Major foundations announce support for the EDCUtah Center for Economic Opportunity and Belonging

DEI Initiative Backed by Walton, Zehner, and Miller Family Foundations

The Walton Family Foundation, the Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation, and the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation have announced their support for the EDCUtah Center for Economic Opportunity and Belonging (CEOB).

CEOB serves as the private sector commitment to work alongside government and communities of color to advance the principles outlined in the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The Center focuses on advancing economic equity and strengthening community cohesiveness by fostering an environment of belonging for all Utahns.

“EDCUtah’s Center for Economic Opportunity and Belonging provides a unique opportunity to partner with public, private and philanthropic institutions in support of Utah’s students, families and communities,” said Johannah Chase, Senior Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “The more people working together to ensure social and economic mobility for all of America’s youth, the greater the impact.”

Ze Min Xiao is the director of CEOB, which is housed under the recently-formed EDCUtah Foundation, a 501(c)(3). Funding for the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) Foundation is separate from investor support of EDCUtah’s longstanding 501(c)(6).

“It’s an honor to support the leadership of Ze Min Xiao and the work of this new center. Our hope is that every person in our great state of Utah has the resources they need to flourish,” said Jacki Zehner, cofounder of the Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation. “Her approach is to ask questions, listen deeply, and create solutions that meet people’s needs. What more could we ask for as a donor?”

The funding will support three key priorities of CEOB, according to Xiao. These are: 1) to launch  Belonging Begins with Us in Utah, a campaign to reinforce the positive and motivating narrative of belonging, 2) to conduct neighborhood level Participatory Asset Mapping, a structured process to gather information from communities about their strengths and resources and 3) to convene a statewide task force to create actionable strategies to maximize the potential of New Americans.

“Our community is stronger when we recognize and appreciate the unique skills and viewpoints each person brings to the table. Together we can and must build a community where everyone is welcome and their contributions are valued,” said Gail Miller, chairman of the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation. “We are honored to join with the EDCUtah Center for Economic Opportunity and Belonging in this crucial effort to foster mutually respectful relationships within our community.”

“To have the support of these impactful regional and national philanthropies is very gratifying and underscores the importance of the Center’s mission,” said Xiao.

If you would like to learn more about how to support the Center through EDCUtah Foundation, please reach out to Ze Min Xiao at [email protected].