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

September is Attendance Awareness Month!

Carmela Castanedaby Carmela Castaneda
Community School Director

Attendance is the most critical part of supporting a student. The success of a student is highly dependent on whether a student shows up to class every day. The Atlantic wrote on an article about “The Economic Cost of Growing Truancy”, which states that “it doesn’t matter how good a school is if students don’t show up to class”.

In 2012, about 7.5 million students were chronically absent from schools nationwide. And, the consequences of truancy aren’t limited to a few missed lessons. There is a litany of long-term side effects that affect not just the children, but also their communities and the nation’s economic health as a whole.

Girls at Granite Park Jr. High

Girls at Granite Park Jr. High

Granite Park Junior High believes in this statement, and the culture of prioritizing attendance makes all the difference for students. Granite Park doesn’t have only one single month dedicated to attendance awareness, but instead they have a strong culture and policy in place to help work toward making sure every student shows up to class.

Kim Heppler, the Attendance Dean, emphasizes that attendance awareness is an ongoing matter that happens every day through school culture and communication with parents and students.

Granite Park stresses attendance every day of the year. We have the toughest tardy policy in the Granite School District, which results in us having the lowest tardies for the year in the district for the last eight years. We communicate with parents through the whole process and express the many reasons why lateness is important and does not just affect their child when they are late. Continued lateness results in after-school detention and making up the missed time.

Our attendance policy in regards to absences is also watched carefully. Ten years ago we only had seven out of 10 kids attending daily. The last seven years, our daily average attendance is above 91 percent for the year. Again, we accomplish this through great communication with parents. Students have seven days and then our attendance tracker sends a letter home letting parents know their child is missing too much. If the issue hasn’t been resolved, at 14 days the parent and student are required to attend a pre-court meeting. Granite Park is involved with parents and students all through the attendance process.

Granite Park Jr. High

We have a strong belief that everyday attendance is important to our students’ success.

Attendance makes all the difference in ensuring a student is academically successful. Granite Park believes that attendance awareness month and ongoing strategies, policies, and incentives throughout the school year support students in attending class on-time and every day.

Data, Screening, and Outreach – How the ELN is Working to Better Help Kids!

chris-ellisby Chris Ellis
Partnership Director, Early Learning Outcomes

The Early Learning Network (ELN) is focused on two outcomes for all children in our community: 1) increasing the number of children who are demonstrating age-appropriate development, and 2) entering kindergarten ready to learn.

This group has developed, scaled, and aligned numerous strategies that have supported these main objectives. One issue, however, that has impeded the group’s ability to increase age-appropriate development rates in Utah, is the lack of baseline data that is representative of a given area. The group has implemented known interventions that have proven results, but has yearned to know about the impact of these strategies. In the past, it had been difficult to collect and store data from developmental screeners, so that the group can have access to this important information. Recently, however, through the group’s Collective Impact work and a partnership with the Department of Health, we have been able to collect and better understand the data from a specific developmental screener, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). With this data, the group is developing a strategy to more effectively address the needs of screened children and increase the number of children who receive the screener.

PreK-MG_4893-150dpiSo, what is the ASQ? The ASQ is a developmental and social-emotional screener that monitors a child’s growth in five domains. This screener emphasizes the parent-child connection and relies on a parent’s knowledge of their child’s development. The ELN will use the data from the ASQ to better understand the development of children in the five domains in our communities, and develop and tailor strategies to support the needs indicated by the scores. The group will also conduct outreach to providers and pediatricians who are not currently screening children to share with them the importance of tracking a child’s growth through these screeners.

To further this work, the group is developing a community assessment to share with providers, pediatricians, and other organizations who work directly with young children. The intent of this assessment is to gain knowledge about the current processes behind ASQ administration, learn how providers are connecting children to services based on their scores, and increase the number of organizations that are screening children with the ASQ.

PreschoolThis is exciting progress for the ELN and it would not be possible without the vital Collective Impact partnerships that drive our shared work. Thank you to all of the partners who have, and will contribute to this project, that will ultimately allow us to better serve all children in our community.

Collective Impact on a National Level – StriveTogether!

Billby Bill Crim

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.

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.


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:

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,

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