Philosophy behind Living United 2024: Working together to accomplish more

Michele Taylor President & CEO United Way of Delaware

 

I want to share some exciting news about what’s going on at United Way of Delaware. After more than a year of research and planning, United Way of Delaware recently launched a five-year strategy called Living United 2024.

It’s an ambitious plan to focus our resources and energy on three specific challenges in eight specific communities, up and down the state of Delaware. Instead of trying to boil the ocean by being everything to everyone, we’re driving hard for measurable improvements in grade-level literacy by the end of third grade; workforce readiness through college and career readiness for young people and financial stability and empowerment for low-income families. 

So, you might ask, what’s different about this strategy? Everyone cares about those things, right? Of course, the answer is yes, they do. But the difference is that Living United 2024 harnesses the combined strength of the entire community to tackle these issues.  We call this collective impact.

Collective impact is the secret sauce in Living United 2024. By engaging all our agency partners and stakeholders in a common, shared agenda, and by directing our resources in specific communities with laser-like precision, we know we can move the meter in all of these areas within the five-year plan period.

As a quick example, we know that if kids are not reading on grade level by the end of third grade, chances are they will remain behind their peers throughout school and that many will never graduate from high school. In some of the most underserved areas of Delaware, fewer than 20% of third-graders are reading on grade level. The social and economic implications of this are unacceptable. 

But the good news is, along with the State of Delaware and other community-based organizations, United Way of Delaware is a major force behind Get Delaware Reading. This is a year-round, multi-generational strategy to surround kindergarteners, and their families, with literacy supports, one-on-one coaching, reading mentors, and social services that will prepare a growing number of Delaware children to enter fourth grade reading on grade level. 

Programs like Get Delaware Reading and Living United 2024 work because people like you care. I am so grateful for the ongoing support that United Way of Delaware receives from this community. Together, we can author a new future for the people of our state.

To learn more or to get involved go to uwde.org.

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