Collective Impact on a National Level – StriveTogether!

Billby Bill Crim
CEO

In March, United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) became an official member of StriveTogether, a national collective impact initiative which now includes 63 community partnerships from 32 states and Washington, D.C — all working to connect cross-sector leaders to improve education outcome for kids. This connects UWSL to more than 9,450 organizations to impact more than 5.9 million students as a member of this StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network.

As part of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, UWSL has access to resources and tools designed to help communities implement StriveTogether’s nationally recognized cradle to career collective impact approach, known as the Theory of Action. UWSL now also has a connection with communities across the country to share knowledge and learn from successes, failures, and insights as each community works to align resources around improving education outcomes.

“Across the country, Network members are improving student-level outcomes through StriveTogether’s collective impact method,” StriveTogether Managing Director Jeff Edmondson said. “Each of these communities, and the Network as a whole, are committed to putting the child at the center of their work. We are excited to welcome United Way of Salt Lake’s Promise Partnership to the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network.”

STRIVE NetworkTo join the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network, UWSL met a set of quality benchmarks that indicate it has engaged a cross-sector group around a common education vision. UWSL also demonstrated its ability to support the creation of a sustainable infrastructure to drive change, and committed to being accountable for improving an identified set of academic outcomes.

Why am I Invested in United Way of Salt Lake?

SeanSlatter 5195 BWby Sean Slatter
CEO, Logistic Specialties, Inc (LSI)
Executive Committee and Davis County Chair
United Way of Salt Lake Board of Directors,
Guest Blogger

 

My involvement with United Way stems back more than 20 years, when LSI was looking for a way to better support the community—to build something to tie the company to the community. A small team was tasked with identifying opportunities and proposing recommendations. Reflecting back, it’s not a coincidence that United Way was presented as the best option for building a partnership in community giving.

Our first corporate campaign was nothing short of a success, with 100 percent participation and the highest per capita giving to United Way in Davis County. When these results were replicated the following year, I found myself on the receiving end of an eager invitation to join the United Way board!

LSI stamp copyWhat has drawn me to United Way, and what keeps this partnership energizing decades later, can be summed up in a word—innovation. United Way of Salt Lake has been at the forefront of efforts to address systemic social issues in our community in a more fundamental and effective away, and to execute best practices with better-leveraged resources to truly change the odds.

The essence of United Way is improving individual lives and building stronger communities. I’m honored to serve, and I look forward to what we can collectively accomplish over the next 20 years!

Volunteers, Here’s When to Call it Quits and Try Something New!

stephanie-rokichby Stephanie Rokich
Community Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

This is the fourth post in the Community Volunteer Engagement Blog SeriesIn this series, we’ve talked about why people choose to volunteer, how to begin volunteering, and one volunteer’s impact story.

Although most volunteering is rewarding, some volunteers find themselves not enjoying the work they are doing. If you’ve ever felt this way, here are some tips on when to call it quits and how to move on to a better experience.

MentoringAs discussed in the second post in this series, you may volunteer for a host of reasons: you’re looking for a way to work on a cause you care about, you’re hoping to network with people with similar values and form new relationships, you want to get involved in a fun opportunity, or you want to share a special skill.

If you find yourself in a volunteer position that does NOT fulfill your main motivation for volunteering, ask yourself if that is contributing to your dissatisfaction. If it is, consider speaking with the volunteer manager at the agency where you are volunteering. Explain that while you find the volunteer position you have been doing valuable, you aren’t having your needs as a volunteer met. If you want to continue working with this particular agency, let the person know that you would like to try out a different opportunity. Remind them of your hope for a new position (aka your motivation), and ask what else is available.

Your dissatisfaction may have other causes as well. Perhaps the volunteer position isn’t the trouble, but something else is not working. It might be your schedule doesn’t match well with the position, you don’t feel supported as a volunteer, or you’re just not enjoying it. These are all great reasons to call it quits and try something else out. And remember, the volunteer manager wants you to be happy! Sticking with a position that makes you unhappy is bad for everyone involved: you, the agency, and ultimately the mission of the agency.

IMG_6681If you decide that the agency is not a good fit for you. In that case, consider finding an agency with a similar mission. Check out the Utah Nonprofits Association for a list of agencies by type, and find one with a similar cause. Or, try something new! There are hundreds of agencies with all kinds of structures and volunteer programs. If you feel like you’ve give your current position a shot, talked to the volunteer manager to work it out, and still aren’t getting anywhere, call it quits! There’s another opportunity just around the corner!

Ready to find a different volunteer opportunity? Check out uw.org/volunteer and search more than 350 opportunities with hundreds of agencies!

Stay tuned for next month’s Community Volunteer Engagement post especially for youth volunteers!

Roosevelt Dr Seuss Readers II

Space Monsters, Spiders, and Selflessness

IMG_3933David Bean
TD Williamson, Technical Director of Data Architecture 
Guest Blogger

When I was 15, my dad took me to see Alien, the movie. It was a milestone for me for two reasons.  One, it was my first R rated movie, and two, it instilled in me a fear of space monsters that still exists today. While I generally don’t run into acid-for-blood aliens, I do occasionally encounter spiders, my other deep-seated fear.

Upon being surprised by an arachnid, I approach coronary failure, but this is nothing compared to what happens to a coworker, who we’ll call Stacie. Stacie experiences apoplectic panic. She becomes completely unhinged…for hours. If ‘freak out’ becomes a clinical description, she’ll own it. The only thing she can do is go home to calm down. Her day is over.

Some time last year, one of our coworkers sent an email around that included a picture of pure 8-legged villainy. When I opened it, my eyes got big, I couldn’t talk, my pulse rate went through the roof, but neither my heart nor brain exploded. I collected myself, and then I thought about Stacie. She was on the distribution list! I sprinted down the hallway to her office, barged in and yelled, “Back away from the computer right NOW!” Squinting at me as you might any deranged co-worker, she cautiously rolled her chair away from her desk. Disaster averted. “Stacie, there’s an email in your inbox you really don’t want to see. Delete it now. Do not open it.” Her eyes softened with understanding. Stacie was grateful, and I felt downright chivalrous.

What does any of this have to do with the United Way of Salt Lake?

Well, I’m the chair of TDW’s United Way campaign this year, and my experience with Stacie reminds me what our co-workers do when they contribute – they think about someone else. I was proud of my selflessness after the Infamous Spider Email Incident of 2014, but in talking to coworkers about their United Way contributions, I realized that I’m a small fish in a big pond. Take this comment from one of our people:

I lived overseas for 17 years in Africa and India. I’ve seen the worst of poverty and was unable to help everyone there so I helped no one. As an ex-hippie with a Christian heart, I feel a duty to help my fellow community members. I have more than enough, it is only right to give a little back. It makes for good karma and United Way of Salt Lake spreads it around.

I’ve always liked this guy, perhaps because he’d sell me his season tickets to Utah football games, but now I want to grow up to be just like him. He even signed this note back to me with “Peace & Love.” Groovy, man.

TD Williamson

Here’s another one that resonated:

For me, I love United Way’s effort toward helping children. As a mother, I want to make sure my child has a proper education, doesn’t go hungry, and has every opportunity to be their best. I know there are children who don’t have access to the same opportunities. It tugs on your heart strings to think of a child in your own community who might go hungry, be worried about shelter, isn’t supported in their education, etc.

It would be natural for a mother to focus entirely on her own children, but this one spreads her love and support well beyond her family.

There are many more comments like these, and they’ve taught me that selflessness is a way of life at TDW. It begins with the TDWilliamson family who owns the company (and matches our contributions dollar-for-dollar), and it extends to the generosity of its most unassuming employees.

I’d like to say I emulate that behavior, but the best I could come up with was rescuing Stacie from a picture of a spider.**

*It’s still a bastion of pure vile and evilness, and I’m still a hero for saving her. At least in my own mind.

 

STOEL RIVES — Lip Syncing for a Cause!

Kelsey Koziarby Kelsey Koziar
Business Development Coordinator, STOEL RIVES, LLP
Guest Blogger

This year, for the STOEL RIVES LLP workplace giving campaign, we kept it pretty simple – but we knew that wouldn’t stop folks from wanting to get involved and give to United Way of Salt Lake, in fact, some went all out!

The highlight of the week was the very funny STOEL RIVES Lip Sync Battle!

Six of our attorneys agreed to participate, and the top three that raised the most money got to perform the song of their choice! The winning performance was by Justin Flanagan, with an eye-catching rendition of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. All for a good cause, right? The rest of the week included raffle items that were donated by various staff members. The STOEL RIVES staff was really excited to have a little fun while giving back to our community.

Photo Jun 25, 2 58 45 PMIt was great to spend the week raising money and awareness about United Way of Salt Lake, and the work they are doing in Community Schools and Neighborhood Centers, to truly change the odds for kids and families in our community. The employees at STOEL RIVES understand that building a strong community is vital to the success of everyone and we are happy to give back – even if it means singing to Miley Cyrus!

Photo Jun 25, 3 03 48 PM

UWSL Receives National Award for Excellence — Community Schools Initiative

5o46neo1gem1batabncgfnaumdccwyw1mcs4hkh9nd0-5y_p4dghcsnajunxqkattr8vacc-2aelcehx31aa5ecby Lindsey Edwards
Senior Director of Community School Partnerships

United Way of Salt Lake received the National Award for Excellence-Community Schools Initiative from the Coalition for Community Schools on June 10, 2015.

Recipients of this award demonstrate that community ownership and joint school and community action can bolster student academic achievement, improve outcomes for families, and unite neighborhoods. Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools and President of the Institute for Educational Leadership said, “The community school movement continues to grow because folks are looking at their communities and realizing that the only way to get young people the opportunities they deserve is through partnership with the community. These winners represent the best of what can be done with teamwork and ingenuity.

Community Schools QuoteIt was such an honor to receive this award, and to be able to travel to Washington D.C. to accept it on behalf of UWSL! This recognition is a testament to all of the hard work and collaboration among school districts, community-based organizations, civic leaders, and volunteers that make community schools successful.

I was accompanied to D.C. by Lauren Birge, Community School Director at Kearns Junior High, and by Kandace Barber, principal of Kearns Junior High. In addition to receiving the award, we also had the opportunity to meet with a few of our local, elected officials in order to advocate for the importance of sustained support for community school work. Further, we were able to share our work with other organizations across the country that are practicing the community school model in their neighborhoods, and to learn from them as well. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that is committed to aligning and leveraging community resources to change the odds for students and their families.

Communtiy Schools AwardThank you to all of our partners, volunteers, teachers, and community leaders who work so tirelessly to improve outcomes for our neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved in supporting advocacy efforts.

Community Schools Award

Corporate Social Responsibility – Why it Matters

amy-bosworthby Amy Bosworth
Corporate Relations Director

Recently, I met with an executive of a company to discuss ways to engage its employees in the work of United Way of Salt Lake. After explaining our Collective Impact model and some of the impressive accomplishments that have occurred because of working this way, the executive turned to me and asked, “Why should I care and what do you REALLY want from us?” It was an interesting question, and one that gave me pause.

There are many responses to that question that immediately came to mind; ‘because system-wide change doesn’t happen alone; because a vibrant education experience for children leads to a vibrant, qualified workforce later; because we can address the root of issues now or work through corrections later;’ and the list goes on.

Why business leaders should care:

With all of the very strong and worthy reasons detailed above aside, what this executive needed to hear was that his company would be changed for the better by aligning with United Way of Salt Lake and by utilizing our services to create a Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR program). There are certain truths around CSR programs that business leaders should consider as an incentive to positively enhancing a company or corporation. These truths include:

  • Attracting the right people to work for you: Recruiting top-performing employees and keeping them happy is a priority of all thriving corporations.  Charitable giving improves employee engagement by boosting productivity, ethical behavior, gratitude to the organization, and pride in their work.
  • Helping people feel good while working at the same time: With employees more engaged in their work and more pleased with the corporate culture, their morale will naturally be higher.  This leads to less time and productivity lost to “illness”, tardiness, or extended breaks and lunches, as well as lower turnover rates.
  • Meaning it when you use the word “team”: This generally positive attitude in the workplace extends beyond just the rank-and-file employees. When a corporate giving program brings together people from all levels of the organization – from the C-level to the mail room – everyone feels like they are working together toward a common goal. This feeling of effective teamwork will extend beyond the CSR program to positively influence other aspects of their work.

*Reference: Frontstream Blog: http://www.frontstream.com/why-charitable-giving-is-important-to-businesses/

As for what we, United Way of Salt Lake, REALLY want?

Well, the answer to that question is complex and requires businesses, nonprofits, government organizations, school districts, religious affiliations, community stakeholders and caring individuals to join us!

We want to fulfill our promise, that every child and family, regardless of their circumstances, has the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life. We invite companies and corporations to join us as we work to change the odds for kids and families in our most at-risk neighborhoods. Simply put, we can’t do it alone.

To learn how to align your business to create a more energized and committed workforce, contact Amy Bosworth, amyb@uw.org.

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