United Way of Story County believes in the power of our LIVE UNITED credo. We can do more together than any of us can do apart. Collective impact is the future of human services across the globe, as is true for us locally. We’ve been embracing this collective model for nearly a decade, but it was especially important as we focused our work in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a leader in convening our community to create positive change, collective impact helped to create a stronger Story County.
In 2015, we made a commitment to utilize the Results Based Accountability framework in reviewing our funded programs. This is a data-driven process that moves quickly from “talking about” to “taking action”. To figure out the most important performance measures needed, we asked: How much did we do? How well did we do it? Is anyone better off? These questions showed us the depth of program engagement, defined the effectiveness of programs, and determined if people were benefiting from the services that were being delivered.
Once our most powerful performance measures were determined, we understood what we had to do. Right before the pandemic hit, we set out to develop a five year impact plan, what we now call our 2025 Community Impact Goals. Structured around our key focus areas of health, education, and financial stability; these three goals will guide our work and investments to ensure real, measurable outcomes for our focus areas moving forward. Many of our funded programs feed right into these three goals. Based on collected agency data, we noted baselines of where these programs were at in fiscal year 2018-2019 and created bold, targeted goals for five years out, fiscal year 2023-2024.
Setting measurements for success raises awareness of key issues, increases accountability for change, and highlights the need for action. By setting these bold goals to combat the issues of today, United Way is leading the way in reimagining what’s next.
By 2025, we are committed to achieving the following community impact goals:
Health: Improve community health by serving 4,500 more people
Education: Decrease the achievement gap by reaching 30% more underserved learners
Financial Stability: Strengthen financial stability by increasing the number of people served by 25%
Throughout the pandemic, we know many agency programs and services have been hit hard. Some programs were forced to decrease the number of individual’s served, or stop services altogether. While we believe that our goals need to remain high, we know we have work to do to combat the obstacles and setbacks that COVID-19 caused. Through this first year of working towards these goals, we knew that change wasn’t going to happen overnight. As strongly as we were in the beginning, we remain committed to work tirelessly to connect partners, eliminate barriers, and put forth positive changes to reach these goals. Together, we will reimagine a Story County that is stronger for everyone, and we’ll be able to prove it.