YMCA Equity Innovation Center Offers New Learning Experiences to Organizations Focused on Building Inclusive Workforces and Communities in 2020


December 18, 2019

• Research studies indicate that cultural competence is one of the most important skills a leader needs to succeed.

• Research studies have found multicultural teams that acknowledge and support cultural differences perform at higher levels and exceed expectations.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, offers customized learning experiences to help organizations build inclusive workforces and communities in 2020.

Research studies indicate that cultural competence is one of the most important skills a leader needs to succeed. School districts, government/civic organizations, industry-leading businesses and post-secondary institutions that are working with the YMCA Equity Innovation Center have taken the first step in understanding and creating a culture of belonging for everyone. They are continuing their efforts in 2020 to further build an inclusive community.

“In an increasingly connected world, organizations must adapt to better meet the needs of diverse teams and communities,” said Glen Gunderson, president and CEO for the Y. “The YMCA’s Equity Innovation Center provides unique opportunities for building transformational leaders and engaging diverse stakeholders from all sectors. By experiencing hands-on training designed to help foster innovative solutions to challenges regarding equity, diversity and inclusion, teams can create a safe environment for authentic conversation and build a lasting culture that values all perspectives.”

Dr. Hedy Lemar Walls, chief social responsibility officer for the Y added, “Organizations are looking for experiences where diverse communities come together for participating in problem solving to shape their own future. The Y’s Equity Innovation Center offers a customized engagement process based on the outcomes the organization wants to achieve.”

In 2020 the YMCA Equity Innovation Center will be offering new learning series that offer an effective way to gain thought-provoking information and insights in two hour classes. Topics include unconscious bias, dimensions of culture, systems change, courageous inclusive conversations at work and becoming an ally.

The Equity Innovation Experience created with the Science Museum of Minnesota is used in conjunction with the Center’s customized programs so participants will see firsthand how the experiential learning experience includes hand-on opportunities to explore cultural markers, wealth disparities, microagressions, implicit bias and the history of race in America. As part of the reflective process and after going through the Equity Innovation Experience, participants debrief and connect with a small group about personal experiences and its impact, and how to lead differently going forward and address system changes through a lens of equity.

Learn about how School District 191 is creating a culture of belonging for staff and students – Equity Innovation Experience: School District 191

Explore how leaders in the Forest Lake Community are conversing and collaborating together on how to increase equity and become more inclusive - Equity Innovation Experience: Forest Lake Community

Discover how the Mitchell Hamline School of Law team is advancing its efforts in achieving system changes that create a culture of inclusion and equity - Equity Innovation Experience: Mitchell Hamline School of Law

For more information on the programs and services offered at the YMCA Equity Innovation Center, visit http://www.ymcamn.org/eic.

Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all thrive, financial assistance is available to those in need. With the generous support of donors and community members, the Y ensures that all have the opportunity to participate. To learn more, please visit ymcamn.org.


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