"We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color." — Maya Angelou.
United Way of Central Indiana is celebrating Black History Month by recognizing the impact diversity has on our community. One particular program that has made an impact, is United Way's Diversity Leadership Circle (DLC). DLC, first named the Minority Key Club, was first formed in 1985, by businessmen Bill Mays and attorney Fay Williams. The group was formed to demonstrate the impact of charitable giving by African-Americans, and was one of the nation's first minority giving programs in the United Way network. The purpose of the program is to recognize diverse leaders in the community for their volunteer efforts and financial support, and to encourage increased giving among the population.
The DLC supports United Way of Central Indiana by connecting with diverse populations and providing volunteer support. United Way serves nearly 210,000 African-Americans and their families. Out of 99 human service agencies, 11 report that over 80 percent of their clients have identified themselves as African-American.
The program started with only 11 participants who contributed a little more than $13,000 to the campaign. By 2006, the program had 373 members, and by 2009, the campaign topped $1.25 million. In May 2009, Charles Young, Associate Director, proposed the new name, Diversity Leadership Circle. It was expanded to include all people of color and demonstrates that United Way recognizes and appreciates Central Indiana's ethnic diversity. "My hope is that we will grow our people and funding by getting more involved. We're small, but focused," said Young.
Young has been involved with several ethnic events including: Asian Fest, Race of all Races and Soul, Sushi & Salsa. He also attended Indiana's African-American artist event, Art & Soul 2012, last weekend.
—Katie Rethlake, communications intern, United Way of Central Indiana