April 14, 2021

UW Health commits additional $1 million for anti-racism community work

Madison, Wisconsin - UW Health has long been a leader in the fight for healthcare equity in our community. Today, we are announcing a new $1 million annual commitment to community organizations engaged in anti-racism work.

UW Health has committed more than $3 million every year to support organizations making a difference in our community. This additional $1 million was approved in August 2020, expanding UW Health's ability to support communities of color and focus on antiracism. UW Health will join our community partners to announce specific donations in the coming months.

UW Health has prioritized partnering with organizations led by people of color and historically marginalized communities in recent years, and by the end of June 2021, more than 60% of our community giving will go to organizations led by people of color. Nationally, only about 10% of philanthropic dollars go to communities of color according the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

"The contributions made possible by this additional funding are building upon long-standing relationships we've developed in the community and will recognize and expand upon the amazing work our partners are doing with communities of color," said Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, vice president and chief diversity officer at UW Health.

As a prominent employer and healthcare provider, we play a vital role in eliminating inequities, because racism is a public health crisis and improving health and wellness for all starts in the community.

"UW Health is taking action in the midst of this pandemic because the need is so clear," said Juli Aulik, director of community relations at UW Health. "Despite the pandemic's financial impact on health systems, we need to support communities of color that have been dealing with the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism."

As part of this expanded community giving, UW Health provided $300,000 over the last year to the Latinx Consortium for Action Relief Fund. The Latinx Consortium for Action is made up of local organizations that understand the needs of the Latinx community in Wisconsin and Dane County. This relief fund was started at the beginning of the pandemic and supports Latinx community members who have been disproportionally impacted and are often especially vulnerable to the pandemic, including owners of small businesses and people who are undocumented. It also benefits those experiencing housing insecurity, those lacking insurance with high health risk factors, and those facing significant lost wages.

"We are proud to stand with UW Health in their open commitment to anti-racism," said Baltazar De Anda Santana, executive director of Latino Academy of Workforce Development on behalf of the Latinx Consortium for Action. "Prioritizing trust-based giving to entities and organizations led by people of color underscores UW Health's deep commitment to ensuring a healthier Wisconsin for all and we hope others will follow their lead."

Anti-racism is defined as action against individual or systemic racism, racial bias and the oppression of marginalized groups. Those actions should be concrete and deliberate to provide equitable opportunities for people on an individual and systemic level.

This giving is an extension of UW Health's ambitious vision to be a leader in dismantling racism in ourselves, our system and our community.