Community-lead workgroup prioritized the lived experience of the community to administer the fund.

DETROIT, MI — February 3, 2022 — United Way for Southeastern Michigan, has announced the recipients of more than $570,000 in grant funding. The Racial Equity Fund is designed to help all people experience authentic inclusion and have equitable access to resources and opportunities. Thirteen  organizations are receiving grants between $10,000 and $75,000 to focus on leadership, lifespan development, economics, and reaching equity in emerging areas.

The Racial Equity Fund provides financial support and technical assistance to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)-led organizations through microgrants. It was designed by a diverse and inclusive workgroup of community members during the summer and fall of 2021. The objective is to empower those most harmed by systemic oppression to thrive and reach their full potential.

“Assuring our grantmaking and work as an organization reflects the communities, we serve is very import to me and us as an organization,” said Tonya Adair, Chief People, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “The process of dismantling the barriers that have stood in the way of inclusion can’t happen overnight, but we are committed to empowering people to thrive and succeed.”

The workgroup’s scope was informed by the Centering Community Voice Blueprint – an effort to proactively incorporate lived experience into United Way’s grantmaking process. Every aspect of the decision-making process prioritized the lived experience of the community.

Funded organizations will provide programs and projects that work toward eliminating racial disparities in pursuit of a more equitable and just community for everyone.

Members of the workgroup were chosen by United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team. Local organizations and community leaders with close ties to the community made the nine-week commitment to the discussion and selection process.

The funded organizations and a description of their proposed projects/efforts:

APIA Vote – They look to introduce programming to address a series of racial inequities observed within and surrounding the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of Southeastern Michigan. They seek to address these inequities through a multifaceted youth leadership development program emphasizing learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion; workshop facilitation and education for community leaders and local businesses; and community engagement through a series of community dialogues and discussion tables.

Black Executive Director Alliance of Detroit (BEDAD) seeks to increase pathways of leadership development for Black Executive Directors in the Detroit nonprofit community. They seek to add a second and third cohort of Black Executive leaders working to ensure there is racial equity in the nonprofit sector. Their work seeks to further the interests of the Black nonprofit community by uplifting Detroit-based African American led nonprofit organizations whose aim is to achieve long-term holistic impact on minority youth in Southeastern Michigan.

Birth Detroit – Birth Detroit works to uplift and reclaim Black-led midwifery care, ensuring communities are healthier, stronger, and freer. By 2030 they envision: there has been a cultural shift in understanding Black midwifery as integral to our survival and celebrating Black birthing bodies and babies — and therefore celebrating all birthing bodies and babies.

Chaldean American Ladies of Charity dba United Community Family Services – Refugee women often have or wish to gain skills but need additional support to become self-reliant and advance economically. This program seeks to help refugee women overcome the multiple barriers to economic advancement and self-sufficiency.

Class Act Detroit – Their ‘House-of-Hip-Hop,’ changes the status-quo and allows youngsters from all walks of life to connect, heal, and grow under one entity – hip-hop. Their effort empowers adolescents to be their most authentic selves in a space encouraging them, is well-resourced, and is designed for their wellness.

Detroit Heals Detroit – They look to work through collective liberation for all residents in Detroit – making sure the communities’ needs are heard. They want to help bring this about by taking a holistic approach to combating trauma and taking direct action to address social inequities and conditions impacting Black youth mental health.

Developing Kingdoms in Different Stages (KIDS) – Through their proposed program, they intend to address the racial inequities in our community: food insecurity, on-time high school graduation, poverty level, chronic absenteeism, and college/trade school entrance. Their activities will have a goal of combatting the number of children removed from their homes.

E-Community Outreach Services – The long-term impact of generational poverty has led to a scarcity mentality in the City of Pontiac, with little access to resources or a lack of support systems to help move residents to the next level. While there are existing resources available, the community does not have the support or ability to access them based on barriers in place from government agencies, larger organizations, etc.

Family Assistance for Renaissance Men – Family Assistance for Renaissance Men looks to reunite men with their children by reducing legal barriers such as revoked driver’s licenses, traffic tickets, and child support bench warrants. These barriers also prevent them from earning a stable income and resuming payment on their child support arrearages. In collaboration with over two dozen judges from county and circuit courts in Southeast Michigan, incarceration will be prevented, and fathers will be instead enrolled into the FARM program.

Heritage Works – Heritage Works looks to address the unfair distribution of material and nonmaterial access and opportunities to human capital development. They propose short- and long-term youth outcomes and experiences to develop a trained, equity-minded leader- and workforce to impact the outcomes of BIPOC-led organizations in our region.

The Michigan Hispanic Collaborative – In the US with a population of more than 18%, Hispanics are the largest minority yet remain disproportionately underserved. Their model is one of college access and persistence, and ultimately economic empowerment. This is a distinctive niche in program service delivery for the Hispanic community and a focus area that has been overlooked for decades.

Turning Point – Turning Point looks to address racial inequity in domestic and sexual violence – taking on racial injustice in staffing, service provision, and systemic responses.

Pontiac Community Foundation – Their program looks to improve equity gaps in Pontiac. The Pontiac Community Foundation is dedicated to addressing the critical systemic issues within the Pontiac community through all its focus areas and programs. Through a collaborative approach, they convene, organize, and mobilize community leaders and citizens toward innovative and strategic solutions for our community, in addition to funding initiatives and providing fiduciary services to help build capacity and steward resources for a better Pontiac.

In addition to the original $500,00 designated for the fund, an additional $12,000 was raised to continue this important work beyond this initial funding cycle.

To learn more about United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Racial Equity Fund or other United Way initiatives, visit https://unitedwaysem.org/about-us/equity-and-inclusion/.

About United Way for Southeastern Michigan

United Way for Southeastern Michigan, a member of the United Way Worldwide network and an independently governed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works to help households become stable and ensure children have the support they need to thrive. For more than 100 years, United Way has been a leader in creating positive, measurable, and sustainable change in communities throughout southeast Michigan. United Way works in partnership with donors, agencies, corporate and municipal partners to help families meet their basic needs of housing, food, health care and family finances, and ensure children start school ready to learn and graduate ready for life. To give, advocate, volunteer or learn more, visit UnitedWaySEM.org.