An article in the Huffington Post regarding United Way Worldwide and its workplace culture is cause for great concern. Our organization was not given prior notice of these charges before they were reported publicly.
Locally, we have a zero tolerance policy for harassment, and there should be zero tolerance for the type of behavior described in this article. While these allegations concern the United Way Worldwide offices, they are deeply troubling for all of us throughout the United Way network. We fully support an independent and transparent investigation of the allegations and it is our understanding that the Board of Directors of United Worldwide is currently conducting such an investigation and our expectation is that they will act on those findings.
United Way Worldwide operates as a federation with more than 1,700 independent local chapters that serve communities across the world. As one of those chapters, United Way of Greater Los Angeles adheres to membership standards in exchange for the use of the brand. Our local Board of Directors, however, oversees all legal, governance, ethical and financial management policies to ensure that United Way of Greater Los Angeles can advance our mission.
That mission—to end poverty in our region by focusing on education, economic mobility and housing and homelessness—can only be accomplished with a positive workplace environment and the values our United Way upholds: diversity, equity and inclusion both in our workplace and in our community. We accomplish this goal through long-standing partnerships, including the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor who also shares our values.
We believe that taking these allegations seriously and addressing them in a transparent way will only help the entire organization to continue to fulfill its critical mission. We also recognize a collective effort for change is needed. We must build the same culture of respect and inclusion across our network and especially at the top. The only way we can build the world we want to see is by acting together, with integrity.