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United Way unveils $100M plan to address racial inequity

January 15, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — United Way of Rhode Island on Friday unveiled a $100 million plan to build racial equity in the state through improved educational opportunities, safe and affordable housing, workforce development and altering policies that perpetuate inequities.

The five-year plan called Live United 2025 is aimed at creating justice and opportunities for all, the organization said in a statement.

“This plan requires that we go deep, rather than wide. It is intentional and focused so our investments make the biggest impact toward reversing the racial inequities holding back Rhode Island,” Cortney Nicolato, United Way’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

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Planning began before the pandemic, but “COVID-19 reinforced the painful reminder of the work that lies ahead and the disparities we must overcome,” she said.

The goals include doubling the number of communities in the state that meet the 10% affordable housing threshold; increasing by 50% access to and participation in out-of-school learning in low-income communities; and reducing by 25% the number of people of color who are underemployed or unemployed.

The plan has the backing of the state’s largest corporations, Brown University and state agencies. United Way last month received a $10 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in support of the plan.