United Way of Illinois Launches ‘21 Week Equity Challenge’


United Way of Illinois Launches ‘21 Week Equity Challenge’


January 11, 2021

Kankakee, Ill. - United Way of Illinois is launching a ‘21 Week Equity Challenge’ this week. Following a year of unrest and strife, this free, online learning program will provide lessons and resources for Illinoisians to learn about racial issues and systemic inequalities, together.

“Our association, in partnership with local United Ways, is so excited to be taking this journey with our communities.” said Eithne McMenamin, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for United Way of Illinois. “This is an excellent opportunity to learn -- personally and professionally -- have necessary conversations and equip our communities to engage meaningfully in the work of racial understanding and healing.”

The United Way of Illinois 21 Week Equity Challenge encourages individuals, families, friends, and co-workers to have racial equity conversations to gain a deeper understanding about the impact systemic racism and inequality have on our state and in our local communities. United, we can help create a stronger, more equitable Illinois economy and stronger, more inclusive Illinois communities.

From Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/18) to Juneteenth (6/19), participants will complete weekly learning assignments about equity, racism, bias and more. The 15-minute assignments include readings, videos, and questions for participants to consider. Upon completion, they’ll receive a digital certificate and tips and tools to help continue the conversation in their local community.

The 21 Week Equity Challenge is supported by Healing Illinois, the State of Illinois, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Illinois. The weekly curriculum was designed by United Way of Champaign, using evolving content originally created by United Way of Washtenaw County in Michigan. New challenge content will be released on a weekly basis.

United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties is proud to join United Way of Illinois and 43 other local United Ways across the state to embark on the 21 Week Equity Challenge. United Way staff and leadership will participate, as well as corporate partners, volunteers, and donors.

“Building an equitable community requires commitment from everyone. My hope is that following this Challenge more people in our community will shift their mindset, replacing questions like “what will someone else do?” and instead begin to ask of themselves “what must I do?” said Kerstin Rust, Executive Director of United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties. “Our team has accepted the Challenge. We invite you to join, too.”

You can take the pledge today by visiting www.unitedwayillinois.org/equity-challenge.




About United Way of Illinois

United Way of Illinois is an association of local United Ways representing communities across Illinois. We advance the common good through public policy. We monitor the activity of government, review legislation, and educate the general public and our public officials related to their impact on human services and on our local communities. To learn more, visit unitedwayillinois.org.

About United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties


For 80 years, United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties has mobilized caring people to invest in communities where resources are needed most. United Way brings direct service providers, the business and philanthropic communities, and local institutions together to tackle some of the biggest issues affecting our region. United Way is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, governed by a local volunteer board of directors. For more information, visit myunitedway.org.