Being a Part of Collective Impact!

allison-tby Allison Temnick
Community Investment Advisor

Like many college graduates, a few years ago I found myself at a crossroads. I had received a business degree but I always had a desire to work for a nonprofit organization. I was torn between the corporate world, the nonprofit sector, and option to spend some time traveling the world. This fork in the road forced me to evaluate my options and prioritize what mattered most to me. The underlying question that I faced was: how can I live and work in the most fulfilling way? Thankfully, only a few short years after graduation, I have found myself at United Way of Salt Lake—a place where my career ambitions and desire to serve intersect.

United Way of Salt Lake’s staff and mission are a wonderful for several reasons. First of all, I am surrounded by people each day who challenge me to be a better person both personally and professionally. Second, I have had the opportunity to join a Donor Network called Young Leaders where I can meet and volunteer alongside people who have similar interests and passions. My co-workers and fellow Young Leaders have enhanced my life and work experience tremendously since I started this job back in August. But besides being personally fulfilled, working at UWSL has allowed me to use my resources and talents to be a part of something much bigger than me—something the folks at United Way of Salt Lake call Collective Impact.

_MG_5667Collective Impact operates under the assumption that no one person, company, or nonprofit organization can solve complex social problems. If each one of us contributes our unique skills and gifts to help make our community a better place we can finally see the change that we have talked about for so long. The best part of this Collective Impact model is that it’s working! Since UWSL started working in line with the Collective Impact model in 2011, we have seen at 9 percent increase in 3rd grade reading across all of our Promise Partnerships. One of our Community Schools, Granite Park Junior High, now has 52 percent of 9th graders on track to graduate (a 27 percent increase from just two years ago). And in just this past year alone, 8,334 volunteers contributed 30,022 hours of service and bettered the lives of 294,000 students and families. What an incredible achievement!

IMG_4887I am proud to be a part of Collective Impact work with United Way of Salt Lake. I truly believe my involvement with UWSL has allowed me to live a more satisfying, fulfilling life. If you’re reading this, I would encourage you to GIVE, ADVOCATE, or VOLUNTEER!

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The Raising of America – Reinforcing Local Efforts!

chris-ellisby Chris Ellis
Partnership Director, Early Learning Outcomes

As we continue our work to improve outcomes for the youngest children in our communities, we have been inspired by a new documentary, The Raising of America. This five-part documentary discusses many of the issues that impact young children and their families nationally, but also locally, in the Salt Lake City area. Recently, I was invited to attend the first public screening of the first episode of the documentary and participate on a panel with early childhood leaders from Utah to discuss how the film applies to our local work.

The first episode of the documentary, Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, highlights the disparity in well-being for young children in the United States compared to other countries in the world. United Way of Salt Lake has developed a Collaborative Action Network, a group of partners committed to working together to improve outcomes for all children and families in our State, focused on early childhood education to address this disparity in our communities. In numerous discussions, these partners have recognized the importance of addressing the holistic needs of young children and their families, a point that the documentary emphasizes in great detail. This documentary reinforces our local efforts, and the public screening provided an opportunity to share this work with interested individuals.

Raising AmericaNearly 80 individuals attended this event to view the first part of the documentary and participate in a spirited discussion. These individuals represented various organizations and perspectives and greatly added to the dialogue. All participants were excited to apply the learnings from the documentary and the panel discussion to their work with young children and their families. This documentary is a moving commentary on the state of early childhood in our country and will lead to many important conversations as we work together to improve early childhood outcomes in our State.

We invite you all to watch!

The Raising of America

 

United Way of Salt Lake Names Bill Crim as its New Chief Executive Officer

After an extensive and thorough national search, United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) has named Bill Crim as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Crim, who has been in executive positions with UWSL since 2004, was the unanimous choice of a CEO Search Committee that had been vetting candidates during a nine-month process. Most recently UWSL’s Senior Vice President, Collective Impact and Public Policy, Crim’s selection was ratified by United Way of Salt Lake’s Board of Directors by unanimous vote at its monthly meeting on Thursday morning.

Crim will succeed Deborah Bayle, the 16-year-head of the United Way of Salt Lake organization who announced her retirement earlier this year. Crim will officially begin in his new role as CEO on July 1, while Bayle continues as the organization’s President to ensure a seamless transition. Crim will become President & CEO on Aug. 21.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 12.01.41 PMUWSL engaged Chicago-based DHR International, a nationally recognized search firm with vast experience in nonprofit CEO searches, to conduct its nationwide search. The approximately 300 candidates who emerged were some of the best talent available in the nation, including 110 people from local United Ways across the country and 48 leaders from Utah.

Crim graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science. He began his career with the Utah Issues Center for Poverty Research and Action, where he served as Executive Director. He joined UWSL in 2004 to help in its successful transformation to the Collective Impact business model.  He led a team that created and implemented UWSL’s public policy strategy, establishing the organization as an influential leader within Utah’s local and state policy environment.

bill-docWe invite you to read the news release in its entirety by clicking below!

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5 Things I Learned at Lincoln Elementary School’s Cultural Night

Amanda Matthewsby Amanda Matthews
Lincoln Elementary Community School Director

I am genuinely, incredibly inspired by the community at Lincoln Elementary. On March 19th Lincoln hosted its first annual Cultural Celebration Family Night, with dances, poetry, and food representing the variety of cultures of our students. The compassion and community that was displayed highlighted, for me, five lessons that deepened my commitment to and passion for our Community School efforts.

1. Students are dedicated.

For two weeks prior to the event, students volunteered to learn and repeatedly practice new cultural dances, a different one for each grade level. We were fortunate enough to have the connection to Cottonwood High School, where we were able to reach out to students and ask them to allow us to film instructional videos for various cultural dances that could in turn be taught to our elementary students. While we weren’t able to have every culture at our school represented through dance, we were able to showcase Native American, Mexican, Utahn, Burmese, East African, Middle Eastern, and Nepali cultures. The enthusiasm and effort that students put into their performances was incredible!

IMG_69502. Communities turn out.

We were thrilled to have over 500 people attend our event, a huge number for our school! Additionally, a group of high school girls from the Hser Ner Moo Community Center came out and gave a wonderful performance of a Sundanese dance. It was great to see so many people come together.

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3. Tamales go a long way to building community.

We all know that food is a great way to build connections and cross boundaries. One special piece of our Cultural Night was the variety of food that was available to families that reflected their own culture. There were tamales, African sambosas, and Middle Eastern dolmas; all of which caused excitement among the students. Students were able to see food at school that they have seen their parents prepare at home.

IMG_72464. Original student poems speak of life, friends, and homes.

Another aspect to our Cultural Night was the announcement of the winners of the student poetry contest. Many of our students participated in the contest and wrote about their own personal culture and families. First place went to a very talented second grade girl, who wrote about her life both in Nepal and here in the United States. We have some talented poets at our school!

IMG_68515. Dance brings people together.

The final performance of the night was our Native American closing ceremony dance, led by 6th grade students and their teacher. Slowly, they moved from the stage into the seating area and grabbed hands of audience members until almost the entire auditorium was on their feet, dancing together. It was an incredible feeling of community that even weeks later, still brings a smile to my face. It reminds me that, together, as a community, we will create bright futures for students.

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Promise South Salt Lake — United Way Partnership Receives National Praise

CherieWoodCherie Wood,
Mayor of South Salt Lake

….but the real reason for celebration happens here at home, in our community!

Untitled2Last month, I was pleased to present the Promise South Salt Lake model at the National Afterschool Summit at the University of Southern California. The event, hosted by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, provided a forum to celebrate our work in partnership with United Way of Salt Lake and to be recognized as a national example of excellence. Education experts as well as technology innovators, leaders from the private sector, celebrities and political allies of afterschool, came together at the summit to pledge their support, raise public awareness of the importance of afterschool programs, and highlight the resulting benefits to school age children, their families and communities. I was excited to have the opportunity to share information about the 10 Promise SSL Neighborhood Centers that enable us to deliver services and resources throughout the city. (5 centers are co-located in our Community Schools, and 5 deliver services in community-based locations.) I am proud of the accomplishments that the Promise South Salt Lake-United Way partnership achieves, and I am constantly inspired by the improvements in the overall wellbeing, economy, safety and health of our community.

Afterschool Summit Gov&MayorWoodThe feature of Promise South Salt Lake that drew the most interest at the summit was the holistic, comprehensive approach that is central to our work. Summit organizers and community leaders alike were anxious to know more about the Promise South Salt Lake Councils and how we have mobilized partners and stakeholders in the areas of health, safety, education, jobs and economy, housing, arts and community, and neighborhoods to guide, inform, and implement our work. We received praise for establishing a Promise South Salt Lake Department within the municipal structure of the city. We also received attention for the framework of communication, planning and organizing through which we have created a citywide system of programs and services.

I am so grateful for the Promise South Salt Lake-United Way of Salt Lake partnership, encompassing our many educational and community partners that supports the learning that occurs during the school day and helps us to achieve targeted academic benchmarks for our youth, such as homework completion, social skills development, and improved behavior. The partnership provides a welcoming place for our youth to learn and play together; provides working parents a safe place for their children to be during the afterschool hours; offers adults and families English, citizenship, and life skills classes; as well as arts, recreation, and other interest-based programs. The face of South Salt Lake is forever changed for the better because of this unique and amazing partnership.

Data Sharing – A Future Perspective!

danya-pastuszekby Danya Pastuszek
Senior Director, Continuous Improvement

My son – a Promise South Salt Lake resident – is less than nine weeks old, so it is hard to believe that, in fewer than five years, he will start kindergarten.

If things go as planned, he will have participated in a range of high-quality early learning opportunities (including high-quality preschool) before ever stepping into his kindergarten classroom.

Most likely, my son will excel at certain skills – and struggle with others. As he travels throughout his academic career, wouldn’t it be helpful if the teachers and other professionals working with him could share specific information about him with one other, in order to coordinate services and support his academic success?

What if his preschool teacher could tell his kindergarten teacher about how long my son was in preschool, how often he attended, and how he performed on various assessments? This information would help the kindergarten teacher plan instruction for him. What if, in return, his elementary school could give feedback to the preschool about my son’s progress? The preschool could use that information to improve their services for children like him. And – once my son starts to participate in enriching out-of-school time programs – what if the professionals working with him during the school day could know which programs he attended and to share information on his academic progress with them? The out-of-school time providers could plan their time with my son to reinforce the learning he was doing in the classroom.

United Way of Salt Lake and dozens of Promise Partners who work directly with children have carefully built a data-sharing infrastructure that makes these hypothetical situations real. In other words, through the responsible sharing of individual-level data between schools and out-of-school time service providers, we are helping early learning, afterschool, and mentoring programs to align their work with what individual students most need.

Because we take privacy seriously and we want to be transparent about what student information we are collecting, who it is being shared with and for what reasons, and how it is being protected — we have developed a series of resources on individual-level data sharing. Visit our website for more information.

By sharing individual-level data and living the other principles of Collective Impact, we can help every student in the Promise Partnerships to start kindergarten ready to learn, excel in their education, graduate high school, complete a degree or credential that leads to financial stability, and live a healthy, happier life.

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White House Hosts Pay for Success Summit in Salt Lake City

chris-ellisby Chris Ellis
Director of Early Learning

Last week, the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in partnership with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Nonprofit Finance Fund, hosted a Pay for Success Summit in Salt Lake City for the Western region of the United States. This Summit was intended to highlight and advance regional activity and build long-term Pay for Success infrastructure to catalyze the development of future projects.

Salt Lake City was a fitting location for this Summit, as it is the home of the first Pay for Success agreement in the world to support early childhood education. United Way of Salt Lake led the effort and worked closely with numerous organizations to implement this project, including, Granite School District’s Preschool Program, Park City School District, Salt Lake County, Voices for Utah Children, Utah State University, Goldman Sachs, and J.B. Pritzker. Now in its second year, the Utah High-quality Preschool Program has provided access to high quality preschool to nearly 1,000 low-income children in Utah. Participants at the Summit were able to learn more about this particular deal and discuss other projects that are being considered to support outcomes for children and families in other communities. Throughout the day, organizations announced funding opportunities for participants to increase their knowledge about Pay for Success and their capacity to utilize this innovative strategy.

Photo c/o @NFFSocialImpact

Photo c/o @NFFSocialImpact

As an attendee, I was able to network with other individuals from around the country who are pursuing Pay for Success as a funding strategy to support social services in their communities and learn more about the developments in this field. Attendees were either implementing or considering deals to support programs that are working to lower rates of recidivism, reduce homelessness, improve public health, and expand access to early childhood education. It is exciting to see the enthusiasm and interest around this approach, as it can be a valuable component of a strategy to achieve community level results in communities throughout the country.

I look forward to seeing the impact that Pay for Success can have on addressing the needs in our respective communities. The Utah High-quality Preschool Program has clearly helped local children, and Pay for Success can surely be used to improve outcomes for children and families around the country.

Photo c/o @Rep. Greg Hughes

Photo c/o @Rep. Greg Hughes