by Jerilyn Stowe
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
United Way of Salt Lake serves children and families in Davis, Salt Lake, Summit, and Tooele counties. This four-county area represents approximately 1.4 million people or about 52 percent of Utah’s population. Established in 1904, its original mission was to help the poor, discourage panhandling, and coordinate multiple programs. Today, the organization has transformed into an agent for social change focused on Collective Impact—bringing the community together to break down silos, set shared goals, work across sectors, and align programs and resources. In neighborhoods across the valley, the odds are stacked against kids and families, one in three children are living in poverty, two out of three are behind in math and reading, only half are graduating from high school, and very few go on college.
United Way of Salt Lake has made a promise to change these odds, so that all children and their families have the same chance to succeed in school and in life. To do this, the organization engages more than 33,000 donors, over 18,000 volunteers and advocates, and partners with over 70 nonprofits, cities, schools, and government agencies to work together in the neighborhoods with the most significant challenges.
For the past fifteen years, President and CEO, Deborah Bayle, has led a dedicated and passionate team that is 73 percent female. Women have leadership positions in almost every department of the organization and take on many roles. From working with business and community leaders to develop solutions to problems affecting our community, to working with lawmakers to develop public policies, women have many opportunities to cultivate their skills and abilities, and lead the way for community-wide change. These women, invested in and dedicated to United Way of Salt Lake, are changing the odds for kids and families in our communities.
In a state where female leaders are largely underrepresented, United Way’s mostly female staff has put United Way of Salt Lake on the map. The organization has been identified as one of the top 41 local United Ways, demonstrating results and impact, among the 1,800 United Way organizations around the world. United Way of Salt Lake has received national accolades for its work on early childhood education, community schools, and its ability to engage major donors as key partners in its work. With its smart, strategic, and talented women leading the charge, United Way of Salt Lake is building a stronger community today, and for years to come.
**This article appeared in Utah Business Magazine, August 2014**