The Twin Cities boasts the highest number of Fortune 500 companies per capita in the country yet also has one of the widest social inequities gaps in the nation. Students of color score an average of 30% lower on reading and math standards than those of white students and they are also lagging in graduation rates. It is estimated that people of color will make up 37% of our population by the year 2035.
Combining all of these statistics means that our future workforce will not be prepared to meet the employment needs of our local companies. This is not just an issue for those living in poverty; it is an economic issue that will affect our entire community. But we are working hard to close these gaps in partnership with companies, donors and many public and private sector leaders.
As a strategy to help strengthen relationships with our largest partners and donors, Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide President & CEO, came to the Twin Cities recently to meet with a number of companies, major donors, board members, community leaders and United Way staff. The conversations focused on the network’s ability to create impact on a local, national and global scale.
“We are a group of independent United Ways that must become interdependent in order to achieve success,” Brian said during a conversation with our board members. That means one network, one message and one mission.
Image: Brian Gallagher, center, with members of Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Board of Directors and United Way senior leadership staff
Putting that into practice becomes the hard part. We’ve taken steps to improve, but we need to think more broadly about programs, technology and marketing to truly transform our organization so companies and donors understand our value proposition. It will take the effort of the entire United Way network to achieve success.
As we work together to launch new strategies, we strive to bridge these gaps; all of us working together is more important now than ever. By striving to become the “go-to” social change platform, we can make our community a “Best Place to Live” for all.
Wendy Traxler is the Director of Workplace Development at Greater Twin Cities United Way. She often works with our partners at United Way Worldwide on initiatives to improve giving platforms and partnerships both here in the Twin Cities and across the nation.