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Our New Approach to Inspiring and Uniting Changemakers

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John Wilgers


Soon after joining Greater Twin Cities United Way last year, I realized how we tell our story wasn’t adequately reflecting how United Way was evolving and innovating to meet critical community needs. I knew if we wanted people to better understand what we do and how and why we do it, we needed to reposition ourselves.

As a result, late last year we began having conversations with donors, volunteers, nonprofit and corporate leaders, and staff to better understand their awareness of our work, perceptions in the community and how we could better communicate with and invite people to join us.

We realized we had an opportunity to update and fully communicate our mission and unique value proposition in new ways. For many years, we’ve been known for our workplace/employee giving campaigns and nonprofit grantmaking, but we wanted our other core impact areas – 211 resource helpline, advocacy and innovation – to equally shine.

I’m very proud to share our new marketing strategy, which contains messaging, visuals and colors that are bold, energetic and fresh. The new approach is innovative, inviting and inclusive, urging everyone to join us as changemakers in a movement to create a Greater Twin Cities where all thrive, regardless of income, race or place.

Join the “Changemakers Unite” Movement

A changemaker is a person or organization that sees the problems in the world around them, identifies solutions and takes action to transform their communities. They are individuals and families, donors and staff, volunteers and advocates, nonprofit and corporate partners, and government leaders. Changemakers want to make the Greater Twin Cities a better place for everyone to live, work and thrive.

Uniting changemakers is a powerful concept that speaks to the notion that, while individuals can and do change things for the better, we can create an even bigger impact by working together. We landed on this concept long before the COVID-19 pandemic and global civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd. These crises have amplified the disparities that have existed in our community for years because of longstanding systemic racism and oppression. The people most impacted by ongoing disparities are the same people United Way has been working to support every day, and as 2020 took a turn, we realized we needed to accelerate to answer this urgent call for change.

Every one of us is on a journey in understanding the inequities that brought us here, what gave rise to those inequities and what we together can do to address them and create a more equitable Greater Twin Cities community.

We are at a pivotal moment when positive transformation is as possible as it has ever been. We understand the changes that need to happen and the roles we must play in achieving them. The need for change is now.

I encourage you to invite others to join us as changemakers in helping to create a community where all people thrive, regardless of income, race and place.

Thank you for being a community changemaker.

About the Author

John Wilgers is the President and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way. A passionate community advocate for more than 10 years, John has served in several United Way roles, including board chair, member of the executive committee of the board, volunteer, fundraiser and donor. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of Kansas.

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