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.

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.


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:

Using the Power of Our Collective Voice

danya-pastuszekby Danya Pastuszek
Senior Director of Analytics and Learning

In late October, United Way Worldwide and more than 100 United Way leaders from across the U.S. and Canada, met in a large room in Alexandria, Virginia. Over three days, that room buzzed with passion for social justice, energy about the promise of collective impact, and ideas for action back at home.

Our hometowns, job functions, and interests were diverse, but we came to Alexandria because we focus in some way on impact. We believe that, through relationships with businesses, non-profits, community members, and government agencies, United Ways have a unique role to play in convening partners and achieving better outcomes for children and families.

I was reminded of three things in Alexandria about the value of defining partnership in the broadest way possible.

First, I was reminded of the power of partnership with other United Ways. Over three days (and in the months before, as part of a group advising United Way Worldwide on the content and format for the convening), I learned from colleagues about addressing the challenges of alignment, communicating with stakeholders in an increasingly mobile world, using data to increase partnership impact, involving community members in problem-solving and decision-making, and more. Building outcomes-focused, cross-sector partnerships is hard work, but through networks like United Way Worldwide and StriveTogether, we can connect with others who are grappling with similar complexities. We can learn much and speed progress toward results when we create the space and the focus to ask questions, listen, and debate ideas with peers.

Second, I was reminded the power of partnership with the people who live in the geographies where inequities persist. Among the new friends and colleagues I met in DC was a young man from Delaware. He was at one time involved with drugs and the criminal justice system, but he is also one of the most articulate and passion change makers I’ve met in some time. His perspective, voice, and leadership improved every conversation he sat in. As stated in Sheri Brady’s recent piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “To help collective impact live up to its promise of meeting complex problems by creating systems-level change, we must fully engage representatives from within the communities most impacted by systems change.

Finally, as we reflected on the power of United Ways’ local presence, context, and relationships, I was reminded of the power of partnership with federal partners. On the last day of our three days together, we participated in a “White House Briefing” (which actually took place in the building next to the White House) with several of the President’s advisors. The presidential advisors who greeted our group spoke about their goals – removing barriers to college for first-generation college students, addressing the opportunity gap for young men of color, increasing health insurance enrollment rates at a moment when we have fewer resources on the ground than ever in either of the previous two enrollment periods. These goals mirror ones that we have in Salt Lake, as a region and as individual communities within that region. Our federal partners have access to aggregate data on community conditions, information on what’s working well in other places, and resources to spread innovations and break down barriers. Collective impact partnerships convene partners around shared goals, and I was inspired after three days in our nation’s capital to ask myself more often: how could our partners at a federal level help us move our work forward?

On the second day of the convening, Steven Pemberton visited with us. Mr. Pemberton is Walgreen’s first Chief Diversity Officer, a husband, and a father of three. Earlier in his career, he helped countless of first-time college students navigate the path toward college enrollment. He spent most of his childhood surviving a foster care system that did not treat him well. (If you have not read Steven’s book – A Chance in the World – it is sad, moving, and inspiring.) His remarks and the stories that I heard at the Community Impact Exchange reminded me that creating opportunities in education, health, and family financial stability for an entire community requires courage, focus, and hard work from each of us – as well as the alignment of sometimes the least obvious of partners in our increasingly inter-connected world.

UWSL Staff 2015

CHG Healthcare Services Sets New Company Record!

james-brownby James Brown
Community Investment Advisor

For CHG HealthCare Services, “Putting People First” is not just a motto; it’s a way of life. Every year, CHG Healthcare hosts a “United Way Week” wherein employees have the opportunity to engage our community through volunteering and financial support donated during the employee charitable giving campaign. This support directly impacts the lives of thousands of children and families, assisting United Way of Salt Lake in our efforts to fulfill our promise to the community to Change the Odds so that all children have the same chance to succeed in school and in life. This year, through outstanding committee efforts, in-tune executive decisions, and following some of United Way of Salt Lake’s Best Practices for a campaign, CHG Healthcare Services set a new company record for their charitable giving campaign! Take a look and see how this was done.

Volunteering. CHG employees value to the opportunity to volunteer in the community. They view volunteering as a way to see their contribution in action – as an opportunity to see how their engagement can literally Change the Odds for children and families.


CHG employees gather at Kearns Jr. High School in preparation to tutor students during United Way of Salt Lake’s annual Day of Caring

CHG employees gather at Kearns Jr. High School in preparation to tutor students during United Way of Salt Lake’s annual Day of Caring

CHG Executives also value opportunities to volunteer. Executive Leaders recognize that volunteering provides team-building opportunities for their employees and creates a unique company culture, highly sought after by young professionals everywhere. And Executives like Mike Weinholtz and Scott Beck definitely don’t miss out on the opportunity to do their part!

CHG’s Executive Team volunteering at the Mobile Food Pantry at United Way of Salt Lake’s Central Park Community Center

CHG’s Executive Team volunteering at the Mobile Food Pantry at United Way of Salt Lake’s Central Park Community Center

Special Events. CHG excels at promoting fun Special Events that engage their employees in charitable giving while simultaneously creating unprecedented amounts of workplace fun! Special Events like silent and live auctions, pizza eating contests, Hot Wheels racing, miniature golf, bake sales, popcorn, candy and balloon “grams” to recognize fellow colleagues are only a few of the options available.

CHG employees gather to see their colleagues participate in the week’s fun events! Comradery is a big part CHG’s United Way Week

CHG employees gather to see their colleagues participate in the week’s fun events! Comradery is a big part CHG’s United Way Week

While the general mentality of the whole week is to have fun, CHG Healthcare services never lost sight of their end goal – to help Change the Odds for children and families in our community. In an effort to see their employee’s contributions go further, CHG Healthcare Services announced a dollar for dollar match on all employee gifts! This level of dedicated support from CHG catapulted their campaign into new record territory!

Executive Chairman Mike Weinholtz announces the Dollar for Dollar match to CHG Employees

Executive Chairman Mike Weinholtz announces the Dollar for Dollar match to CHG Employees

We are thrilled with your success, CHG Healthcare Services! We are thankful for your support, and grateful for the opportunity to partner with you as we work together through Collective Impact to make long-lasting social change in our community.

Thank you, CHG Healthcare Services, for leading by example and showing the community what it means to LIVE UNITED!

The Results Are In: High-quality Preschool Works!

Billby Bill Crim
President and CEO

Yesterday, United Way of Salt Lake announced that both the preschool intervention and the financing mechanism for the country’s first “Pay for Success” transaction for early childhood education have been successful. The investment deal, in which Goldman Sachs and J.B. Pritzker committed several million dollars, will benefit up to 3,700 children over multiple years and save state and local government millions of additional dollars.

The results from the 2013-14 school year are in! 

Out of 595 3- and 4-year-olds attending the preschool program, 110 were identified as likely to need special education services in grade school. After completing the program, only one of those students used special education services in kindergarten.

The 110 students will continue to be monitored through 6th grade, generating further success payments based on the number who avoid use of special education in each year


We need you to help expand high-quality preschool and give all kids the opportunity to stay on track with their peers. Learn more at the link below find out how you can be involved today! 


Read recent new stories:

Preschool paying off for Goldman Sachs and Utah kids, according to United WaySalt Lake Tribune | October 7, 2015

Goldman nets payout as social impact bond project in Utah meets targets — Reuters | October 7, 2015

For Goldman, Success in Social IMpact Bond That Aids SchoolchildrenNew York Times | October 7, 2015

Why This Preschool Just Wrote Goldman Sachs a Check — Huffington Post Business | October 8, 2015

The Promise of Collective Impact — Harvard Report!

Billby Bill Crim
President and CEO

This week, Harvard Business School released a new report, Business Aligning for Students: The Promise of Collective Impact. Over a year in the making, the report makes a powerful case for why U.S. businesses should direct their time, talent, and financial resources toward Collective Impact partnerships, and it highlights in detail one example of Collective Impact in action: the partnership that is supported – or “backboned” – by UWSL. The report describes how in Salt Lake – and other communities around the country – Collective Impact partnerships are changing outcomes for entire communities by championing shared goals, aligning resources around them, and measuring success in the same way.

Harvard ReportRead the complete Harvard Business School report.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.49.19 AMBusiness Leaders Needed!

Learn how you can get more involved in our Collective Impact partnerships! Skills used in the workplace are in high demand within Collective Impact initiatives, and they welcome business’ help. Businesses can help to guide strategy, build support in the community, and support data gathering and analysis. Join the Collective Impact effort today!

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.30.55 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.53.42 AM

Read Recent News Stories

Harvard report: SLC becoming ‘poster child’ for collaborative student support – Deseret News
Harvard study highlights business, education “game changer” – Forbes
Business Leaders Needed – United Way Worldwide