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United Way shares equity summit findings; addresses inequity in the Quad Cities

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 5:49 PM CST
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - Officials with United Way Quad Cities, along with CoSpero Consulting on Thursday presented the findings following a virtual discussion on inequities in the Quad Cities area.

Around 400 Quad Cities residents met virtually to discuss the inequities that exist in the community, along with the changes needed to give those an equal chance to thrive.

United Way Quad Cities and CoSpero Consulting presented those findings from the October equity summit and discussed solutions to advance equity.

Harold Hogue and Lauren Coppedge, with CoSpero Consulting, went over the findings from the equity summit United Way Quad Cities held recently.

  • Strengthen Families
    • Conversations regarding parents’ role in creating systemic change hinged on the Quad Cities’ ability to provide more direct access to social services.
      • Launch awareness and access campaigns to ensure maximum utilization of existing social services (including pre-k & childcare)
      • Expand programs that provide lifeskills “navigators”/mentors
      • Invest in training & resources that empower parents to support students academically
      • Develop Parent Advisory Boards for education and family-serving institutions to share decision-making power
      • Work with private and public sectors to bridge the digital divide
      • Improve access to quality early learning/childcare specifically in low-income communities and for single-parent households
  • Empower the Next Generation
    • The Quad Cities community places a clear priority on supporting and engaging youth to better inform the issues of today and equip them to tackle the challenges of the future
      • Engage more youth voice through creating councils, summits, and leadership opportunities
      • Offer robust mentorship opportunities such as cross-cultural and peer-to-peer
      • Support the aspirational development of QC youth by expanding access to college tours, career exploration, and internships
      • Seek feedback from young people on key policy considerations
  • Modernize Public Policy
    • A dire need to collectively advocate for policy changes that would further the efforts of philanthropic partners working to create better opportunities for low-income families arose across breakout groups
      • Improve the volume and access to affordable housing, including evaluating how land trusts and leveraged
      • Directly involve community members in all neighborhood development considerations
      • Explore alternate school funding models that prioritize equity
      • Consider a common minimum wage for bi-state region
      • Create more cooperation, collaboration between Iowa & Illinois to advance policies and big ideas
      • Expand predatory lending protections for low income families
  • Define Collective Actions & Outcomes
    • Quad Cities’ residents expressed sincere interest in aligning all of its social efforts around a unified manifesto highlighting the region’s renewed commitment to creating equity and valuing diversity
      • Embrace ongoing, action-oriented dialogue with diverse voices represented across sectors such as:
        • Regional governments, school districts, philanthropy, civic organization, nonprofits, faith leaders, chambers, corporations, etc.
      • Set public equity goals for each sector informed by community
      • Develop a regional comprehensive strategic plan for philanthropy
      • Align providers working to improve early literacy
      • Explore the creation of a public facing equity data dashboard to support progress and accountability
      • Craft a community manifesto declaring the Quad Cities’ collective value of equity and diversity
  • Reimagine Workforce Culture
    • Participants felt strongly that a Quad Cities that works for all must include unbiased and inclusive workplaces along with resources to support minority-owned businesses
      • Rethink recruitment strategies to improve how job descriptions are drafted and marketed to more diverse communities
      • Identify key leaders and influencers across unconventional channels to support hiring outreach
      • Review job qualifications and interview processes for implicit bias
      • Promote diversifying recruitment and hiring teams
      • Create robust supports for minority business development
      • Make finding and hiring Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise vendors simple and transparent
      • Highlight stories of entrepreneurs of color across media channels
  • Diversify Positions of Influence
    • Creating pathways for marginalized voices to assume decision making roles was raised as a critical driver in developing a more holistic understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the community
      • Ensure board service opportunities are shared across professional networks made up of underrepresented populations
      • Create more professional networks and affinity groups for people of color and members of the LGBTQIA community
      • Intentionally recruit emerging leaders into influential networking circles to expand their social capital
      • Develop elected leadership training pipelines for people of color
  • Educate & Equip the Community
    • Creating safe spaces to unpack the history of race and systemic inequalities alongside making Diversity Equity and Inclusion training widely available emerged as a key underlying priority
      • Create funding opportunities and incentives to embedded DEI training/conversations across all sectors (corporate, civic, health, education, nonprofit, safety, government)
      • Develop and share online Diversity, Equity & Inclusion toolkits
      • Deploy implicit bias, Restorative Justice and cultural trauma training to teachers, business leaders and law enforcement
      • Establish safe spaces to focus on racial healing and reconciliation and teach the historical implications of systemic racism
      • Build leaders’ understanding of power structures and the differences between equality and equity
      • Ensure academic settings and employing and accurate and inclusive history
  • Incentivize Corporate Engagement
    • Innovative approaches to leverage public-private partnership were shared as a possible response to a number of challenges
      • Expand partnerships between businesses and schools to create more career centers
      • Scale college-career-military readiness resources to support 10-12th grade high school students
      • Develop a variety of apprenticeship/internship programs to support career exploration for K-12 students
      • Increase access to trade programs for everyone via scholarship and hiring multi-lingual instructions
      • Explore government incentives for higher wage jobs
      • Advocate for employer-provided child care subsidies
      • Create pathway for increased corporate engagement in education such as Campus Advisory Councils

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