It’s Time to Think Big

Kara PorterOver the past year United Way of Greater Cleveland has been listening to the community.  The more we have heard, the more we recognize that small changes are no longer enough to help individuals and families in Greater Cleveland. It’s time to think big.

Big change is what United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Community Impact Agenda is all about.  The volunteers on our Community Impact teams underwent an intense process of gathering information and feedback from stakeholders ranging from the community we serve to agencies to experts from the field.  What we learned is that no matter who you are in our community, you probably want the same thing – a healthy community where every kid graduates from high school and everyone can achieve financial stability. Our priorities and strategies in education, income and health will get us closer to the community we all want.

What are some of the ways we are thinking big under our new agenda?

  • Collective impact model – The collective impact model can be described as an effort to coordinate the work of many partners and funders, often from different sectors, to solve social problems on a large scale.  More information about collective impact can be found at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
  • Shared measurement – An important part of collective impact is shared measurement. In our new model, programs that are funded under the same investment area will measure the same indicators. This will allow United Way and our funded programs to see the progress we are making on social issues.
  • Learning from data – As we work to measure the same indicators across programs and over time an important factor in success will be actively learning from data. Learning what is and is not working to create substantial change in the community will be critical to making large-scale change.

United Way of Greater Cleveland is thinking beyond just funding programs – looking more closely at data, aligning our resources and activities, partnering in new ways, and asking the community to give their voice and time. We know we cannot change everything tomorrow but measurable results can mean real change for the conditions in our community.

Are you excited about the opportunity to think big and make real change happen?  Then get involved – give, advocate, volunteer – and let us know your interests so we can keep you informed about the great work United Way is doing in our community and the big changes you’re helping to make possible.  LIVE UNITED!

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