy, Valley United Way interim president/CEO, at 203-538-6341.