For most of its history, United Way worked to improve lives by mobilizing the financial resources of businesses, individuals and foundations in support of direct service programs – the foundation of our work, now and into the future. However, despite the money raised and all of the services provided, many problems in our community continued and some even grew worse.
While our community had, for example, providing high-quality child care that improved thousands of children's lives, we didn't know what percentage of our children were ready to succeed in kindergarten. While we provided programs to help youth build character and skills, a large percentage of them were not graduating from high school. While many adults received job training, too many did not attain and retain jobs.
To address these larger, systematic issues, United Way saw a need to deal with the conditions that created them in the first place. Doing so called for a change in how United Way does its work; a change that requires focusing collective action on establishing goals, identifying strategies and measurements and mobilizing the resources- people and financial – to find and deliver solutions to the problems keeping our community from being even stronger.