White House Hosts Pay for Success Summit in Salt Lake City

chris-ellisby Chris Ellis
Director of Early Learning

Last week, the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in partnership with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Nonprofit Finance Fund, hosted a Pay for Success Summit in Salt Lake City for the Western region of the United States. This Summit was intended to highlight and advance regional activity and build long-term Pay for Success infrastructure to catalyze the development of future projects.

Salt Lake City was a fitting location for this Summit, as it is the home of the first Pay for Success deal in the world to support early childhood education. United Way of Salt Lake worked closely with numerous organizations to implement this project, including, Granite School District’s Preschool Program, Park City School District, Salt Lake County, Voices for Utah Children, Utah State University, Goldman Sachs, and J.B. Pritzker. Now in its second year, the Utah High-quality Preschool Program has provided access to high quality preschool to nearly 1,000 low-income children in Utah. Participants at the Summit were able to learn more about this particular deal and discuss other projects that are being considered to support outcomes for children and families in other communities. Throughout the day, organizations announced funding opportunities for participants to increase their knowledge about Pay for Success and their capacity to utilize this innovative strategy.

Photo c/o @NFFSocialImpact

Photo c/o @NFFSocialImpact

As an attendee, I was able to network with other individuals from around the country who are pursuing Pay for Success as a funding strategy to support social services in their communities and learn more about the developments in this field. Attendees were either implementing or considering deals to support programs that are working to lower rates of recidivism, reduce homelessness, improve public health, and expand access to early childhood education. It is exciting to see the enthusiasm and interest around this approach, as it can be a valuable component of a strategy to achieve community level results in communities throughout the country.

I look forward to seeing the impact that Pay for Success can have on addressing the needs in our respective communities. The Utah High-quality Preschool Program has clearly helped local children, and Pay for Success can surely be used to improve outcomes for children and families around the country.

Photo c/o @Rep. Greg Hughes

Photo c/o @Rep. Greg Hughes

What is the Difference Between Collaboration and Collective Impact?

LoriBays-HHSA-4x5by Lori Bays
Human Services Department Director, Salt Lake County
Guest Blogger

On January 8th, United Way and Salt Lake County jointly sponsored an event presented by StriveTogether, whom I call the gurus of Collective Impact. The event focused on the continuous improvement model and its application within Collaborative Action Networks. Participants included United Way of Salt Lake and County staff, as well as school district personnel.

What began with a very general overview of the difference between collaboration and Collective Impact, quickly became a very in-depth lesson in continuous improvement conditions and methodologies which definitely caused us to stretch our thinking and reminded us of how critical it is to remain hyper-focused on outcomes.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 4.05.37 PMIn fact, that was one of the biggest take-a-ways from the day, from my perspective…FOCUS! Focus on the major priorities and keep moving forward. Don’t get distracted by the “squirrels” (think of the dog in the movie “Up”); there are no silver bullets.

We learned the importance of following the methodology and gained a new (at least to me) tool, the A-3. It also reiterated the importance of staying on track, sticking with the steps, and asking the right questions to get to the answer you need.

The A-3 was also used to remind us of the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study Act) tool, which is simple enough to use in any setting. In fact, it is even used in schools to help students achieve their academic and personal goals.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 4.49.04 PM

Our afternoon was spent doing a deep-dive into each of our fields using the A-3 and let me tell you, it was harder than I thought it would be. Our team stuck with it, though, and we were able to use it effectively to think through our outcome. At the end of the day, we had a plan in place and had learned a technique that will be useful for years to come. A huge thank you to United Way of Salt Lake and StriveTogether for this great event!


Questar Supercharges Giving and Engagement!

Tim Harrisonby Tim Harrison
Senior Community Investment Advisor

On January 14, our partners from Questar invited us to their office for their annual giant-check delivery. When they unveiled the amount, we were floored! Yet again, the company blew its previous records out of the water. The “supercharged” total, including the corporate match, was $1,180,000.00. But more than that, Questar saw phenomenal participation.

  • 1,367 employees contributed online, significantly reducing the number of hardcopy forms and administrative time needed
  • More than one third of contributing employees increased their donations from last year
  • More than 100 employees contributed for the first time!

This figure represents so much hard work and generosity from everyone at Questar. Many, many thanks to everyone there for all they do for our community! Thank you for LIVING UNITED!

Questar Check

Leading from the Top – Deluxe Corporation Makes Giving Easy!

Dennis Huynhby Dennis Huynh
Community Investment Advisor

I could list at least a dozen different practices that can positively affect an organization’s employee giving campaign, but none of those ideas would work if there wasn’t strong support from the top! Deluxe Corporation puts this into practice.

For almost the entire month of October, Deluxe was focused on encouraging its employees to give back. Deluxe held several different activities in order to create awareness about United Way of Salt Lake. It all started with a breakfast that was prepared by the management team, and continued throughout the month with lunches, a cake walk, a bake sale, bingo, toy car races, a raffle drawing, and even a donation drive. Despite busy schedules, Deluxe held nothing back during its campaign.

Such a successful campaign was possible because Deluxe had amazing support from the top. I asked Randy Finley, Director of Manufacturing Operations for the Salt Lake City Facility, why he feels such a strong need to support United Way of Salt Lake. Here is what he had to say:

Deluxe Corp“I appreciate the incredible efficiency of our United Way of Salt Lake organization. Its purpose and message helps so many in our community though its timely and focused approach. From crisis intervention to education programs for at-risk youth, the United Way makes a huge difference and Deluxe is proud to be a part of its success.”

The campaign would also not have been possible without the help of a fantastic employee campaign manager in Robert Ruiz. On top of his regular tasks as a Lean Engineer, Robert generously took the time to sit and plan the details of the entire campaign with myself and his committee, and he made sure the those plans were executed flawlessly. I asked Robert to share his thoughts on United Way of Salt Lake:

It has been great to partner with United Way of Salt Lake to provide opportunities for our employees to give back to the local community. We appreciate being presented with a variety of ways to not only help those in need but to learn and grow in the process. This partnership benefits our employees as much as those who are served.

Thank you Randy and Robert for your shining example, and big thanks to everyone at Deluxe Corporation for your generosity, and for showing us how to LIVE UNITED!

2015 Legislative Priorities that All Utahns Need to Know!

Chelsea Nelsonby Chelsea Nelson
Digital Marketing Director

Yesterday, United Way of Salt Lake held its annual Legislative Preview Breakfast with over 400 people in attendance. UWSL presented its public policy agenda for the upcoming session and offered community and business leaders, nonprofit organizations and others, the opportunity to engage in a panel discussion with legislative leaders about issues facing all Utahns.

Panelists included Speaker Greg Hughes, House Minority Leader Brian King, Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, and Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis.

UWSL’s 2015 Legislative Priorities:

Education: Community Schools

A Community School creates the capacity and focus on facilitating the effective collaboration necessary to ensure all children are successful, particularly in schools that are highly impacted by poverty. Watch the video below to find out more about Community Schools!

Community Schools Video

Basic Needs: 2-1-1 Information and Referral

Another top priority of United Way is to ensure continued funding for the crucial 2-1-1 service by building upon the existing public-private partnership funding structure that includes funds from the state and continued private funding through United Way. The funding will ensure this free, statewide service can continue to provide quality, up-to-date information to Utahns in need and those seeking opportunities to volunteer.

United Way 2-1-1
Health: Healthy Utah Medicaid Expansion Plan

United Way of Salt is also supporting Healthy Utah, the Governor’s unique Medicaid expansion plan. Healthy Utah will create affordable private market-based options for working individuals and families, ensure vulnerable Utahns have access to health coverage, and bring Utahns’ tax dollars back to the state. Additionally, the plan will ensure the health and financial security of thousands of Utah families in need.

Healthy Utah
Please visit uw.org/advocate to sign up for communications that will keep you up-to-date during the legislative session. You can also join the conversation on Twitter, @uwsl, with hashtags #utleg and #utpol.

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American Express Brings “Uncontrollable Excitement” to Granger Elementary!

Dennis Huynhby Dennis Huynh
Community Investment Advisor

As 130 students in the Granger Elementary afterschool program finished up their activities, they headed into the cafeteria to wrap up the evening. What was a quiet room just moments prior, started buzzing with uncontrollable excitement. When the students entered the cafeteria, they could see mounds of gifts awaiting them……….DSC_0511

On December 16, a group of 19 volunteers from American Express went to Granger Elementary to help students in the afterschool program learn how different cultures celebrate the holiday season. The volunteers rotated with the children between three groups where they decorated cookies, created beaded necklaces, and learned about Chanukah by playing the dreidel game.

DSC_0429At Granger Elementary Community School, a United Way of Salt Lake Neighborhood Center, 81 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The holiday season is especially rough for the kids and their families. Some of these students, when asked what they wanted for Christmas, replied with socks, pillows, blankets, and other clothing. Not the usual toys and games that you would see being requested by elementary students. One student even asked for shoes and a blanket for his parents.

DSC_0469These volunteers took time out of their busy days to help these students learn about different holiday traditions and had a lot of fun doing so. And, they saved the best for last. American Express had generously purchased gifts for all of the students! The amount of joy on the students’ faces was immeasurable. Thank you so much American Express for being such a bright light during the holidays and for showing everyone how to LIVE UNITED.

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You Can Change Your World in One Minute

by Derek Loutenstock
Young Leaders Member

Legislators are actually real people. No, seriously they are. This was an exciting discovery for me. Thanks to my involvement in United Way of Salt Lake’s advocacy efforts, I learned that I’m represented by a state representative and state senator who aren’t just names in the newspaper or pictures on TV, but who have families, jobs, and worries just like me.

And the best part about them being real people?

Since I’m a real person, too, I can influence how they represent me.

United Way makes it easy to influence these real people on issues and concerns critical to our society – critical to me. While you may hear “advocacy” and think of Mother Teresa or Pamela Atkinson, advocacy can be as simple and easy as taking one minute – seriously, one minute – to contact the people who were elected to represent you. In one minute, you can make a difference that can impact your neighborhood, city, state, and your country. Even the world. (Please pause for a moment and open your mouth in exasperation as you consider “the world.”)

How does United Way make this easy?

It use social media (where you spend all of your time anyway, right?) to alert you to advocacy opportunities and its website to help you follow through on those opportunities.

How do you sign up for these alerts?

Go to United Way of Salt Lake’s website at www.uw.org/advocate/, complete the “Advocate Now” information at the bottom of the page, and click “Submit.” It takes less time than the one minute it takes to change the world. And these are alerts that really matter. Or, at least they matter more than the tweets and posts from that friend of yours who’s kind enough to alert you every time he goes outside. Now you’ll have an excuse to defriend him – because you’re too busy changing the world!

But does it really make a difference?

Yes. There is no qualifying small print. Just Y-E-S. Last year, thanks to the advocacy efforts of citizens just like you, a bill passed through the state legislature for high-quality preschool through a cutting-edge private/public partnership program (watch a video to learn more!). This happened because of the one-minute world changes made by people like you.

After a couple of one-minute world changes, you may start to feel the power of advocacy; the power of speaking up on behalf of yourself and others. You may desire to do more, and make even bigger waves. United Way helps out here, too. During the state legislative session, United Way of Salt Lake plans trips to the State Capitol where you can send messages to, and even meet with, your state legislator or senator. Or you can attend committee hearings and watch in awe at the beautiful artwork. United Way uses the same alert methods to let you know about these opportunities, too. All you have to do is sign up.

I invite you to change the world. Sign up for alerts at www.uw.org/advocate/.

YL Chairs

Derek (second in from the right) and the Young Leaders Steering Council