Corporate Spotlight: Enterprise Smashes Records

McCall Pitcherby McCall Pitcher
Community Investment Advisor

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Giving Campaign has officially wrapped up! They didn’t mess around this year. Let’s talk numbers:

  • Enterprise employees across Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon invested over $130,000 in their local communities this year. They raised well over $100,000 in Salt Lake alone.
  • Enterprise’s corporate match is coming in at a whopping $70,000!
  • Participation also increased dramatically, with 100 additional donors joining the ranks this year!

I could throw numbers around all day: Employees gave $20,000 more than they did last year … Enterprise managers raised over $50,000 in one day … But these outstanding figures, as mind-boggling and impressive as they are, don’t fully capture the heart and dedication of this company.

A central aspect of Enterprise’s overall mission is “to serve our communities as a committed corporate citizen.” I can say without hesitation that Salt Lake is a better community for having Enterprise as its corporate citizen. Here’s why:

Enterprise gives. And boy, do they make it fun. Employees who gave at their suggested level enjoy float days, LIVE UNITED t-shirt days, hiking and skiing trips, prize drawings, and much more. United Way of Salt Lake presented at all kinds of locations –from the Zermatt Resort to Boondocks Food & Fun! Employees and corporate together, they gave nearly $200,000 this year.

Enterprise volunteers. Enterprise spent hours on Day of Caring making Oquirrh Hills Elementary School’s grounds look clean and beautiful. They read and study with at-risk children at Guadalupe School every single month, and I often see Enterprise employees volunteering on their own time.

Enterprise LIVES UNITED. Yes, their giving campaign was a success. Yes, they completely smashed records. But it is their team’s continued resolve to serve the community wholeheartedly – as both a company and a group of individuals – that inspires me most. Thanks Enterprise!


Women Empowered Blog Series: Tomorrow’s Leaders!

zenia-frendtby Zenia Frendt
Leadership Giving Director, Women’s Leadership Council

“If someone were to come to me and insist that we don’t have a ‘woman leadership’ problem in this state, my response would be, ‘Shadow me.’ There are many times in my workweek when I am the only woman in the room. Oftentimes, I’m not even looked in the eye until we are all sitting around the table and I have the chance to prove myself. It would sure help if I had a few other women in that room with me.” — Dr. Elizabeth Hitch, Associate Commissioner for Academic Affairs, Utah State Office of Higher Education (USHE)

How do we turn today’s girls and young women into tomorrow’s leaders? What is the correlation between leadership roles and education? WHY is it important that our female youth be preparing to lead in the future?

A panel of some of Utah’s top women leaders painted a very clear picture on these issues at the Collective Impact in Education Summit last week. The panel, Educational and Leadership Achievement for Women, was comprised of Dr. Susan Madsen, Professor at UVU and founder of the Utah Women and Education Project; Dr. Elizabeth Hitch, USHE, and Dr. Nancy Basinger, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters Utah (BBBSU). Listening to these three experts go into the realities facing Utah women today, as well as the solutions, was certainly eye-opening.

LS Rama Denadji BS Andrea Cox- yes

The current reality for women in Utah is this:

  • Utah has the LARGEST gender gap for college graduation in the country
  • Women earn 70 cents for every dollar men earn—less than the 77 cent national average
  • 74% of women with school-aged children work
  • Utah has a higher divorce rate than the national average
  • Nearly ONE THIRD of female-headed households live in poverty

The fact is, Utah needs more women leaders, and all three of these panelists will tell you that building tomorrow’s leaders begins with educating our girls TODAY. Dr. Susan Madsen points out that “leadership” doesn’t necessarily need to be leadership in the corporate sense–although, certainly, corporations with more women in leadership roles and on boards attain better financial results than other organizations. Leadership, however, can take many forms. A woman can lead, for example, on community issues, in church, in our government, or for a cause she believes in. Whatever type of leadership a woman chooses, one thing is clear: there is a direct link between women developing their leadership skills and women going to—and graduating from—college. In Utah, this is a problem.

There are many barriers preventing girls and young women from obtaining a post-secondary degree. Financial concerns are number one, and yet all of the data points to the fact that in our state, scholarships and financial aid are drastically underutilized. The other major barrier is more subtle, and may be more specific to Utah girls.

We seem to have a barrier with “readiness.” Many young women believe that they will get their education at some point in the future, but the time never comes. Some say that they were always encouraged to attend college, but never aspired to graduate. Some have almost finished, but quit to marry or have children–many women feel disempowered to finish school once they decide to start a family because, as Dr. Madsen says, “we haven’t explained well enough that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. There are night classes, there are options.” Family, she says, is important. Education, however, is critical as well, and women in Utah really need to start understanding that you CAN have both, and do not need to be trapped in a role.

Given the above statistics, especially around divorce and poverty, we do not have the luxury of giving up on our education. In the words of Dr. Hitch, “’This will be good enough for me’ is NOT an insurance plan!” Research has indicated time and again that when women do better, we all do better. We must have more women leading, and not only for our own sakes, but for our families, our community, and our government.

So, what are some of the best ways to address this? What can I do, as one person, to work towards a solution? Dr. Nancy Basinger explains that there are so many amazing women in our state, but that oftentimes they just don’t know what is available to them. This is something that we all can help with—whether it be through mentoring, presenting, or speaking out generally.

W-400At United Way of Salt Lake, our Women’s Leadership Council gives many options for our women to get involved and inspire future leaders. BBBSU, WLC, and Latinos in Action have partnered to bring Mentor 2.0 to Utah—a program where we can work with and mentor high school girls via email. We have also worked with USHE and Utah Scholars to do one-time presentations to 8th grade girls on the importance of preparing for college, ways to save for college, scholarship opportunities, and more!! There are countless ways to get involved—whether it be through the WLC or through your own investigations, the power of WOMEN helping other WOMEN cannot be understated!

WE have the power to change the odds. You can even get involved RIGHT NOW! We are currently signing women up to present on December 15 and 16 at Granite Park Jr. High. This is a one-time 90-minute commitment, but it just might make the difference in a future leader’s life! Contact for more information!


(L-R) Andrea Cox, Latinos in Action; Dr. Susan Madsen, UVU; Dr. Nancy Basinger, BBBSU, Dr. Elizabeth Hitch, USHE


Visualizing Data to Help Improve Outcomes for Students

Korey Klein

by Korey Klein
Data Operations Director

In early October, more than 370 individuals, representing 60 cradle to career partnerships from across the country, ascended on Minneapolis for StriveTogether’s National Cradle to Career Convening. The three day gathering was full of passionate conversations focused on bettering the lives of children and families by changing the way systems work, sharing accountability for results, and using data to guide decisions. It was impossible to leave without feeling that our mission is possible.

A few weeks prior to the convening, StriveTogether, in partnership with the Tableau Foundation, announced the recipients of their first-ever data analytics fellowship. Fifteen partnerships from StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network were selected to participate in the fellowship, including the Promise Partnerships of Salt Lake! Through this fellowship, our partnership will learn how to more effectively use and visualize data to advance our Collective Impact work, and ultimately, help change the odds for students and families.

School Grades

The day before the StriveTogether convening, I had the exciting opportunity to represent our partnership during the fellowship kick-off meeting. Here, I got to meet with fellow data minds from 14 other partnerships to talk about our hopes for the fellowship and geek out over data visualizations. Over the next eight months, I will be receiving extensive training on Tableau, a business analytics software that allows for the creation of interactive data visualizations.

With this training, I hope to help our partnership:

  1. Dive deeper into the data. We know that looking at data at a high level won’t get us to our goal. We need to disaggregate data, look at trends, and conduct analyses in order to truly know what’s working and what’s not. Tableau is a tool that will allow us to take that deeper dive.
  1. Better communicate around data. Having data-driven conversations becomes a lot easier with clear and consistent visuals at the table. The dissemination of partnership-level results also becomes a lot easier with organized and functional dashboards. Tableau will help us to communicate our data more clearly and better leverage it to make informed decisions.
  1. Close the achievement gap. After all, this is the ultimate goal. It will certainly take more than dashboards and pretty charts to pull this off, but with data as our guide, we will make it happen.

Calculating ROI from Your Corporate Community Engagement

alison-cundiffby Alison Cundiff
Corporate Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

Like any other business function, corporate community engagement is expected to add value to the business. Robust efforts in this arena should have a blended value proposition — increasing returns on investment for both the company and the community. The challenge comes when trying to establish effective measurements for community impact and return on investment.

In an article posted on LinkedIn by Reana Rossouw of Next Generation Consultants, there are 5 things companies can do to measure return and impact of their corporate community engagement:

  1. Start with a policy: the policy statement needs to clearly define how community engagement will contribute to business goals and objectives. This should be done with both the business and community in mind so that sustained community impact is achieved.
  2. Use data to align business and community goals: collect data on both business and community goals and seek to align those goals. Once goals are set, it is easier to see how those goals are being met by asking specific questions. (Ex: If your goal is to support employee recruitment, retention, and productivity, ask: Does our reputation as a good corporate citizen help attract and retain employees?)
  3. Measure: Next, measure the data you have collected according to specific indicators. (Ex: If your goal is to support employee recruitment, retention, and productivity, measure: employee attitudes and satisfaction with the company.
  4. Assess the return on investment: a few different approaches can be used separately or together. These include performance assessments, stakeholder perception surveys, case analysis and project evaluation, and ROI assessment.
  5. Calculate Soft Returns: calculating ROI can help determine the bottom line and financial impact of community engagement, but what about the soft, intangible benefits? One measure is usually not enough to get a clear picture. Measures can include enhanced reputation, effectively addressing community needs, addressing company values, addressing employee needs, and new opportunities for innovation.

(Please view the article for a more detailed analysis of calculating ROI).

It all comes down to this: create a policy, set goals, measure outcomes, and calculate your ROI based on those measurements. This will lead to long-lasting, impact generating community engagement, that will benefit both your company and the community.

Day of Caring American Express

United Way of Salt Lake’s focus on data driven decision making can help companies make smart choices on how they invest their resources in our community.

For more information on how your company can be engaged in the community, please contact Amy Bosworth at or Alison Cundiff at

Day of Caring Regence

A. Alexander Day of Caring


Future of Early Childhood Leadership Summit: The Importance of Systems Level Leadership

chris-ellisby Chris Ellis
Partnership Director, Early Learning Outcomes 

Last week, the Institute for Child Success (ICS) convened their second Future of Early Childhood Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. The goal of these Summits is to provide leadership development to rising leaders in the early childhood education space. Participants in these Summits promote early childhood development in communities across the country. The initial meeting of the group, in May, focused on identifying elements necessary to effect system level change to, ultimately, improve outcomes for the nation’s youngest children. One of the key takeaways from this first meeting was the need for participants to connect with recognized leaders in the field.

The convening in Washington D.C. provided a space for this connection to happen. Participants were able to spend time discussing early childhood development with the following leaders in early childhood education.

  • Celia Ayala, CEO of Los Angeles Universal Preschool;
  • Helen Blank, Director of Childcare and Early Learning at the National Women’s Law Center;
  • Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistance Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Janis Dubno, Pay for Success Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Bill Milliken, Founder of Communities in School; and
  • David Willis, Director, Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Summit consisted of panel discussions focused on the experiences of these established leaders, group work to envision the future of early childhood development, and several opportunities to connect with these leaders one-on-one.

The connection between strong system leadership and alignment to improved outcomes was reiterated throughout the Summit and reinforced the importance of our local Collaborative Action Networks focused on outcomes and the Promise Partnership Regional Council.

It was energizing to connect with leaders in early childhood education and other Summit participants and I look forward to applying my learnings to our local collective impact work to improve age-appropriate development and kindergarten readiness rates for children in our communities. Thank you ICS for the opportunity to attend this Summit and connect with rising and established leaders in early childhood education.


A Second – and Congratulatory – Opinion of America’s First “Pay for Success” Preschool Program in Utah

RobDuggerHeadshotby Rob Dugger, PhD
Managing Partner, Hanover Provident Capital, LLC
Co-Founder, ReadyNation

As the co-founder of ReadyNation and a stalwart supporter of quality early learning, I have great respect for the Pay for Success partnership that made Utah’s vision for quality preschool a reality. I also agree with Bill Crim’s assertions that the recent New York Times article questioning the recent assessment of the program’s impact in Salt Lake County was driven by several misleading comparisons of data.

Fortunately, I also see a silver lining in the debate about the program and its evaluation: while the educators, evaluators and funders work in partnership to improve outcomes for participating kids, they will continue to do so largely at the expense of the private sector. In fact, I highly doubt we would see this type of rigorous evaluation and examination of the results if this were simply a traditional state or federal program.

This is a great deal for the state of Utah and its taxpayers, and an even better benefit for the kids, the parents, the public and everyone who wants Utah’s kids to be ready-to-learn when they start school. One of the most sensible assets of the Pay for Success model is that it pays for what works. And if programs don’t work – meaning they don’t meet tangible, predetermined measures of success – they can be improved at the expense of the funders, or even discontinued before more taxpayer dollars are invested.

The good news is that the program in Utah is working – 99 percent of the participating children who were identified by a reliable assessment as at risk for needing special education in kindergarten did not. The even better news is that this reduction in special education – which also amounts to a reduction in costs borne by taxpayers – is but one benefit of quality preschool. Study after study shows links to longer term academic achievement, high school graduation, reduced involvement in the criminal justice system and more.

The Pay for Success model is not just about structuring effective public-private partnerships and giving more at-risk children needed services. It’s meant to be a game changer in how government conducts the business of remediating and preventing society’s problems and building a productive, healthy citizenry. This is exactly what the Utah Pay for Success model is doing. It has promoted early childhood education systems change in Utah. Programs are using data to guide decisions, improve practices and learn faster about what works best for children. It has also focused government on outcomes in a way that will better use taxpayer resources.

Debates about the methodology for determining success are nothing new. It’s common for cutting edge research results in any field of study to be diligently examined and commented on with respect to methods and the relationship to outcomes. I also want to note that the desired outcomes and outcome metrics for the success of this program were developed to reflect what the educators, program implementers and funders agreed was in the best interest of all stakeholders, particularly the children and their families.

It’s important to highlight a few technical points since the New York Times article discussed technical issues that researchers examined.

  • Many special education and early childhood research experts support the methodology Salt Lake County used.
  • An experimental design was not possible in the Salt Lake County Pay for Success program. The question is what do we do in Pay for Success when an experimental design isn’t possible? We need to remember why we are doing this: to expand access for low-income families to high quality preschool.
  • Although not an experimental design, using the PPVT is a reasonable way of determining which students are at-risk for school failure and potential later special education placement. Research has shown that 3- and 4-year olds who score that low, without intervention, will score that low when entering kindergarten. That is, children who start behind tend to stay behind.
  • Projected and actual special education avoidance rates in the range that Salt Lake County achieved are not unreasonable. A study of Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program funded by the Heinz Endowments showed a comparable reduction of special education assignment of almost 90%.
  • Typically, if Dual Language children are delayed in one language, they are delayed in both languages.  And, architects of the program tell us that the pre-schoolers tested were not only Spanish-speaking but dual language learners.
  • There is no perverse incentive in the Salt Lake County case for diverting children from special education if they would qualify based on assessment. That’s because special education assignment in kindergarten through grade 12 is blind to how a child was funded in preschool. Only the independent evaluator has the data on how a child scored on the PPVT at preschool entry.

And although I agree that the results reported to date are both accurate and indicative of the program’s success, I will be interested to see what others write about the results and if their challenges are sufficiently supported. This is the kind of healthy tension that will help to inform and strengthen the “Pay for Success” model.

In the meantime, Utahns should also note that although funders did receive a return based on the 109 children who did not need special education, that funding made quality preschool available for 595 low-income children who otherwise probably would not have been able to attend preschool. In fact, by the time this Pay for Success project has been completed, a total of 2,600 children will have the opportunity to experience quality early learning that otherwise would not have attended preschool. This is the kind of bottom line impact that should be celebrated as Utah and other states and communities consider Pay for Success strategies that foster social innovation and real life results for children, families and society as well.


How United Way of Salt Lake Made Community Engagement Easy for My Company!

IMG_0290_face0-150x150by Julene Thompson
Account Manager, Penna Powers

As Social Change is such a large part of what Penna Powers does, we appreciated how United Way of Salt Lake approached our workplace campaign. They didn’t just solicit our donations, they inspired social change.

Here’s how:

UWSL came to us:

They asked for a small committee of employees to help organize the campaign and met at our office. They made it personal by holding a breakfast in the beginning to talk about United Way volunteer opportunities and by attending our office BBQ at the end to thank us for our help.

UWSL put us in the heart of where the needs are:

Nothing inspires help more than seeing first-hand how it changes people’s lives. Each Penna Powers employee had the opportunity to leave the office for one of the many site visits to see United Way programs already thriving right next to our workplace. Day of Caring also took our group to one of the crisis nurseries where we learned about how a family support center works and completed a list of chores to improve the facility.

UWSL made doable requests:

It can be hard to break away from our offices and conference rooms at times, but United Way of Salt Lake just asks for a half-day each year from Salt Lake businesses. Day of Caring gives employees a taste of what they can do to help, and provides information about volunteering and donating in the future.

UWSL made it fun:

They asked the committee to think of their own incentives for the team that donates the most. So, we decided that the winning team would choose a music video that the losing team must perform during staff meeting. (Stay tuned for the posting on UWSL’s Facebook page!).

I learned all of this during a well-orchestrated United Way of Salt Lake workplace giving campaign that included a Woodrow Wilson Elementary site visit and participation in Day of Caring.

Thanks, United Way of Salt Lake, for this great and eye-opening experience! We are proud to LIVE UNITED! 


Original blog post here: