Our commitment to anti-racism - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Our commitment to anti-racism

August 11, 2020


Over the last several weeks, team members at United Way of the Alberta Capital Region have been reflecting on the uncomfortable truth that we all still have a lot to learn, and a lot to do, when it comes to combatting racism and oppression and being better allies.

Each of us has a role to play in uplifting justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace and the greater Alberta Capital Region community.

Illustration of two black women talking in an office setting

Racism and Poverty
As an organization that works to eradicate poverty, we must recognize that systemic racism results in pulling people into poverty. In Edmonton, racialized people are far more likely to experience poverty than white people. Over 42 percent of people living in poverty identify as a person of colour, and 11 percent identify as Aboriginal, as outlined in Edmonton Social Planning Council 2019 Profile of Poverty in Edmonton. People are not in poverty because of the colour of their skin, but rather because of society’s inherent bias based on the colour of their skin. We will not be successful in addressing poverty if we do not work to break down those barriers.

At United Way, we are against and will address any form of racism. It has long been stated in our funding requirements that we will not fund any organization that discriminates based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. But there is so much more we can do as an organization to grow, learn and do better.

A word cloud in the shape of a heart, using words from the Leading Inclusively Team's 'why' statements

Leading Inclusively
When people join the Leading Inclusively Team, they’re asked to share why they want to focus on equity, diversity and inclusion work. This is just some of the things they shared.

Internally, our Leading Inclusively Team is focused on the following actions:

  • Engage expertise to guide our work. This includes conducting an independent review of our current policies with Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB) through the NorQuest Colburne Institute for Inclusive Leadership.
  • Evaluate the current landscape of understanding and needs within our organization, to be used as a benchmark for measuring growth.
  • Develop our equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lens, which will guide our policies and practices throughout our entire organization, including hiring and funding practices.
  • Develop and implement an education and engagement framework. This will increase our understanding of issues of equity and discrimination. The framework will also increase empathy, compassion and influence behaviour amongst our staff.

The Work Ahead
This is just the starting point. At United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, we recognize that this is an ongoing journey. Just like how no single person can solve poverty, no single person or group can solve racism. It will take collective action as our society unlearns centuries of systemic oppression.

We commit to learn about forms of racism and colonialism. As we work to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our organization, we will also support our community in their anti-racism work.

These are hard, challenging, and uncomfortable conversations to have. Making the world a better place for Black, Indigenous and other racialized people will make the world a better place for everyone.

Rob Yager
President and CEO,