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Centering Voices of Those Closest to the Challenge: Building Our 2023 Advocacy Agenda

People meeting together to make a difference.

By Tina Rucci, Advocacy Manager

With the 2023 Minnesota state legislative session right around the corner, Greater Twin Cities United Way is busy finalizing our 2023 Policy and Advocacy Agenda. Every year, United Way surveys our nonprofit partners, coalition partners, staff and other key stakeholders to better understand what issues are most important to them that we should advocate for at the Capitol. We use these responses, coupled with real-time data from our 211 resource helpline and 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, to create our community-informed policy and advocacy agenda.

This coming session, we again look forward to partnering with local nonprofits, community members and coalition partners to advance policies and funding that support household stability, educational success and economic opportunity for people in the Greater Twin Cities and across the state, to help transform inequitable systems and support our region.

Building the Policy and Advocacy Agenda

This past summer, we received valuable input from 100 people, 61 percent of which represented our nonprofit partners. When asked “How well did United Way’s 2022 advocacy agenda capture and reflect your organization’s needs and priorities?”, 100 percent of respondents answered “Very well” or “Fairly well” — an increase over the previous year’s score of 97 percent. One respondent noted that, “United Way designs solutions and strategies that are more likely to effectively disrupt inequities by building trust with and centering voices of those closest to the challenge.”

Early child care and education, housing stability, and economic opportunity were shared as top priorities for our partners in the coming year. Feedback from this survey directly informed the first draft of our 2023 agenda, which was shared back with our nonprofit partners in September along with a second survey providing an opportunity to weigh in on the draft agenda. We then applied this second round of feedback — the majority of which related to specific policy plays that we are excited about advancing this session — and are currently finalizing our key policy and advocacy priorities.

By surveying our nonprofit partners and other stakeholders before drafting our agenda, and then soliciting their feedback on our draft agenda, we foster and strengthen community relationships, build trust and ensure community perspective guides our work at the legislature.

Additionally, 95 percent of respondents indicated that they plan to partner with United Way in advocacy in 2023. We look forward to harnessing our collective power and voice to advocate for positive change this session.

Keep an eye out for our final 2023 policy and advocacy agenda, which we’ll be releasing before the start of session on January 3, 2023.

Get Involved

Thank you for participating in our advocacy work! Keep an eye out for updates and timely opportunities to make a difference as changemakers together. Check out our Advocacy Toolkit and sign up to join our Advocacy Network to stay informed about opportunities to get involved and advocate this session!

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