Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Susan Carter. Twenty-three years ago, I worked at the Minneapolis United Way as a Community Impact Associate. Today, I am back working for Greater Twin Cities United Way as the Director of Advocacy and External Engagement. Upon sharing my new role, friends and colleagues asked me why I would return to an employer I worked for years ago. My answer is simple: “this is not the same organization.”
Greater Twin Cities United Way has been on a transformative journey – moving from funding intermediary to community convener, proximate partner and catalyst for change. If you need additional reassurance, I am pleased to recommend our latest report, Connecting the Dots. The report contains work informed directly by the communities we serve and illuminates not only what we do but how we do it.
For some, federated campaigns, volunteer events or loaned executive experiences shaped their understanding of United Way’s work. These are fundamental activities and still critical pieces to our engagement strategy. However, I’m proud to say, we are so much more.
The Connecting the Dots report highlights four challenges facing our state and shares potential policy and funding recommendations to foster systems change. Every issue – and every possible solution – is born from direct community feedback. Our colleagues gathered data using grant applications and outcome reports; detailed discussions with program staff; and surveys of current grantees and the broader nonprofit community. We also relied on Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 referral line and the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to understand real-time barriers people are facing.
The data offered more insight into the following concerns addressed in the Connecting the Dots report:
As I settle into my new role, I am grateful for United Way in ways I couldn’t predict 23 years ago. We listen more and talk less. We bring humility and curiosity to every conversation. We are a trusted resource for the work ahead. Join us.