Metro United Way | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Adria Johnson, CEO, Metro United Way
The population isn’t made up of just one kind of person, and more and more companies understand that the workforce needs to reflect and mirror the population. Adria Johnson, CEO of the Metro United Way, shares about how the organization continuously works toward this goal.
How do you promote diversity, equity and inclusion?
Metro United Way made a commitment to becoming a beacon in our region of diversity, equity, and inclusion about four years ago. We were one of the first in the United Way Worldwide network of 1,800 local United Ways to create an equity team and appoint a Chief Equity Officer. Daryle Unseld has been in that role for more than three years.
What types of programming and outreach does your DEI team do?
Our Racial Wealth Gap simulations explain how federal policies have accelerated or impeded progress based on race through free events at companies like Norton Healthcare and Humana. More than 2,000 individuals have participated.
Our Beyond Buzzword Speaker Series features nationally-known experts, authors and influencers on DEI; this month, Marco Davis will join us. These events have broken our registration record for single events.
In August, Black Philanthropy Month, we officially launched an invitation for Black-led social change organizations to join our Black L.O.V.E. Philanthropic Partnership. (Live, Own, Vote, Excel.) We will make historic, multi-year investments into community-driven root cause interventions led and informed by Black leaders in our seven-county region.
How have DEI initiatives enhanced your workplace and overall success?
We have made great progress internally in ensuring that our entire staff champions equity and that our employees feel included, heard, and valued. We have revised our parental leave and bereavement policies, increased our paid time off — including a week at the end of the year, Juneteenth, Primary Day and Election Day.
What short and long-term goals do you have for your DEI program?
We want to be the model — the gold standard — for how organizations conduct all aspects of their business through applying an equity lens.
As MUW’s first Black President and CEO, it’s important to me to lead an organization where I can show up each day as my authentic self. It is equally important to me that each member of my team, each donor and each member of our community whose life is impacted feel the same.
What impact do you hope your program has on the city?
We want to create a Greater Louisville region where every individual, regardless of the zip code in which they were born, the color of their skin, their sexual preference, gender or ethnicity, has an opportunity to live their best life. We will never stop fighting for that and hope others join us because to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.