GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Shannon Gardner, Vice President of Community Impact for the Heart of West Michigan United Way, says it's time people got uncomfortable.
"Enough is enough. Our community deserves more," says Gardner. "It's not about being comfortable in your own bubble. It's about reaching out because if our community thrives we all thrive."
Data from the United Way shows 63% of Black households struggle to be financially stable in Michigan, while that's true of only 36% of White households.
Gardner says recognizing the racial disparity is only the first step. Her organization is taking action by making sure applications for grant money are looked at without judgement.
"We are making sure we are looking at it through an equity lens," explains Gardner. "So that we're not ruling out any organization based on identifiers or things that will keep them from receiving those dollars."
All the United Ways across Michigan have also worked together to call for the raising of minimum wage.
"If you think about the federal poverty guideline for a house of four, that's only $26,000. That's not enough to be able to provide for four children."
Gardner says change will come if everyone does their part.
"It's time to take action," she says. "It's time to roll up your sleeves and get out here in the community."
If you would like learn more about how to volunteer with the Heart of West Michigan United Way, click here.
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