United Way of Washtenaw County Concludes 21-Day Equity Challenge with over 5,000 Participants

ANN ARBOR, MI (February 3, 2020) - United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) hosted a 21-Day Equity Challenge to build our community’s awareness on the ways that bias, prejudice, privilege, and oppression show up in our work and lives. UWWC has a vision that by 2030, your zip code will no longer predict your opportunity in life. At present, in Washtenaw County, it does. 


“The United Way believed our community would embrace this challenging work and on behalf of the Board and staff we want to say thank you. United, we created a powerful opportunity for shared learning and growth and can change the narrative moving forward,” notes Pam Smith, President and CEO of UWWC.


The Challenge was a virtual self-guided learning journey over 21 days that examined the history and impacts of racism and how it shapes people’s lived experiences in Washtenaw County. Each morning, participants received an email "prompt" with readings, videos and/or podcasts. They were encouraged to take ten to fifteen minutes each day with the material. Participants also received examples and tools on how to undo racism and build racial equity and justice.


The Challenge, originally developed by Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Dr. Marguerite Penick-Parks and Debby Irving, has been adapted by Food Solutions New England and replicated in Cleveland, OH by the YWCA. This is the first time the Challenge has been replicated in Michigan.


 “For United Way of Washtenaw County, this isn’t a moment—it’s a movement. We believe united action is powerful and it benefits us all to have greater collective capacity and courage to identify and address inequity in all its forms. As it turns out, over 5,000 people in Washtenaw County believe this too,” says Yodit Mesfin Johnson, Board Chair of UWWC.  


More than 5,000 people in Washtenaw County participated in the challenge, raising awareness and increasing our community’s capacity for learning, exploring and working towards a more equitable Washtenaw County. 


Visit our website at uwgive.org/equity to learn more about the challenge and review the topics.



As part of our 99-year history, the United Way of Washtenaw County brings people, organizations and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. We focus on Education, Financial Stability and Health, the building blocks for a good quality of life. Our Volunteer Center provides an easy, online way for people to connect with nonprofits in the community and our 2-1-1 helpline refers more than 8,000 people annually to critically needed services. To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit uwgive.org.