United Way Launches Strategic Alignment Impact Councils

United Way, along with nonprofit and community partners, participated in a launch event and working session on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. Reflective of a tremendous opportunity to exponentially increase the amount of good we can do in the community, United Way is strategically realigning to address future challenges of a changing operating environment while honoring its strong history of helping others to affect community change.

Featured speaker Steve Murdock addressed United Way volunteers at the launch. As the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Professor of Sociology at Hobby Center for the study of Texas at Rice University, he previously served as Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. His areas of expertise include demography, social and applied demography, migration, rural sociology, and socioeconomic impact assessment.

Murdock focused on “Population Change in Texas and the United States: Implications for the Future of San Antonio and the United States” as a foundation for informing and laying the groundwork for United Way’s strategic alignment work which is based in data, economic trends and shifts, and population growth. Texas was the fastest growing state in the US from 2010 – 2017; and San Antonio, too, has seen rapid growth. As the percent of the population in poverty in San Antonio increased from 15.4 percent in 1999 to 17.9 percent in 2010; so too, have median household incomes and educational attainment levels decreased among those in poverty. By recognizing important data trends across the country, Texas and San Antonio, United Way’s strategic alignment goals will address root causes and harness the power of statistical realities with strategies and compassion to affect change and improve lives.

Four Impact Councils: Ready Children, Successful Students, Strong Individuals and Families, and Safety Net; will focus on “Collective Impact,” which brings together groups of partners from different sectors to work on a common agenda for solving specific social problems using a structured form of collaboration.

The work began by gathering information about the opportunities in our community to generate impact on the complex social challenges we face. Those opportunities are narrowed to specific goals or results that we intend to achieve, followed by the identification of metrics to help quantify what it means to achieve our goals. Next, we will develop strategies that define a series of actions or activities that must be in place if we are to successfully achieve our goals.  Programs are then funded through a competitive RFP process that will implement the needed actions and activities.

The Impact Councils will continue to collect and measure information about the areas we are working to impact, observe new conditions and accordingly adjust our strategies and actions.

The Impact Council volunteers now will begin the process of “Strategy Mapping” leading to the selection of specific programs that will implement the agreed upon strategies.  Ready Children will accelerate its 2017 groundwork and offer program RFPs in Spring 2018.  Successful Students and Strong Individuals and Families will seek RFPs in Fall 2018. Safety Net program alignment is intentionally delayed to support the actions of the other three Impact Councils.

Our United Way mission is to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another. Through our past, present and future work together to accomplish this objective, we’re able to bring greater value to the community. Complex problem solving and change at scale can only be accomplished when people work together toward common goals to live united.