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Our Community Impact

2020 Results
Published 2021

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.

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

2020: Efficiently Innovating Amidst the Unknown

Timeline fo United Way activity in 2020

Together, We Touched over 500,000 Lives in 2020

Business & Individual Partnerships

645 companies, 38 foundations, and 60,000 individuals addressed community needs

Nearly 67,000 people served through 5,000 volunteers

Innovation

REBUILD FOR THE FUTURE FUND
Helped rebuild damaged businesses

CAREER ACADEMIES
Helped students prepare for careers

FULL LIVES
Developed sustainable, neighborhood food systems

80×3
Goal: Children meet 80% of brain development by age 3

JUSTICE FOR ALL
Goal: Transform criminal justice system

Graphic showing how Greater Twin Cities United Way' sfocus areas work together circularly.

211 Resource Helpline

Referred hundreds of thousands of people to critical information & services (202,000 calls/texts/chats and 381,000 website visits.)

Referred over 55,000 Minnesotans to state’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program

SUICUDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
Launched local service as part of National Suicide Prevention Lifetime

Advocacy

Helped secure $261.6 million for emergency housing, quality child care & early childhood education

Nonprofit Amplification

LEARNING & SKILL BUILDING
-Hosted 9 virtual convenings
-Provided virtual trainings for 525 people

GRANT MAKING
-Launched COVID-19 Fund to address emergency and long-term needs
-161 nonprofits received grants
-85% of people served within multi-year grantmaking identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian & People of Color

Your generosity is fueling community change, getting us closer to a community where all people thrive—regardless of income, race or place.  Through your support—and with equity at the center of our work—we’re advocating for government funding and policies; answering calls for help 24/7; exchanging ideas with our partners; and leveraging resources for those seeking services.

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.

Kittie Fahey SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INDIVIDUAL GIVING

Kittie Fahey

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INDIVIDUAL GIVINGSENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INDIVIDUAL GIVING

Kristina Salkowski VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE & FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIPS

Kristina Salkowski

VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE & FOUNDATION PARTNERSHIPS

United Way donors in 2021
Woman smiling in the sunshine

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.

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.

Kristen Rosenberger DIRECTOR, ADVOCACY AND EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT

Kristen Rosenberger

DIRECTOR, ADVOCACY AND EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT

Minnesota State Capitol building, white dome with golden horses.
Asian woman looking into the distance

Innovating for Impact

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

Stephannie 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

James Collins DIRECTOR, 211 AND SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE SERVICES

James Collins

DIRECTOR, 211 AND SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE SERVICES

CATEGORY OF NEEDS

BASIC NEEDS
Housing/Shelter
Utilities
Food
Material Goods
Transportation
ORGANIZATIONAL/COMMUNITY/INT’L SERVICES
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER SERVICES
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND LEGAL SERVICES
INCOME SUPPORT AND EMPLOYMENT
INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY LIFE
HEALTH CARE
CONSUMER SERVICES
ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH/SAFETY
EDUCATION

REQUESTS IN 2020

119,660
70,052
26,289
11,324
8,893
3,090
20,661
17,858
13,341
7,990
7,827
7,737
5,789
789
630

Carolina De Los Rios PROGRAM OFFICER, MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION

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.

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.

Julie Ogunleye SENIOR PROGRAM 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.

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.

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.

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.

Eva Song Margolis PROGRAM OFFICER, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Eva Song Margolis

PROGRAM OFFICER, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY