United Way to award $200,000 in equity grants for health, education and income

Local News

A local nonprofit is using conversations with community members to improve inequalities in the Quad Cities.

United Way of the Quad Cities hosted a virtual equity summit in October to address social issues in our area. Those issues included diversity, equal access to resources and education gaps for minority youth.

The group is now taking findings from the event to award $200,000 to local projects focused on creating equality for all Quad Citians.

CEO Rene Gellerman says people are paying attention to social issues now more than ever.  

“This is a moment in time, that we have an opportunity to create more momentum,” she said. “We are more sensitive to what is happening to our neighbors, our coworkers, and our friends. I think our eyes are more opened up and they should have been a long time ago. ” 

Over 400 people tackled topics surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion at the equity summit last month. Today the group shared their findings. 

From those conversations, we sent all of that input to some consultants who have really now identified key themes that came out of those conversations,” she said.

Those themes include supporting families, improving education and empowering the next generation. They plan to award 200,000 dollars to community groups focused on advancing equality. Dr. Burl Randolph Jr., the chair of the United for Equity Fund, said it’s a step in the right direction. 

“I think it’s really just being able to lift people up to where they want to be and beyond,” he said.

He said anyone can be involved in making the Quad Cities a more equal community. 

“I think it’s being diverse, pursuing diversity, and trying to be inclusive with your thoughts, your actions, your ways,” he said.

But Gellerman knows change will take time. 

“This is not a one day, one event effort. This has to be a long view game, and we have to do it together. This is going to take the power of our community to address these changes and i’m confident that we have enough momentum going that people are going to be joining us to really build a brighter and more equitable Quad Cities,” she said.

The grant awards will be announced in February.

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