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Our Commitment to Equity

Our Commitment to an Equity Driven Six-County Culture

At United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, we believe in the transformative power of equity. In our unwavering commitment to the residents of six diverse counties, we champion a future where every individual, regardless of their background or circumstances, has equal access to opportunities that empower them to thrive.

  • We are dedicated to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, in alignment with our Strategic Framework, which guides our collective giving through our Community Impact Fund and input from our community, where everyone can participate in our mission to foster an inclusive society where all individuals, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, culture, nationality, gender, religious/faith beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, age, marital status, (dis)ability, or any other protected class under federal, state, or local law is marginalized, can flourish.
  • We are committed to supporting initiatives that bridge gaps, break barriers, and create pathways to success. By investing in youth opportunities, financial security, community resiliency, and healthy communities, we pave the way for sustainable change.
  • We are committed to addressing historical inequities and opposing social injustices that inhibit individuals, families, and communities from achieving their aspirations and well-being.


Acknowledging the Mighty Lands, We Stand

We acknowledge that the lands upon which we reside, and gather are the ancestral territories of the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

In what is now known as Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming, Ontario, Wayne, and Monroe counties in New York State, these include but are not limited to the Haudenosaunee (ho-deh-no-SHOW-nee) Confederacy, the Seneca (SIN-uh-kuh), Cayuga (kuh-YOO-guh), Onondaga (ah-non-DAH-gah), Oneida (oh-NY-duh), and Tonawanda Nations.

We honor the sacred lands as we continue to curate, develop, and sustain an inclusive culture and climate across our six-county region.


Our Culture

At United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, we are committed to creating a welcoming environment that embraces, values, respects, and encourages people to show up as their authentic selves to produce their best work. Together we ensure that processes, policies, and practices foster fairness, belonging, and equity that reflect the views and values of all people within all levels of our organization.

To achieve this, we will intentionally:

  • Create an environment that eradicates prejudice and injustice
  • Value the visible and invisible qualities that make you who you are
  • Listen to learn about each other’s experiences
  • Welcome every person’s unique perspective and experience to advance our mission
  • Strive to create an environment of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in all that we do
  • Commit to cultivating an environment where people can feel comfortable sharing ideas and voicing their opinion
  • Understand that we cannot grow as an organization, people, or community without dismantling a system where race, ethnicity, culture, nationality, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, age, marital status, disability, or any other protected class under federal, state, or local law is marginalized or repressed inside or outside of the workplace.

The entire team at United Way is deeply committed to our mission, to unite the goodwill and resources of our community so everyone can thrive. We believe that working to eradicate systemic and structural racism is a key part of this role.

We work tirelessly to address disparities and increase opportunities by funding partners that improve health, education and economic mobility for local people. We also lead and actively participate in activities that harness the collective will and resources of organizations and individuals across our region. For instance, United Way was one of the first to join the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) in our area; we are the host, fiscal agent, and an active participant with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI); we play an active and coordinating role with the Monroe County Systems Integration Project; United Way serves as a convener for ROC the Future; we plan and host speakers on critical topics for United Way’s own Leadership Giving Networks and United Way conducts some of our region’s most recognized Leadership Development Programs, including AALDPLLDP, and PLDP, to help increase the diversity of our community’s future leaders.

We require all of our Community Impact Fund Partners to abide by RMAPI’s guiding principles in order to receive United Way funding.

We are also deeply committed to the growth of our own team, conducting regular workshops and lunch-and-learn events for United Way employees.

United Way is a 100+ year-old organization that has been committed to community improvements since our inception. But we recognize there is more to be done, and we are increasing our efforts. We cannot have a thriving community until racial equity and justice are achieved.