Helping ensure kids are ready for school and reading proficiently by third grade. Helping Quad Citizens build financial stability. Helping individuals gain access to mental health care. This is the essential work outlined in the Community Impact Plan.
United Way has a variety of strategies to achieve the goals outlined in the Community Impact Plan including funding partners who support the strategies, using donors’ dollars to support work they are passionate about, and internal programs.
United Way has internal programs such as Born Learning, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
These internal programs and partnerships are facilitated by United Way in order to take bold steps to improve the Quad Cities. United Way has the ability to convene many organizations around a common cause, as well as bring many together to collaborate to find new solutions to old problems.
Typically, internal programs are researched and developed by staff along with volunteers, and presented to the appropriate committee for review and input. From time to time, opportunities are presented to us, such as the recent work in assessing the community’s mental health services. Each program is evaluated to determine if United Way is the best organization to do the work, to ensure we are not duplicating services. Ultimately, all programs are approved by the Board of Directors. Internal programs are not new, United Way has been engaging in internal programming for more than 12 years.
The main internal programs and partnerships United Way facilitates include:
- VITA is a partnership with several companies and organizations to provide free tax preparation to 6,000 individuals.
- A partnership with the two hospital systems, Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, and Quad City Health Initiative is focused on assessing the local mental health services and developing a plan to enhance effectiveness.
- Corporate Volunteer Engagement programs include Vello online tutoring, Reading for Tomorrow, and Day of Caring, providing volunteer opportunities aligned with United Way’s work.
In addition, United Way’s affinity groups, Women United and Young Leaders United, support internal initiatives.
- Women United is finishing up a $2.2 million 5-year campaign for Born Learning. This initiative is focused on ensuring kids enter school ready to learn, and promotes the fact that a child’s first and best teacher is a parent. Born Learning includes: Born Learning Academies, Born Learning Trails, hygiene kits, text campaign, calendars, and awareness program.
- Young Leaders United has just launched the Grow Learning initiative with the goal to raise $150,000 by 2020. The Grow Learning initiative will work to ensure our youngest students are reading proficiently by third grade. Grow Learning includes: Pen Pal Project, Vello online tutoring, classroom engagement, school supply drives, Take Action Day, summer literacy kits, and teacher and school appreciation.
In conclusion, all United Way work has strong partnerships with the support of hundreds of volunteers. If United Way is to be successful in its role to help solve our community’s most critical problems, a variety of strategies will be required including funding outstanding work in partner organizations, raising dollars through grants and donations, and creating internal programs as appropriate.