Guided by our values

At United Way Halifax, we are guided by a set of core organizational values that express how we aspire to be when we are at our best.

In addition to a mission and vision, values are ideas that guide an organization’s behaviour, decisions, and thinking. They are an expression of an organization’s priorities and culture. Our values tell other people and organizations what they can expect from us.

In 2016-17, the United Way Halifax staff team had a series of conversations and identified our five core values: respect, trust, compassion, adaptability, and collaboration. It was around that time that we began to make more deliberate efforts around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). We have been on a learning journey as individuals and as a staff team.

In 2022, we set out to refine and strengthen how we articulate our values. This included assessing how our commitment to EDI was reflected in our values.

We updated the statements of what each of the values means in our workplace. We also added equity as one of our core values to reflect our commitment as well as our progress over the past six years.

  • Respect: We foster a culture of kindness, inclusiveness, and safety. We value everyone’s contributions, take time to understand and incorporate diverse perspectives, and treat one another with dignity.
  • Trust: We build relationships by acting with integrity, honesty, and transparency. We are dedicated to the highest standard of ethical conduct and professional accountability.
  • Compassion: We care deeply and believe everyone deserves to belong, be safe, and live a life of their choosing. We listen to understand the needs of our community and act in response.
  • Adaptability: We are open to new ideas. We respond and adapt as we discover and learn how to best address the needs of our community and achieve our mission.
  • Collaboration: We are stronger together. We embrace the diversity of collective knowledge and resources to create meaningful impact.
  • Equity: We recognize that the absence of equity causes harm. We meet people where they are and work to ensure equitable distribution of resources and access to opportunity.

Our values are prominently displayed on a wall in our office. This provides a visual reminder for staff and shows visitors our values.

Living Our Values

Values are not just words on a page or a wall. They are meant to guide us on a daily basis.

Here are just a few examples of how we live our values:

  • We are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We express that commitment publicly with statements on anti-Black racism, and the remains of children found at residential schools.
  • As a charity that depends on the support of donors, we build trust through transparency in our annual reports and financial statements.
  • We build compassion by giving voice to those not often heard. We encourage and facilitate public discourse on poverty.
  • We regularly review and update our policies and procedures. Recently, we adapted our recognition awards program and we are modernizing our employee onboarding program.
  • As much as possible, we strive to collaborate with partners in our work. That’s because we know we can accomplish more together than alone.
  • Across all our funding streams, we are increasing the total amount of funding we provide to racialized organizations and communities.

Whether personal or organizational, values are aspirational by nature. There are times when circumstances will challenge our values. We cannot expect perfect compliance, but knowing our values gives us something to strive for. Stating them publicly promotes accountability. Staff can refer to them when making decisions and when looking for ways to improve. Donors and partners can learn something about us by knowing our values.