Organization embarks on month-long celebration highlighting its work in equity space


Louisville, Ky. (January 29, 2024) Metro United Way is honoring Black History Month, highlighting a series of initiatives that seek to build equity in the community, and underscoring some of the systemic issues that make inequity so pervasive. Through a series of events and initiatives, the organization offers the community an opportunity to engage and learn more about their work. It will help the public further understand the need to recalibrate philanthropic work in an effort to align the community and business practices and serve as a beacon of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for all people.

“This is an exciting time as we are creating and establishing pathways to equity across our community,” said Adria Johnson, president and CEO of Metro United Way. “We envision a Greater Louisville region as a place where zip code doesn’t determine destiny and everyone has the opportunity to live up to their full potential – which is a win for our entire community.”

Here are several Metro United Way initiatives that are being highlighted during February, Black History Month:

Young Men United (new program)

Young Men United (YMU) is an initiative Metro United Way recently launched to create barrier-free pathways for young men of color to reach their academic and career goals by bringing wrap-around supports to youth in our community during their high school and college years.

Why It’s Important:

The program includes the Young Men United (YMU) Scholarship, which embodies Metro United Way’s commitment to supporting students of color in Jefferson and Shelby counties to get into, and through, college. The initial scholarships provide a total of $468,000 to 156 potential recipients to help support their academic and collegiate goals. The scholarships will be awarded soon, as Metro United Way works with schools and partner organizations to determine recipients.

To learn more, visit Metro United Way Young Men United


United Neighborhoods

United Neighborhoods takes a powerful approach to promoting sustained neighborhood change. At its foundation are the neighborhood’s residents and existing community resources, which are the key to driving that transformative change. With a commitment to collective impact and sharing power, the intent is to invest in neighborhoods whose assets and residents have historically been neglected.

Why It’s Important:

Rooted in efforts to create a more equitable community, this initiative works to ensure a person’s zip code doesn’t affect their wellbeing or opportunities in life. Citywide neighborhood data provided insight that led Metro United Way to begin this program in 2022 focusing on the California neighborhood in west Louisville. Historical prejudices have created disparities for residents there, compared to those in other parts of the city. These conditions have created opportunities to improve life-expectancy, health and wellbeing, and increased homeownership rates. This program uses resident-driven recommendations and will invest an additional $300,000 in 2024 to improve assets in the neighborhood, bringing the total investments to $1.1 million in California through United Neighborhoods. Learn more: Metro United Way United Neighborhoods



Because only 1% of start-up capital accrues to Black entrepreneurs and there is a higher loan denial rate for black-owned businesses than that of white-owned businesses, Metro United Way partnered last year with FundBLACKFounders to provide $25,000 matching crowdfunding grants to 13ß Louisville-based founders. This innovative program is supporting early-stage startups founded by Black entrepreneurs, helping them to bring their ideas to life and grow their businesses.

What’s New:

The crowdfunding process is currently underway and recipient founders are currently working toward their goals to scale their businesses and initiatives through this investment opportunity. Learn more: Metro United Way FundBLACKFounders


Beyond Buzzwords

Beyond Buzzwords is a Metro United Way speaker series focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is designed to provide thoughtful and meaningful discussions about important topics that promote thinking, as well as personal and institutional application. Past speakers have included Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Isabel Wilkerson, and Emily Bingham. All Beyond Buzzwords sessions are virtual events and free to attend. Several of the community’s employers view the series together with their teams during Black History Month.

What’s New:

Sessions this year include Heather McGhee, author of “The Sum of Us” (Tuesday, Feb. 6); Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “Between the World and Me” (Tuesday, June 4) and Alejandra Campoverdi, author of “First Gen” (Tuesday, Oct. 8). Each starts at noon on Zoom.

Learn more and register here: Metro United Way Beyond Buzzwords


Racial Wealth Gap Simulation

More than 4,000 individuals have participated in Metro United Way’s Racial Wealth Gap simulation, which takes people and organizations on a historical journey to wealth building in America, pausing on 13 federal policies that most powerfully accelerated or impeded progress based on race. It powerfully helps us all understand the racialized impacts of laws that have determined access to opportunity, resources, and power for generations and highlights what we can do to change them. In partnership with Bread for the World, Metro United Way developed this training in the fall of 2019 and have since shared it with many different audiences. Trained staff lead the simulation and offer a safe, confidential, and engaging space to help elevate the conversation around policies that have been in place for decades, affecting generations of families in our community. The program is usually conducted virtually.

What’s New:

The public is invited to register for the next Racial Wealth Gap simulation, which is virtual, scheduled for Wednesday, February 28 at 1:00 pm. These simulations have costs for the participants but to celebrate Black History Month, they are FREE with a capacity of 100 individuals.

Learn more: Metro United Way Racial Wealth Gap Simulation


Black L.O.V.E. Philanthropic Partnership

Metro United Way continues to follow and partners in the Black L.O.V.E. (Live, Own, Vote, Excel) Philanthropic Partnership (BLPP) – which invests in Black-led social change nonprofit and advocacy organizations. This initiative addresses how inequities unfairly restrict individuals and communities in terms of access, opportunity and resources. The goal of BLPP is to listen to and empower those affected by racial inequities through historic investments in Black-led social change organizations, defined as those with predominantly Black board members and executive leadership, staff and constituents.

What’s New:

BLPP’s next round of investments will launch in February and will total $1 million, split over two years. The objective is to attract and support Black-led organizations that align with Live, Own, Vote, Excel principles. Learn more about those principles: Black L.O.V.E Philanthropic Partnership – Metro United Way


For more than 100 years, Metro United Way has been improving lives and our community, which includes Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, and Shelby counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd, and Harrison counties in Indiana. We are uniquely positioned to harness the power of donors, volunteers, thought leaders, experts, other nonprofits, and government at all levels to ensure positive, sustainable change for every person in our seven-county region. Now more than ever, we are focused on three priorities: thriving kids, strong households, and an equitable community. We invite you to join us and be a part of transforming Greater Louisville. To live better, we must LIVE UNITED.


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