United Way of Washtenaw County to Launch State Edition of 21-Day Equity Challenge

ANN ARBOR – United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) will launch a special State Edition of its 21-Day Equity Challenge for Washtenaw County people in response to newly released ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) data, which shows 63% of Black households statewide are unable to make ends meet, The Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) sponsored the ALICE report.

UWWC is one of several United Ways in Michigan who are simultaneously launching a State Edition of the Challenge. Set to begin on September 8, 2020, the Challenge is a self-guided learning journey designed to deepen participants’ understanding of, and willingness to confront, racism. Participants will engage in a series of readings, videos, podcasts, and daily reflections as part of the program.

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. UWWC launched a Washtenaw Edition of the Challenge in January of 2020, followed by a COVID-19 Edition of the Challenge in May. This is the first time the Challenge has been launched by multiple United Ways with state-level data.

“Poverty and racism have been inextricably connected since this country’s inception, yet official federal statistics have never fully portrayed the economic impact of that link. The ALICE and Black Households Data clearly illustrates the inequities that are deeply rooted in our national, state, and local systems and institutions,” said Pam Smith, President and CEO of UWWC. “Through the release of this data through the 21 Day Equity Challenge, United Ways hope to support the many efforts underway to dismantle racism, raise awareness, shift attitudes, and change outcomes. As a network, we are committed to understanding and undoing racism in the communities we serve.”

The ALICE data indicates that 40 percent of all Michigan households did not earn enough to cover basic expenses in 2018, including housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a basic smartphone plan. The 63 percent of Black households falling below the ALICE Threshold was almost double that of white households— 36 percent. The percentage of Black households unable to make ends meet is also almost three times higher than the antiquated Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

During the recovery from the Great Recession, outcomes didn’t improve for Black households. Instead, the number of Black households under the ALICE Threshold in Michigan increased by 11% from 2010 to 2018. The number of White households struggling to make ends meet increased by 1% statewide during that time frame.

To learn more and sign up for the 21-Day Equity Challenge visit www.uwgive.org/equity-michigan .

About United Way of Washtenaw County

As part of our 99-year history, United Way of Washtenaw County brings people, organizations and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. Our focus areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability, the building blocks for a good quality of life, strengthen community and create opportunities for individuals and families. 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 HERE