Our Community Impact

2020 RESULTS
PUBLISHED IN 2021

Download the full report
    Dorothy Bridges, Chair, Board of Directors, Community Leader

    Dorothy Bridges

    Chair, Board of Directors
    Community Leader

    John Wilgers, President, CEO, Greater Twin Cities United Way

    John Wilgers

    President & CEO
    Greater Twin Cities United Way

    Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President, Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way

    Acooa Ellis

    Senior Vice President, Community Impact
    Greater Twin Cities United Way

    Dorothy Bridges, Chair, Board of Directors, Community Leader

    Dorothy Bridges

    Chair, Board of Directors
    Community Leader

    John Wilgers, President, CEO, Greater Twin Cities United Way

    John Wilgers

    President & CEO
    Greater Twin Cities United Way

    Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President, Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way

    Acooa Ellis

    Senior Vice President, Community Impact
    Greater Twin Cities United Way

Changemakers Unite, in blue decorative text

Over the past 16 months, our community has faced crises we could only have imagined. COVID-19 and the reckoning with racism sparked by the murder of George Floyd created an opportunity for our community to face the impact of our nation’s history of oppression and systemic exclusion from opportunity, which have contributed to deep racial disparities in our housing, food, education, employment and criminal justice systems — debilitating disparities we seek to dismantle in partnership with you.

While we have a long way to go to achieve true social justice, 2020 marked a transformative year. Changemakers across our region worked together to provide emergency support and stability for over 500,000 people — exemplifying outstanding agility, innovation, equity and transparency every step of the way. Changemakers like you who care about making the Greater Twin Cities — our home — a better place for everyone, regardless of income, race or place.

What we accomplished together in 2020 is nothing short of amazing. On behalf of the entire community, thank you for supporting our mission of uniting changemakers, advocating for social good and developing solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone.

    United Way 211 Resource Helpline

    Provided 460k referrals to services like housing
    and food; leveraged 211 data to inform advocacy and
    funding strategies

    Advocacy & Policy

    Developed new 2020 policy agenda
    rooted in equity

    Innovative Initiatives

    1. Full Lives: Sustainable food system in N MPLS
    2. Career Academies: Students on pathways to careers
    3. Culturally Powered Communities: Increased capacity of nonprofits led by and serving People of Color
    4. 80x3: Children meet 80% of development by age 3

    Learning & Skill Building

    Hosted 26 convenings to raise awareness of needs and
    solutions; provided trainings for 1,500 nonprofit leaders,
    donors, volunteers and United Way staff

    Grant Making

    Distributed grants to 178 nonprofits on the front
    lines of assisting the community

    Volunteer Services

    Engaged volunteers who worked on
    projects serving 274,000 people

    Partnerships

    60k individuals, 643 companies, 178 nonprofits and 38
    foundations addressed community needs

Thank You to Our Generous Donors!

United Way’s impact in the community could not be possible without the engagement, dedication and generosity of our individual donors and corporate and foundation partners.

Read More
Kittie Fahey, Senior Vice President, Philanthropy

Kittie Fahey

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INDIVIDUAL GIVING

Kristina Salkowski VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE & FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIPS

Kristina Salkowski

VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE & FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIPS

Smiling woman in a forest

Learning & Skill Building and Responsive Grant Making

We strengthen, support and maximize the collective impact of the nonprofit sector by connecting leaders, training teams and providing grants to sustain and grow the work of organizations throughout our community.

Read More
Anne Soto, Director, Grantmaking

Anne Soto

DIRECTOR, GRANTMAKING

Driving System-Level Change

Through our unique position in the community, we lead and influence the implementation of policies and funding that support immediate needs and drive systemic change.

Read More
Kristen Rosenberger, Director, Advocacy and External Engagement

Kristen Rosenberger

DIRECTOR, ADVOCACY AND EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT

Minneaota State Capitol building, with golden horses
Image of a woman standing proudly

Innovating for Impact

Through collaboration with nonprofit partners, businesses and donors, we create solutions that drive positive, lasting change.

Learn More
Stephanie Lewis, Associate VP, Community Impact

Stephannie Lewis

ASSOCIATE VP, COMMUNITY IMPACT

Justice for All

At every point within the justice system, racism and biases perpetuate disparities. For far too long, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color have been profiled and unfairly treated because of this unjust system. Through our multi-year Justice for All collaboration with the Minneapolis Foundation and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, we are working to bring transformational change to the justice system.

Read More
Huda Ahmed, Director, Justice for All

Huda Ahmed

DIRECTOR, JUSTICE FOR ALL

Sareen Dunleavy Keenan, Senior Program Officer, Career Academies

Sareen Dunleavy Keenan

SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER, CAREER ACADEMIES

Career Academies: Pathways to Successful Futures

Minnesota continues to face one of the worst opportunity gaps in the nation for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color. Our Career Academies initiative prepares high school students for zero college debt and in-demand, high-wage careers through real-world experiences and training, helping to close the racial wage gap and fortifying our region’s much-needed talent pool.

Read More

Full Lives: Sustainable Food Systems

In the Greater Twin Cities, some neighborhoods lack access to healthy, affordable food. The effects of these food injustices extend beyond households to a community’s educational, economic and health outcomes. By investing in proven initiatives like Full Lives that address hunger on a neighborhood level, we can get to the heart of the challenges and transform outcomes alongside whole communities.

Read More
Saroeun Earm, Program Officer, Household Stability and Food Security

Saroeun Earm

PROGRAM OFFICER, HOUSEHOLD STABILITY AND FOOD SECURITY

80×3: Resilient from the Start

Children experiencing poverty are more likely to experience adverse events that can manifest as trauma, altering brain development and creating lifelong harm. This is an issue that impacts Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color at four times the rate of white people. With 80 percent of brain development occurring by age 3, our 80×3 initiative aims to break the cycle of poverty and ensure all children have a thriving start.

Read More

211: Hope Starts Here

Through our free 211 resource helpline, we act as a bridge, providing confidential information and referrals to statewide resources and services to ensure people have their basic needs met at any time, day or night.

Read More
James Collins, Director, 211 and Suicide Prevention Lifeline Services

James Collins

DIRECTOR, 211 AND SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE SERVICES

Carolina De Los Rios,

Carolina De Los Rios

PROGRAM OFFICER, MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Moving from Pain to Possibilities

COVID-19 compounded the challenges that vulnerable communities had already been facing, and with that comes increased mental health challenges. Based on the efficacy of our 211 resource helpline infrastructure, United Way began offering suicide prevention support and mental health crisis intervention as a Minnesota-based partner in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Learn More
Download the full report

Household Stability

VISION:
HOMELESSNESS AND HUNGER ARE RARE, BRIEF AND NONRECURRING.

Housing

Homelessness grew nine percent in the Twin Cities metro area from 2015 to 2018. And as COVID-19 took hold in our community, 211 data revealed a 286 percent increase in housing needs and brought renewed attention to homelessness in our region. We support stable housing for all as it is the foundation that enables us to thrive.

Read More
Julie Ogunleye, Senior Officer, 211 and Housing

Julie Ogunleye

SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER, 211 AND HOUSING

Saroeun Earm, Program Officer, Household Stability and Food Security

Saroeun Earm

PROGRAM OFFICER, HOUSEHOLD STABILITY AND FOOD SECURITY

Food Security

One in nine Minnesotans — including one in six children — face hunger. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and People of Color, especially children and seniors, are disproportionately affected. In 2020, calls to our 211 resource helpline showed a 1,283 percent increase year-over-year for emergency food programs. We help ensure people have access to high-quality, culturally relevant food and hunger relief programs.

Read More

Educational Success

VISION:
ALL CHILDREN ARE READY TO THRIVE ACADEMICALLY, PERSONALLY AND SOCIALLY.

Carrie Zelin Johnson, Program Officer, Education

Carrie Zelin Johnson

PROGRAM OFFICER, EDUCATION

Early Childhood Education

35,000 children in Minnesota are unable to access quality early childhood care and education, which can have lasting effects on their ability to grow, develop and thrive. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Children of Color are disproportionally affected. We support access to culturally relevant, high-quality early childhood care and education from prenatal to age five through early childhood education initiatives.

Read More

Career & Future Readiness

Minnesota’s academic opportunity gap between Students of Color and white students is the worst in the nation, and COVID-19 is exacerbating the issue. We support social and emotional learning for students in grades 6 through 12 and increase access to career pathway programs so youth have the knowledge, skills and relationships to choose and direct their own futures and contribute to their communities.

Read More
Steve Walvig, Program Officer Education

Steve Walvig

PROGRAM OFFICER, EDUCATION

Economic Opportunity

VISION:
ALL ADULTS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WORKFORCE AND ADVANCE TOWARD FAMILY-SUSTAINING WAGES.

Economic Opportunity

Minnesota is diversifying quickly, and growth in our workforce will come from Communities of Color. Yet, these communities historically have been excluded from the job market or underestimated in their abilities. To ensure all adults have stable jobs to support themselves and build wealth, we leverage resources for those seeking employment and financial security and bring together community members to share and learn from one another.

Read More
Eva Song Margolis, Program Officer Economic Opportunity

Eva Song Margolis

PROGRAM OFFICER, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Download the full report