A New Approach to Community Building

Greater Twin Cities United Way has a new approach to community building, anchored in a long-term commitment to equity with a focus on filling the biggest gaps across our region. Our vision is to create a community where all can thrive, regardless of income, race or place.

This new strategy is based on feedback from nonprofit partners, donors and independent experts, as well as 103 years of experience strengthening our community. We identified the most persistent challenges in the Twin Cities region to address in this new approach:

  • employment and income gaps
  • education disparities
  • lack of supportive and affordable housing
  • racial disparities
  • untreated mental illness

Disrupting Inequities

“Today, we can reasonably predict a person’s life outcomes based on their income, race and/or place of residence,” said Acooa Ellis, SVP of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “Disparities are not inevitable. There are multiple, complex reasons they exist—and, I believe that as a community, we can change the narrative together. Our new approach will disrupt the inequity that manifests in opportunity gaps, often beginning early in childhood and persisting through adulthood.”

New Focus Areas, Better Nonprofit Partnerships

Overall, the new approach includes continued work in education, food security and workforce readiness; an increased focus on ending homelessness; and less focus on broad health care,
independence and legal services. It reflects deeper collaboration with nonprofit partners, inviting them to develop solutions to critical challenges based on their collective wisdom and expertise.

Goal: Increase Educational Success
United Way will support parents in the success of their early learners, helping children ages 0-5 meet critical developmental goals. We’ll also support social and emotional learning for youth grades 6 to 12, as well as increase access to career pathway programs for middle school and high school students.

Goal: Increase Household Stability
United Way will help people obtain safe, stable and affordable housing with access to healthy and culturally relevant food. Specifically, we’ll work to fill the gap in support for people transitioning from foster care, hospitalization and corrections.

Goal: Increase Employment and Economic Opportunity
United Way will focus on skills credentialing for in-demand fields, along with job placement and retention. We’ll also focus on improving financial wellbeing, as financial health is a predictor of financial mobility and stability.

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