YMCA Equity

Developed with the Science Museum of Minnesota and community partners

The YMCA recently opened a new Equity Innovation Experience, developed with the Science Museum of Minnesota and community partners.

The new Equity Innovation Experience, located in the YMCA Equity Innovation Center on 651 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, is described as an interactive exhibit providing an opportunity to see life from another’s point of view and challenge a person’s mental models of the world.

“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.”

Recently 160 students and staff from North Central University participated in the Y’s Equity Innovation Experience as part of its student leadership development program. The goal of the training was to heighten student cultural awareness and leadership skills in the community.

“The customized learning process provided current and historical lessons and information about personal and institutional behaviors, and systems of racial discrimination and injustice which challenge our ability to live, work and play in ‘Comm-Unity’,” said Bill Green, director of multicultural engagement and support at North Central University. “The outcomes of our experience have been greater conversations and discussions as well as more activities for personal and institutional opportunities to enhance cultural awareness, inclusion and equity.”

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