For decades, United Ways have been slowly transforming and reorienting themselves away from their traditional role as community fundraisers toward a new role as catalysts for community change. This journey has not taken place in isolation. United Way’s current focus on community impact has taken place alongside parallel developments in the field of community revitalization and advances in collaboration and collective impact.
Lessons learned in these related fields are increasingly cross-pollinating United Way’s own efforts. As local United Ways participate in (and often lead) these other efforts, the meaning of community impact is becoming more clear.
This paper explores how the concept of community impact has evolved for United Ways and what it may become in the future. It ends with an overview of the work of one leading United Way, the United Way of Central Iowa in Des Moines, which provides a concrete example of the community impact model in action, both for other local United Ways and for other organizations wishing to work with those United Ways.
The new paper, Operationalizing Live United, can be found here.
See also the related webinar, scheduled for July 10.