U3’s values of empathy, inclusivity, equality, responsibility, and diversity drive our strategic work and form the foundation for our interpretation of diversity and inclusion in our workplace and beyond.

Diversity Standards in the Workplace

U3’s human capital is the most valuable asset we have. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but our reputation and company’s achievement as well. We celebrate the diversity that makes U3 unique.

U3 strives to create a safe and welcoming workplace for all employees. We embrace and encourage our employees’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make our employees unique.

U3’s diversity initiatives are applicable—but not limited—to our practices and policies on recruitment and selection; compensation and benefits; professional development and training; human resource actions; and the ongoing development of a work environment built on the premise of gender and diversity equity that encourages and enforces: • Respectful communication and cooperation between all employees.

  • Teamwork and employee participation, permitting the representation of all groups and employee perspectives.
  • Work/life balance through flexible work schedules and home base locations to accommodate employees’ varying needs.
  • Employer and employee contributions to the communities we serve to promote a greater understanding and respect for the diversity.

All employees are expected to treat each other, clients, colleagues, and visitors with respect, dignity, and inclusion at all times.

Diversity in Action

While we continue to improve in established metrics for success in diversity, we are proud of where we are today. U3’s inclusive hiring process ensures that we create opportunity and a level playing field for all. Currently, U3 has 25 advisors comprised of a range of characteristics including gender (50% women), religion, race (30% minority), age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and education. This diversity fosters a culture of collaboration, innovation, and unique perspectives which translates into our client work.

U3 is committed to fostering an environment of diversity training through engaging external facilitators, choice of books for company-wide reading, and facilitated discussions on our own individual experiences. We continually work together to promote shared language and norms around addressing issues of race and racism in the workplace and in our work. We actively work to identify resources, partnerships, and strategies for broadening pool of student applicants, such as researching first-generation college student networks, department heads at HBCU’s, department heads at planning programs, etc.; reaching out to institutional clients; and organizing networking social events. Our successful efforts in recruiting diverse staff and interns is then strengthened by U3’s commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all through training, exposure to varied projects, and continued conversations.

Diversity in Work

Since U3’s inception 16 years ago, our work has been primarily based in urban settings that are both socioeconomically challenged and racially diverse. As stewards of development in several of the continent’s largest majority minority cities, we live by the principle of doing the right thing for better reasons. Our success in bridging the gap between communities and anchor institutions in Detroit, the South Side of Chicago, Memphis, College Park Maryland, Newark New Jersey, New Orleans, and Buffalo speaks to the core of who U3 is and our deliberate impact.

In occupying the third space between institutions and urban communities we form close connections with leaders who endeavor to strengthen the community. U3’s pioneered framing of “Live Local, Buy Local and Hire Local” as tools for institutions to invest in their communities is a prime example of our investment in stewarding diversity. U3 is internationally renowned as a thought leader in community engagement and investment by authoring articles, op eds, white papers, and research on anchor strategy, procurement policies, and housing practices.

U3 encourages our employees to own the responsibility as stewards in the public space to promote shared values, stand up for what is right when impactful decisions are made, and to leverage our knowledge to effect change for the betterment of all. As a company, U3 is continually honing our definition of what it means to have a racial equity focus and to invest in disadvantaged communities. As we educate our constituents on the built environment, real estate finance, professional pathways in our fields we are learning the impact of our work and deepening our lived practice of diversity and inclusion.