United Way to Host 21-Week Racial Equity Challenge in February


United Way of Monroe / Lenawee Counties will be launching a 21-day equity challenge on its website (www.unitedwayMLC.org) February 1.

The Challenge is a self-guided learning journey designed to deepen participants’ understanding and willingness to confront racism. Participants will participate in a series of readings, videos, podcasts and daily reflections as part of the program. The challenge allows participants to identify and engage in their actions to advance racial equity. Participants can register on www.unitedwayMLC.org anytime by January 31st.

United Way of Monroe / Lenawee Counties offered the 21-day challenge for the first time in October 2020 with 600 participants. This challenge was originally developed by Dr Eddie Moore Jr., Dr Marguerite Penick-Parks and Debby Irving, and adapted by Food Solutions New England. The Michigan United Ways Association has adapted the challenge into a statewide effort to promote awareness and advancement of racial equity. Washtenaw County United Way helped launch the challenge at all United Way Michigan offices.

In 2009, a United Way research initiative was launched and now encompasses 19 states, including Michigan. ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) was founded on the need to measure and track financial hardship more precisely on a national scale. It is a framework for measuring and understanding the struggles of the growing number of households in our communities who do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities – the “working poor”. This research shed light on the disparity of economic opportunities that exist in each state. The Michigan United Ways Association publishes a study every two years on the plight of working families in Michigan, which it calls ALICE homes. The August 2020 report “ALICE and Black Households Data” is an analysis of new data points from 2018. This report from the Michigan Association of United Ways shows that 63% of minority households in the state are unable to join the two ends. United Way of Monroe / Lenawee Counties, working with our statewide partners, is taking action by strengthening its commitment to race and fairness in policies and actions.

Data from ALICE shows that 40 percent of all Michigan households were not earning enough to cover basic expenses in 2018, including housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and a basic smartphone package. The 63 percent of minority households falling below the ALICE threshold were almost double that of white households, just 36 percent. The percentage of minority households unable to make ends meet is also almost three times higher than the former Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

During the recovery from the Great Recession, results did not improve for minority households. Instead, the number of minority households below the ALICE line in Michigan increased 11% from 2010 to 2018. The number of white households struggling to make ends meet only increased 1% nationwide. State during this period.

The data comes as United Ways across Michigan bolsters their commitment to race and fairness, both in politics and in action. United Way Worldwide has recently implemented the following benchmarks as membership requirements: develop, maintain and publicly publish an organizational statement opposing all forms of racism; at least once a year, provide racial equity training to all board members and staff; and develop and use racial equity funding criteria for all community investments.

Each year, United Way of Monroe / Lenawee Counties funds 12 Lenawee County local agency programs and serves as a donor designation vehicle for over 30 additional agencies. They also sponsor county-wide 2-1-1 services and coordinate Project Ramp, 2 annual health check-up events, Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), and programs and services. of the Day of Action. All funds raised in Lenawee County remain in Lenawee County. For more information on GIVE AND LIVE UNITED, contact us! Call us at 517-264-6821, email lpipis@unitedwaymlc.org, visit us at 136 E. Maumee St., Suite 15, Adrian, MI 49221 or visit our website at www.unitedwayMLC.org.


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