CINCINNATI, Ohio (November 1, 2021) —
Dear United Way friends,
From my start at United Way, I believed deeply that increasing our impact depended on listening more intentionally to the community and engaging those most affected by the challenges we seek to address. This engagement will drive solutions that more closely meet those challenges and leverage key assets of our community.
Responding to the pandemic also taught us to focus even more on changing the systems holding back families from achieving economic well-being. A few weeks ago, we shared with community partners a new community investment strategy that more intentionally links United Way’s grants to efforts addressing root causes.
Through nearly 20 years of focused grantmaking, United Way built a portfolio of strong partners delivering strong programs. Individually, these programs help meet the needs of today and ensure families overcome temporary barriers. We also have seen – through either intentional or serendipitous collaboration – the power of organizations coming together to solve bigger, systemic challenges. We believe we can do more of this -- build on the individual strength of our partners to form a powerful network that drives lasting preventative change.
In the past, United Way often set goals or an agenda for the community and asked our partners to align with that agenda. With humility, we are flipping that process. With our new investment strategy, we will ask community members about assets, opportunities and solutions, then use those learnings to inform our work with community partners, asking them which systems changes they feel we can collectively best influence over the next few years.
With this wealth of information, United Way will align funding to the voices of community and partners.
This approach is unique and one of the first of its kind in our community. While the portfolio might look different, so will our impact -- catalyzing lasting change to support family economic well-being.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati