Soon we’ll say farewell to 2015, but not before reflecting on this incredible, whirlwind year that will surely drive us closer to our objectives of transforming lives and improving our communities. We are grateful to each of you, our supporters and partners, for your many contributions throughout the year–financial and intellectual capital, attendance at events or hands-on service. All of the ways in which you give, moves us closer to solutions on some of our area’s most pressing challenges. Check out some of our highlights and favorite moments of 2015 and be sure to stay tuned to what we’re up to in 2016.
This year, we unveiled our Strategic Plan, which outlined our 2020 goals:
- 5,000 more students from low income households are proficient 3rd grade readers
- 13,000 more low income families become financially stable
- 50,000 more households with plenty to eat
We will accomplish these aspirations by uniting our community through increased engagement opportunities, mobilizing greater community will and resources by demonstrating that once our community is presented with a challenge, we rise together to meet that challenge; and by increasing our community investment funds.
The facts about our community are sobering and serve as a call to action. Not sure what the Triangle Paradox is about? Check out our video series:
The reality is that we have a lot of work to do to ensure that all families and children in our community thrive. We are addressing short-term needs and building long-term solutions through intentional community investments in collaborative partnerships. The new direction at United Way reflects a national growing movement in recognition that the issues we face are not singular in nature and need to be addressed through collaborative and integrated approaches. This year we invested 88% of our funding in:
- Meeting immediate basic needs for our most vulnerable populations in accessing their basic needs of healthcare, housing, and safety.
- 24 collaborative partnerships with a two-generational approach—working with children and their families together—to significantly improve current circumstances and future opportunities for low-income households and;
- Partnerships working across the region on reducing childhood hunger and increasing access to health care.
We recognize that making a step towards collaborative work can be complex. But we’re optimistic about the possibilities, especially considering the progress made by our very first collaborative partnership, Fostering Youth Opportunities. Click here to view the story of how working collaboratively across sectors works and how it impacts people in our community.
Below are highlights of how you, our supporters, joined us in #Uniting4Good in 2015.
2015 MLK Day of Service focused on literacy and basic needs. We sparked new partnerships with Triangle MLK Committee, Saint Augustine’s University, and the Rotary Club.
Impact: 35 Projects, 4 Counties, 2800+ volunteers
National Volunteer Week focused on housing and rehousing in the Triangle.
Impact: 15 projects, 4 Counties, 115+ volunteers
Day of Action was held in Durham and volunteers from across our region created weekend meal and literacy kits.
Impact: 250 students received weekend meals for 4 consecutive weekends during the summer, along with 4 new books and literacy kits to help prevent summer learning loss.
Collect.Create.Feed. a community wide food drive and can building project was held at Triangle Town Center.
Impact: Collected 14,771 pounds of food (12,439 meals) for residents in our region
Other 2015 highlights:
Launched the pilot program that helps low-income families and individuals pay for health insurance premiums, Premium Help on Dec. 15, 2014 in Durham County and approved more than 180 individual applications, assisting about 300 people with obtaining and maintaining coverage for 2015. Half of these individuals had been uninsured the previous year and more than 70 percent were first time enrollees on HealthCare.gov. This program expanded in 2015 and is currently underway in Wake, Durham and Orange counties.
Helped address food insecurity in our community. Child Nutrition Services of Durham Public Schools won the 2014 Social Innovation Challenge—100,000 Kids Hungry No More. Their innovative approach to delivering breakfast to all students increased access to breakfast in five schools. All students receive the free breakfast meal in the classroom while socializing or working on homework. The impact of this investment equates to an additional 957 breakfast meals per day for a total of 172, 260 additional breakfast meals served since the implementation of the award.
Heard directly from community members at our Collaboration Labs. Their voices helped shape our 2020 Strategic Plan.
Engaged area companies and individuals volunteering around our four county region.
Local area executives who participated in the 4th annual CEO Sleep Out events worked to build awareness of “invisible” issues such as hunger, homelessness and poverty in our community among their networks.
Watch the video of their experience here and learn about the impact of this program: https://youtu.be/88SYcwYuxvg
Worked with our collaborative partners on telling their stories to increase community engagement and support.
Hosted poverty & housing simulations at area companies to connect challenging issues to employees, potential volunteers.
Invited women leaders from our community to mentor young girls participating in a leadership camp.
Invited Leaders United members to learn more about our collaborative partners and their work.
Many thanks to our staff, board members, volunteers, corporate and community partners and our donors for your generosity in sharing your time, feedback, support, financial gifts and for helping us make our community better.
- January 18, 2016 – MLK Day of Service, This four-county community service day helps empower and strengthen local communities with service projects to pack soup mixes, make blankets, create literacy kits, read to kids, and more to honor of Dr. King’s legacy of service. Make plans now to recruit your friends and family to work together to make MLK Day 2016 a “day on not a day off.”
- February 2016 – Launch of the Social Innovation Challenge—100,000 Kids Hungry No More. Details to come.