Exciting News: Daniels Fund Announces $5 Million Investment in UWSL

jerilyn-stoweby Jerilyn Stowe
VP of Marketing and Communications

Today, United Way of Salt Lake held its annual Funders Summit event, where our community’s foremost philanthropists and leaders came together to talk about how Collective Impact work is changing the odds for kids and families in our community. This year, we were excited to share a big announcement!

Daniels Fund announced a $5 million investment in Untied Way of Salt Lake to bolster support and expansion of community schools and Collective Impact work. Kristin Todd, Senior Vice President of Daniels Fund, took a few moments to speak about why Daniels Fund believes in the work that UWSL is doing.

IMG_8226“The more we have learned about United Way of Salt Lake’s intentional Collective Impact work at community schools, we have been increasingly impressed with the meaningful work they are doing to truly change lives and communities. We are thrilled to be part of this incredible effort and look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting even further engaged”.

IMG_8233-1This incredible investment from the Daniels Fund will have a major impact on the neighborhoods and schools where we work. Specifically, $5 million will help boost student outcomes by supporting academic programs and services at United Way of Salt Lake community schools and provide funding to expand programs and develop additional community schools.

IMG_8148We are grateful to Daniels Fund for its commitment to our community, for LIVING UNITED, and helping UWSL continue to do such important work in our neighborhoods and communities.



Following KeyBank’s Lead: 9 Ways Your Company Can Create a Successful UWSL Campaign!

temnickby Allison Temnick
Community Investment Advisor

When many employees think of United Way of Salt Lake, they think of t-shirts, chili cook-offs, and fun company events. It can be easy for the average employee to forget how much planning goes on behind the scenes of every successful campaign. To help companies be successful, United Way of Salt Lake has made a list of “best practices,” or steps that we have identified that result in great campaigns. This year, one company in particular – KeyBank – did an exceptional job of taking those suggestions and running with them. Here are just a few examples of how KeyBank incorporated “best practices” into this year’s campaign:

Jill Pam Comm Champion Award 1

  • Connect with your United Way of Salt Lake representative – KeyBank’s employee campaign manager, Pam Lechner, met with me more than a month before its campaign kicked-off. That gave us plenty of time to plan fun, engaging campaign activities for the employees.
  • Involve leadership – The District Manager of KeyBank, Jill Taylor, has been a United Way supporter for years. She spoke at the beginning of one of our employee kick-off presentations and shared why she is passionate about United Way of Salt Lake. A message from the top is always extremely helpful!
  • Recruit a planning committee – Pam identified a group of KeyBank employees who are passionate about LIVING UNITED so that they could help her with the planning process. This team shared ideas and resources in order to come up with creative campaign events, like the KeyBank employee carnival!
  • Schedule employee meetings – This year, United Way employees had the opportunity to present to nearly every KeyBank employee in the state. Managers from various locations made time for us to share stories about our work in the community and how we are changing the odds for kids and families.
  • Offer incentives – KeyBank leadership got on board with this idea, and offered to personally wash cars for the first two branches to get 100% participation in the United Way campaign. As you can imagine, those two branches filled out their pledge forms pretty quickly!
  • Encourage Neighborhood Center site visits – The KeyBank committee was invited to visit a United Way of Salt Lake Neighborhood Center, Central Park (the Police Athletic League Boxing Center in South Salt Lake). At this site visit, KeyBank employees got to meet some of the children, tour an incredible facility, and see the difference that we can make when we all LIVE UNITED!
  • Make a corporate contribution – Each year, KeyBank also gives a corporate gift to United Way of Salt Lake. Employees are motivated to give when they realize the company is “practicing what they preach” and setting a good example from a corporate level.
  • Have fun! In addition to everything else, the KeyBank committee planned and hosted a carnival for all KeyBank employees and their families. This fundraiser included a ring toss, face painting, and a cake walk – as well as food and other fun activities.
  • LIVE UNITED – In addition to all of these best practices, KeyBank has decided to involve United Way of Salt Lake in their annual spring volunteering event, Neighbors Make the Difference Day. Our volunteer team is already involved in the planning process for the May event. We can’t wait to see what the final result will be when over 100 KeyBank employees step out into the community to make a difference together!

Thank you, KeyBank, for being a great example of what it means to LIVE UNITED!

TvT and Keytoon Jill Elizabeth head to head Elizabeth and Jill and REFPhotos of KeyBank’s fun campaign events!

Harvard Business School Learns About Collective Impact from UWSL!

by Ann Lombard
Harvard Business School Research Associate

Professor Allen Grossman and I had the pleasure of visiting United Way of Salt Lake to observe Collective Impact in action. Our interest in this approach to community change stems from HBS’ U.S. Competitiveness Project, a multi-year, research-led effort to understand and improve the competitiveness of the United States.

Leaders from all parts of our society agree that a high-functioning public education system is critical for providing the needed workers for America’s future competitiveness. The particular focus of the project that brought us to UWSL, is the role the business community can play to improve public education.

Our research led us to three ways that the business community can most effectively partner with education leaders to bring about deep and lasting change in public education:

  • Laying the policy foundations for education
  • Scaling up proven innovations that boost student outcomes
  • Reinventing the local education ecosystem in cities and regions

As an approach to reinventing the local education ecosystem, we are particularly excited about the transformational potential of Collective Impact and visited Salt Lake City to learn more about the work going on there.

DSCN1586We were not disappointed! We saw the product of United Way of Salt Lake’s data-driven, aligned community Promise Partnerships. We learned how educators work with multiple stakeholders to identify student needs that fall outside of what a school traditionally provides, but that can impact students’ ability to learn – adequate dental and vision care, for example. We heard from multiple stakeholders about how these efforts are helping school leaders achieve their mission of improving outcomes for students.

While we can not capture in this short blog post all that we learned from our visit, we were most excited to observe, first-hand, Collective Impact work implemented so effectively. We left more confident than ever of Collective Impact’s potential for community change and deeply appreciated the essential role of United Way of Salt Lake as the backbone organization.

Thank you for your gracious hosting of our visit and for the work you are doing to change the lives of people in your community!


What Can a New Pair of Glasses Do?

by Jamie Ferdinand
Granite School District Head Nurse

United Way of Salt Lake works in community schools to align programs and resources so that kids and families have the tools they need to be successful. A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. This year, through UWSL’s Promise Partnerships, a vision clinic was held at several community schools, allowing students to both have their vision tested, as well as have their new glasses delivered to the school – which has never happened before.

PreschoolIn Roosevelt Elementary’s sixth grade classes, each student is expected to pass a math facts test. Students have an opportunity each week to take this test, and one student, Jonathan, had failed his test every week since the beginning of the school year.

Imagine taking the same test each week for two months and failing again and again! The day he received his reading glasses though, Jonathan passed – with a perfect score.

Jonathan had been struggling with his eye sight for a long time. But going through all of the steps to get glasses – from the doctor’s appointment, to finding the right glasses, to picking them up, to paying for them – are often insurmountable barriers to families whose parents work multiple jobs, don’t have vision insurance, or don’t have accessible transportation. There are kids walking around in all our Promise schools who simply cannot see.

Jonathan - Vision Clinic

Jonathan and his new glasses!

The academic repercussions of not being able to see in school are obvious. Over 20% of school-aged children in this country have problems seeing.[i] Low-income kids have it even harder: according to one study, “Title 1 students are two to three times more likely than non-Title 1 students to have undetected or untreated vision problems.”[ii] But, follow up medical eye care after a failed vision screening increases a student’s chances of succeeding in both math and English in school.[iii]

Schools have screened students for vision problems for a long time. But, until now, we didn’t have any place nearby to send those kids who needed glasses. This year, thanks to Promise Partner Utah Partners for Health’s (UPFH) new mobile vision clinic, we can get on-site vision appointments for the students who failed their screenings. Glasses are ordered and delivered directly to the schools for free, so there are no transportation, cost, or time barriers.

In Jonathan’s case, he was so excited to be able to go to the optometrist while at school that he skipped recess to go to the clinic. “Before I got my glasses,” he says, “I couldn’t see the board even though I sit close up. Now that I have them, I can see way better. When I didn’t have my glasses, I could never see things that my mom was showing me, but now I can see everything.  And things aren’t blurry anymore. I don’t have to go close up to the book to read it. The ground doesn’t go up and down anymore at recess either.”

Congratulations, Jonathan, and to all the other
Promise students who got glasses through UPFH’s mobile vision clinic!

[1] Ethan et al. (2010) “Implementing and Evaluating a School-Based Program to Improve Childhood Vision.” Journal of School Health, 80(7): 340-345. Basch, Charles (2011) “Vision and the Achievement Gap Among Urban Minority Youth.” Journal of School Health, 81(10): 593-598. Zaba, Joel (2011) “Children’s Vision Care in the 21st Century and its Impact on Education, Literacy, Social Issues and the Workplace: A Call to Action. Journal of Behavioral

Optometry, 22(2): 22-39.

[1] Johnson, R.A.; Blair, R.; Zaba, J. (2000). “The Visual Screening of Title 1 Reading Students.”

Journal of Behavioral Ophthalmology, 4 (1): 3-6. Quoted in Glewwe, P, et al, The Impact of Providing Vision Screening and Free Eyeglasses on Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Title 1 Elementary Schools, September 2014.

[1] Barbot, O., et. Al., “Is Failed Vision Screening A Risk Factor for Poor Academic Achievement?” ftp://ftp.successforall.org/Public/Vision/Barabot%20et%20al.pdf.

Hard Questions for GE Healthcare!

Megan Richardsby Megan Richards
Community Investment Advisor

When working with community-engaged companies like GE Healthcare, you are bound to meet some truly amazing individuals. I met two such individuals, Viraj Shah and Gene Buhler, through GE Healthcare’s Day of Caring project at Kearns High School.

Viraj Shah is a Project Manager for GE Healthcare. During Day of Caring, Viraj coordinated all the indoor projects that happened at Kearns High, from a morning assembly for over 400 students, to individual curricula for 20 classes throughout the day. Gene Buhler is the Human Resource Manager and he worked directly with students all day helping them explore physics concepts through catapult experiments.

I recently had a chance to talk to both Viraj and Gene about their experience during Day of Caring and their motivations for giving back.

Q: Why did you want to be a part of Day of Caring?

Viraj: Kearns currently has a 68 percent graduation rate (compared to 81 percent statewide), and GE wants to see a long-lasting impact. By working with the students in the classrooms and sharing about our education and career paths, we can help create a vision for these students and help them to see their future after high school and going on to higher education.   

Q: Do any particular stories from Day of Caring stand out in your memory?

I was helping students build catapults for a physics experiment. There was one particular girl who created one of the most successful catapults. She was very good at examining problems and trying new solutions. Every time it worked, her eyes would light up and she would get so excited. I got to see her “aha” moment. At the end of class she expressed her desire to learn more about engineering. That’s the thing about giving back – it gives more to you than you probably give. It’s a powerful thing.

Q: What words of encouragement would you give to others interested in getting involved in their communities?

Those who could not be involved in Day of Caring should consider visiting a community school to see what you can do on a smaller level.
GE Healthcare highlights the importance of encouraging girls to participate in science, math, and higher education. If we can encourage these girls early in their education, we can impact their futures.

If you did not have a chance to volunteer during Day of Caring or would like to get involved in classroom or holiday volunteer opportunities, please visit  http://www.uw.org/volunteer/ to learn more and sign up.

Thank you Viraj, Gene, and the entire GE Healthcare community for donating your time, resources, and voices to help change the odds for local youth!

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Power of Your Purse Ticket Winner Shares Her Experience!

IMG_0098by Casandra Singleton
Power of Your Purse Ticket Winner and Attendee

Power of your purse 2014, was indeed powerful! The night had excellent entertainment and speakers. It was inspirational getting to know more about Women’s Leadership Council and they work members do to improve educational opportunities for girls and young women.

It began with some Polynesian dancing from students at Cottonwood High School, a United Way of Salt Lake Neighborhood Center, which is always a favorite of mine and my family’s to watch.


Jane PauleyThe night also included the wonderful Jane Pauley, as the keynote speaker. Although she had many memorable quotes, two in particular stood out.

“Because of the difference this generation is making, Salt Lake will be a better place”. 

I believe I have heard that many times in my life, but at Power of Your Purse it really stood out to me. I was able to see the difference that women were making in our community first-hand, as well learning about what has helped several young high schools students succeed as they spoke about their struggles and triumphs.

One of the most powerful things that Jane Pauley said was:

 “Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to keep looking for it”.

Another speaker that night, Maryam Pedraza, recognized the teacher who made a difference in her life. While reflecting about the trials she had to overcome as a refugee student from Iran, she said, “let us remember one book, one pen, one teacher can change the world!” This one student has become a magnificent adult and leader, and encouraged everyone to get involved in changing the lives of girls and young women through education and mentoring.

I’m so glad I was able to attend this event! I did not know much about the difference Women’s Leadership Council is making right here in Salt Lake. The night was perfectly planned and very enjoyable!

Thank you, United Way of Salt Lake!

_MG_7621 IMG_7646For more event photos, CLICK HERE!



5 New Ways that the Afterschool Program is Expanding at Woodrow Wilson Elementary!

5O46neo1gEm1BAtABNcgFnaUmdccWYW1mCS4HKH9ND0,5Y_P4dgHcSNajuNxqKAttR8vAcc-2aeLceHX31aA5Ecby Lindsey Edwards
Woodrow Wilson Community School Director

Currently the afterschool program at Woodrow Wilson Elementary serves 100 of the 740 students. The afterschool curriculum is aligned with classroom instruction. We partner with the city of South Salt Lake, and other community-based organizations, to provide intentional, high-quality programming for all of the student-participants.

After careful consideration and thought-sharing between Principal Jadee Talbot and our partners, we will now be able to double the size of the afterschool program! It is only by aligning partnerships around school goals that this expansion is made possible. The expansion will include:

  • Mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters with Latinos in Action students
  • Grade-level teachers will tutor students who need additional support through Land Trust monies
  • Two bus routes/times in order to accommodate more students
  • A STEM program that focuses on science, technology, and math with students from Westminster College
  • A new Choir group

When asked to share his thoughts on the afterschool expansion, Principal Jadee Talbot said, “It is very impressive to see all of these different groups reaching out and trying to meet the needs of our students. The focus on academics is a critical role that the amazing efforts of all of these folks play.”


We are looking forward to changing the odds
for more kids in our school and community!