Dear United Way friends,
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you to Ellen Katz and our friends at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation for our partnership on the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, which resulted in millions of dollars in immediate relief to Greater Cincinnati families. Harnessing the power of our organizations produced powerful results. You answered the call, and it made an immediate difference.
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati that I envision is one that is lean, innovative, fast, and flexible, ensuring more dollars are deployed back into the community! Examples you’ve already seen:
- We formed a partnership with Hamilton County Job and Family Services to distribute gift cards to those hit hardest by the economic implications of COVID-19. We have distributed more than $32,000 directly into the hands of families in this community with more to come. The families, on average, had four members, and 98 percent were female-headed households.
- Our 211 group joined an innovative pilot project with Meals on Wheels to use polling data to proactively reach out to seniors who live alone and assess their food and social service needs.
- We are working with P&G to acquire hand sanitizer and masks to distribute to agencies and organizations throughout our community.
And this is just the beginning.
We are innovative. We are fast. We are flexible. We are building a quick and nimble organization that responds smartly to emerging community needs. Those needs define our work, the work defines our organizational structure.
COVID-19 turned our world upside down. This is the time when innovative decision-making and leadership are critically important. Now is the time to do the work and not play by the same old playbook. We must gain more traction, dig deeper, and work quickly to get the necessary results the community deserves.
For example, after receiving detailed stakeholder feedback appraising the workforce system as well-positioned in Partners for a Competitive Workforce-prioritized industries, we leaned into the strength of the workforce network and disbanded PCW. United Way will not hinder or duplicate the work of others. We have full faith in our workforce partners and will work with them to transition available PCW resources to continue these critical efforts.
While this decision was difficult, it best positions us to focus resources on supporting families and social service agencies recovering from COVID-19. For example, we forecast significant future workforce challenges in the nonprofit sector and will focus on developing systemic solutions in that arena.
In fact, COVID 19 will shape our work for the next two years. We are examining everything from more flexible funding for our agency partners to campaign messaging that ensures donors understand their money will be spent on relief, recovery and revitalization. COVID-19 presents the opportunity to fulfill our transformation into a fast, flexible organization that responds quickly to our community’s most pressing problems.
Other ways our work will be influenced by COVID-19:
- Community engagement is imperative. We must connect to all communities to understand the need. Our Community Engagement team will reach out and establish relationships with non-traditional groups to ensure every voice is heard. Our impact will be felt in organizations, neighborhoods and communities throughout our region.
- Every dollar is critical for our community. We are reducing administrative costs and examining all discretionary spending, so more money is available for direct services.
- We will be inclusive and equitable. To achieve what we all want – diversity, equity, and inclusion when serving the community – we must embed these standards throughout our entire organization, making it part of our business model. Every dollar we spend will be spent with a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. No single position will focus on this topic.It is an old model, and in this new day, it's not an efficient business model. This is not a step away, but instead a doubling down on United Way's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Right now, my days and nights are focused on supporting the organizations helping those suffering. COVID-19 is an incredible challenge, but we are up to the task. I am encouraged about our transformation and future. Not only are we helping this community respond, recover, and revive, we are revitalizing this organization.