Caradigm Helps Change the Odds for Kids at Lincoln Elementary!

timby Tim Harrison
Community Investment Advisor

Last week, Caradigm employees wrapped up a nationwide campaign to help local United Ways.  Our small but passionate group of Caradigm supporters (located in Draper, Utah) jumped at the opportunity to get its team engaged in the work.

Caradigm employees wanted to volunteer to help our Neighborhood Centers, but they have a busy schedule and many folks working hard on the phones, which makes it difficult to get away from the office. Rather than making that an easy excuse not to volunteer, they asked if we could bring the project to them.


We were able to find an opportunity that was perfect for them. Lincoln Elementary Community School needed hundreds of “science readers” to distribute and use with each student in its school. With such a focus on literacy and numeracy, it is difficult for teachers to fit science into their curriculum, especially when reading and math skills are low. These readers are catered to the student’s reading level, so they can excel in science without falling behind or getting frustrated by advanced vocabulary and syntax. And by receiving their own paper readers, the students are able to mark up their reading, which increases their ability to retain information.

We brought them over 11,000 sheets of paper, and in only a few days, we had hundreds of perfectly folded and stapled science readers ready to move the needle on science and reading scores at Lincoln Elementary. The Lincoln staff was thrilled to see the final product, which is evident from the thank you card below!

Caradigm Lincoln El TY Card

It was successful campaign full of volunteering and fun activities (popcorn and root beer floats!), we appreciate the enthusiasm and generosity Caradigm employees showed this month! Thank you for LIVING UNITED!

Get Involved with WLC and Mentoring!

by Jamie Schwarzenbach
Women’s Leadership Council Member

As trees begin to bud and the weather warms up, many of us are planning our summer vacations and waiting for the snow to melt. A few weeks ago, a group of Women’s Leadership Council members met to learn about some new volunteer activities that will kickoff this spring. With new opportunities to mentor at-risk kids, there are volunteer options that fit into everyone’s schedule.

The “Get Connected, Get Involved” networking and informational meeting opened with some heart-warming thank you letters from the students at Granite Park Junior High. Students expressed their gratitude for the college funding and financial literacy lessons that WLC volunteers have provided over the past several months. Most of the students don’t have any family members or friends that have been to college, so these presentations give students hope that a college degree is attainable for them. These presentations also give students the skills needed to navigate the process.

Jamie Schwarzenbach IWLC members were excited to learn about the Mentor 2.0 program, which is a mentoring opportunity that will serve 75 10th-grade students at Cottonwood High School. These students are primarily refugees or first-generation college students that came to Cottonwood High from Granite Park Junior High. The Mentor 2.0 program is a partnership between United Way of Salt Lake and Big Brothers Big Sisters and will connect busy executive level mentors to students electronically. The school has found that students are more open in an email setting than they are face-to-face. Mentors will help students with their weekly topic though email, and then meet in person once a month to solidify what they have learned. This is a great opportunity for those who want to get involved with a mentoring program, but need a more flexible schedule and time commitment (approximately 3-4 hours per month).

During the meeting, we also learned about a short-term commitment with a big impact. We learned that over 87 percent of students at Cottonwood High have failed at least one core class needed for graduation. Volunteers can help get students back on track by helping them complete credit recovery packets, which are offered as a final chance for students to get the math, science, and other core credits they need to graduate. Many of the students in the at-risk group do not have family resources to help them with the packets, so the volunteers can help give them the confidence and encouragement they need to work through the assignments and complete them on time. The 9th Grade Credit and Recovery program starts soon and will be ongoing throughout the summer. There is a flexible schedule with a variety of one-hour time slots each week. The goal of this program is to get 100 percent of at-risk students on track to graduate, and there are over 175 students that could use your help! Just one hour of your time will help a student graduate from high school.

So, while you are scheduling camps and summer vacations, schedule some time to reach out to WLC and learn more about how you can help make a lasting difference for kids in our community.

Paulette Cary IIFor more information about the Women’s Leadership Council, or to sign up to volunteer please contact Zenia Frendt, Leadership Giving Director of the Women’s Leadership Council, at or (801) 736-7708.

Building Bridges to Health Access

caroline_morenoby Caroline Goldman Moreno
Community Collaborations Director

With the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in the news, health care is a hot topic these days. Those who work in the field grapple with such large and systemic issues such as cost of care, health disparities, and data sharing and privacy. There are other movements in health care now as well, and a recent conference called Building Bridges, sponsored by the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare, aimed to highlight one of these hot topics: integrating communities into health care decisions.

In the keynote presentation, Suzanne Bakken of Columbia University, offered insightful strategies about community engagement in medical research and the importance of two-way communication. How can researchers engage with communities in a meaningful way for both parties? How should researchers and medical staff present their findings back to participating populations? Bakken focused on health literacy – or the lack thereof – in many of our communities, and how this lack of knowledge about health, health services, and health systems can often impede people from accessing much needed care. Working with the WICER (Washington Heights Informatics Infrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Research) Project at Columbia, Bakken gathered focus groups in Washington Heights, New York to test which visualizations of their health spoke to people and made them more likely to change their behaviors.

Think of it this way: you’re busy and you have information overload. In one email, you receive a 5-page letter describing how to live a healthier life. In a second email, you receive a color diagram of your personalized blood pressure reading and how your high blood pressure could be affecting your vision, your kidneys, or your chances of stroke or heart attack. Which grabs your attention? Which actually has a better chance of getting you to the doctor’s office?

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 10.31.52 AM

Health Literacy emerged again and again at our South Salt Lake Health Council committee meetings as well. The council, sponsored by Promise South Salt Lake, has three committees. Ours is working on increasing access to health care and health insurance for South Salt Lake residents.

As the folks at Columbia University demonstrated, better information can lead people to make the decision to go to the doctor and take better care of themselves.

Celebration of Service Honoree, Corporate Partner of the Year: Workers Compensation Fund

Chelsea Nelsonby Chelsea Nelson
Digital Marketing Director

This month on The Hub, we are excited to do a weekly feature on the honorees for the upcoming Celebration of Service event on Tuesday, May 20! This yearly event is when United Way of Salt Lake has the great privilege to honor outstanding individuals and organizations in our neighborhoods and communities. These people and organizations are truly making a difference, proving every day what it means to LIVE UNITED. We hope you will join us in celebration of their contributions at this fun and inspiring event (to RSVP and find out more info, click the link above).

This week, we are thrilled to announce our Corporate Partner of the Year: Workers Compensation Fund

Some organizations seem to stand out in the community. Not only do they provide great products or services, they are also actively involved in making Utah a better place to live. This award is United Way of Salt Lake’s highest tribute to a corporation that demonstrates strong community involvement through its support of United Way of Salt Lake.

Workers Compensation Fund continually goes above and beyond in its support of United Way of Salt Lake. The organization has embraced a year-round engagement strategy that includes: site visits, a successful workplace campaign, volunteer events, and recently, has been encouraging employees to participate in United Way’s advocacy efforts. Workers Compensation Fund made a significant investment in the Changing the Odds Campaign last year to help UWSL expand work in neighborhoods and schools. As a sponsor of both advertising and social media promotions, Workers Compensation Fund has also been vital in expanding United Way’s reach and visibility in the community. WCF employees, Greg Summerhays and Ray Pickup are heavily involved in our work both individually and with the organization. Greg and Ray both sit on the Board of Directors and provide a great example to other WCF employees, getting them involved with UWSL’s mission and goals. Additionally, WCF invests $75,000 annually as a cornerstone gift, which goes directly to the cost of doing business.


Because of its example and commitment to our community, United Way of Salt Lake is pleased to recognize Workers Compensation Fund as our 2014 Corporate Partner of the Year.

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Preschool and Real Time Advocacy – Get Involved!

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 12.40.38 PMMike Kirby
Business Development Manager, GENCOMM
United Way of Salt Lake Young Leader

Just a few weeks ago, HB96 (the Utah School Readiness Initiative) was signed into law by Governor Herbert, helping to give thousands of at-risk kids a better chance in school and life.

When I first heard about this bill at the United Way of Salt Lake Young Leaders Golf Tournament in August, it seemed to me like such a “no-brainer.” I had a hard time believing that this bill had failed to pass the previous year, and that there was even opposition to it.

Time passed and just like everyone, I got busy with life. I didn’t really think about the bill or what I had heard at the golf tournament again until I started getting e-mails about the upcoming session. I attended the United Way Legislative Breakfast and it was there that I heard more about the bill and how it would impact the lives of these children.

Since the golf tournament, I had become involved with the volunteer efforts at Guadalupe School downtown. I cannot say for sure the specific situations of any of these children, but most of them come from homes where the parents are either busy working multiple jobs, non-existent, or for some reason cannot be as involved with their children. These students are good, hard-working kids that want the same things as any other child. Life has already dealt them a tough hand, but I am confident that if we can instill the value of education into these children, we can make a long-term difference. Education is what will keep these kids out of gangs, away from drugs, and on a path where they are contributing members of our community. That is why I continue to volunteer!

Because of these experiences, hearing about the impacts of this bill really hit home for me. I decided I would dedicate any time I could to helping this bill get passed. I had never been involved in politics or any kind of advocacy before, so I had no idea what to expect.

The first day I spent at the Capitol was completely invigorating. The energy and excitement was awe-inspiring. To be honest, it was over-whelming at first. I was very nervous to “call-out” my representative or senator. Who was I to be interrupting such an important person? As I continued my efforts over the next several weeks, I realized that it’s really the other way around.

Our legislators at the Capitol are representing us; if we don’t seek them out, how will they know the best way to represent us? The more I got into the process the more I realized the impact of what goes on up at the Capitol each year. Decisions are being made that affect us all, but many of us (myself included) typically have no idea what is taking place; in turn, our representatives are making decisions with input from very few of us.


It was through this process that I learned the importance of being active and involved in local politics. There are a variety of ways to be involved whether it’s being a delegate, advocating on the hill, helping on campaigns, or simply engaging with your own representatives.

I learned two valuable lessons this year: the importance of being proactive to make sure my voice is heard and our local representatives are much more accessible than most of us realize. We all like to sit around the water-cooler and complain about “the government;” I challenge you to take it to the next level and stop complaining — get involved!

Get involved with United Way of Salt Lake and advocacy
filling out the survey below.


Opt-in to mobile communication about Advocacy, by texting OPTAVO to 50555!


mikeby Mike Watts
Community Investment Advisor

MHTN Architects is wrapping up a marvelous giving campaign! MHTN employees are applying what they do best — building — to make our community brighter. Not only do they love designing stunning structures, they also love building a better future for our community by changing the odds for all kids and families.

MHTN understands that as an integral part of the quality of life in our community, it is vital to be an active participant in making our community a better place to live. Whether it is through the funds raised during the workplace giving campaign, or participating in United Way Day of Caring, community service at all levels of MHTN is encouraged and promoted.

And, encouragement comes from the very top! At the campaign kickoff, Peggy McDonough, AIA, LEED AP President, expressed the importance of giving back to the community!

The closeout luncheon was a success with a full buffet and a beautiful car! Thanks to BMW of Murray for agreeing to bring a BMW 3 Series out to the event for the entire morning! We also give a special thank you to Robert Pinon and Kerrie Kounalis for overseeing the luncheon and campaign this year.

United Way of Salt Lake would like to extend a huge thank you to MHTN for helping change the odds for the kids and families in our community and LIVING UNITED!

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Staff Spotlight! New Hire – Lauren Hansen

By Lauren Hansen
Park City Community School Director

image (1)I have had the opportunity to work in many different school settings, both public and private, and working with children has always been a passion of mine. I have been working with high school students for the past six years, at the Oakley School, as the Guidance Counselor. The opportunity to work with younger students and families excites me!

Overall, I bring a unique background and experiences to United Way of Salt Lake. I have my Masters degree in Counseling and School Counseling, so I understand the clinical and academic issues that students are facing in our ever-changing world.

To me, LIVING UNITED means that we are all in this together. In order to make this world a better place for ourselves, our children, and future generations – we must all work together. We cannot stand by and watch children fall behind in our schools or miss out on opportunities to grow and learn. LIVING UNITED means that we are all part of the “village” that is raising the next generation. We owe it to them, and future generations, to provide opportunities for education to be successful adults.

I am so excited to be part of Promise Park City and work with the elementary schools and Promise Partners! I strongly believe in our mission and am thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic group of people! I am also excited to be part of the United Way of Salt Lake team and the opportunity to volunteer with local organizations. Overall, I just love what United Way stands for and the work that we do! Changing the Odds for children and future generations is amazing work and I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity!