Diversity & Inclusion Policy

This is our commitment to building sustainable, inclusive and resilient organizations and communities in Northwest Indiana.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE & POLICY

United Way of Northwest Indiana is a place where people of many backgrounds and perspectives come together, unified in a common vision to make our community better. The strengths of this diversity and the spirit of inclusion are what makes our community both strong and unique. As a convening body in the community, we offer a space where people of varied backgrounds and perspectives come together, united in a common vision to better the community.

We take the broadest possible view of diversity.

  • We value the visible and invisible qualities that make you who you are.
  • We welcome that every person brings a unique perspective and experience to advance our mission and progress our fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community.
  • We believe that each United Way community member, donor, volunteer, advocate, and employee must have equal access to solving community problems.
  • We strive to include diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at the center of our daily work.
  • We commit to using these practices for our business and our community.

We recognizes that:

  • The diversity of our region’s population brings cultural, social and economic enrichment to the community;
  • Many community members encounter barriers to full participation; and
  • The inherent dignity and worth of each person cannot be realized without deliberate efforts to create a climate of inclusion that fosters mutual respect and allows each person to realize their full potential and their ability to contribute fully to the community.

SCOPE: This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, interns and consultants who work for or with United Way of Northwest Indiana.

DEFINITIONS

  • Diversity – refers to the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within a group or an organization and extends beyond the four categories identified in the federal Employment Equity Act. The dimension of diversity include, but are not limited to, age, gender, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual ability, sexual orientation, educational background, talent, skill and experience. Diversity is seen as a positive valued concept indicating the richness that exists when people with a variety of backgrounds, orientations, skills and experiences participate in and contribute to an organization’s work environment. Diversity encompasses elements of understanding, acceptance and respect. It emphasizes the need to embrace and celebrate the varied dimensions of diversity within each individual.
  • Inclusive – is an attribute of organizational culture characterized by a demonstrated commitment to diversity. An inclusive organization is one where all employees’ contributions are valued, recognized and rewarded; where employees can realize their full potential, are motivated and engaged; and, where innovation is enhanced as diverse teams bring more perspectives to the table and generate more ideas. Inclusiveness also refers to the extent to which an organization fosters interaction, communication, knowledge-sharing and decision-making. An organization with an inclusive culture distributes accountability and responsibility for diversity across all employees and organizational levels.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Diversity and inclusion contributes to a more successful and effective organization. By ensuring a governance model accompanied by a staff and volunteer complement that reflects the demographics of the community we serve, and by implementing policies and practices that foster inclusion, we will enhance its ability to attract and retain diverse talent, and respond to the needs of our diverse constituent base.
  • Diversity and inclusion requires a conscious, continuous and deliberate effort. Inclusion requires the ongoing commitment and involvement of our board, staff and volunteers to introduce and sustain a culture conducive to the development and implementation of strategies and programs that embrace the various dimensions of diversity.
  • The journey of diversity and inclusion is as important as the destination. The work of building a truly inclusive organization that embraces diversity is urgent and ongoing. Inclusion is a journey towards continuous improvement with an agreed set of actions founded on sustained change.

IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES

United Way of Northwest Indiana will establish and implement policies and practices that foster and promote diversity and inclusion, including:

  • Competencies and understanding developed within the board of directors, volunteers and staff to ensure that we understand the needs of, and are responsive to the diverse community we serve;
  • Resource development and community impact approaches that seek to eliminate barriers to full participation, and ensure access and equity for diverse populations;
  • Incidents and/or behaviors related to discrimination or harassment are addressed appropriately when they occur, including clear guidelines for internal and external complaints procedures.