Our organization is honored to be recognized with this award alongside our friends and partners

Today, at the 9th Annual Inclusion Summit, the Greater Des Moines Partnership announced United Way of Central Iowa as one of the four 2021 Inclusion Award winners. In its ninth year, the Partnerships shared that the award seeks to honor and celebrate the success of organizations that have championed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their businesses, organizations and in the community.

We are so proud to be listed as the winner in the Small Organization Category.

At United Way of Central Iowa, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of what it means to LIVE UNITED. Equity has been an inherent part of our work throughout the past 100+ years; and it’s now more overt as we continue to seek to represent and advocate for the many people who proudly make up our community. We are intentional and committed to promoting equity and inclusiveness in all aspects of our work, which is why my first ask of our Board of Directors when returning to United Way of Central Iowa was to approve the addition of a Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer to our team. We are currently working with a recruitment firm to find the best fit for that position.

Though, we may not always be the experts – we have the role, responsibility, and opportunity to partner with nonprofits, local experts, community leaders, corporate partners, policymakers, and people with lived experience to better understand the disparities that exist in our communities and, ultimately, close equity gaps. It’s how we, together, can foster a thriving community for everyone who lives here.

Here is a list of all four winners and The Partnership’s description on why each were chosen by the selection committee who evaluated the applications, which was made up of members of The Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Inclusion Council and The Partnership team.

Award winners are:

United Way of Central Iowa, Small Organization Category (1 – 150 employees): United Way has been a strong pillar fostering an equitable, engaged and empowered community for many years. United Way has ramped up its DEI commitment, which is reflected in its staffing, hiring, and programming. United Way led a successful 21-Day Equity Challenge in 2020, attracting more than 30,000 participants to learn about the vast and complex topics of DEI. United Way has also been intentional in making investments with diverse communities and programming serving diverse communities.

NCMIC Group, Inc., Medium Organization Category (151 – 500 employees): NCMIC has demonstrated an intentional focus on DEI. NCMIC CEO Mike McCoy was one of the first leaders in the region to sign the CEO Commitment to Racial Equity in DSM. NCMIC supports diverse suppliers, and worked hard during the pandemic to keep employees engaged, holding drive-by celebrations for retirements and other milestones, offering resources and conversations around mental wellness, and hosting many other fun activities to keep employees happy and engaged.

Wells Fargo & Co., Large Organization Category (more than 500 employees): Wells Fargo has implemented intentional efforts in hiring and retention of a diverse workforce at all levels, offers advancement opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds within the organization for leadership positions, provides various learning and growth opportunities internally and externally from employees and is heavily involved in making an impact in the community.

Hy-Vee, Inc., Large Organization Category (more than 500 employees): Hy-Vee was able to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping its doors open, finding creative ways to provide services to the sick and elderly through its online platform, instating social distancing and sanitation protocols in store and successfully administering COVID-19 vaccines to thousands of employees. Hy-Vee has successfully built partnerships with a large number of nonprofits serving diverse populations, and actively hires people of diverse backgrounds including those with disabilities, youth and more. Hy-Vee continues to make conscious efforts to diversify its vendors.

“The four Inclusion Award winners for 2021 have demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing in their DEI journey,” said Sanjita Pradhan, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at The Partnership. “They continue to make their workplaces welcoming for all and intentionally invest time and effort to make meaningful change.”

Thank you for supporting United Way and being a part of the work.

Mary Sellers

About The Author: Mary Sellers

Mary Sellers is the President of United Way of Central Iowa. As the organization's leader Mary oversees United Way's mission to improve lives in central Iowa, fostering an equitable, engaged, and empowered community that is UNITED to THRIVE.