Tackling Generational Poverty: The “How” behind our “Why”

By Ann D. Murtlow


When people ask me, “What does United Way do?” it excites me.


Not just because of our tradition of improving lives across six counties in Central Indiana or the countless individuals and families that we’ve supported and elevated out of the most challenging circumstances. Not just because of the programs, the leadership, or the energy that our name brings to communities near and far.


It excites me because it gives me a chance to share our why: why what we do matters...to our neighbors and our community at large.


We bring our knowledge of our community and its challenges together with our broad network of corporate and individuals, donors and volunteers, and our relationship with hundreds of community based organizations and government officials at the state and local level to address complex issues like generational poverty, but we know we can’t do it alone. So no matter what point you decided to join us on our 101-year journey or in what capacity you’ve chosen to support our goals, YOU MATTER!


With that in mind, when we launched our new strategic framework in August 2018, we recognized that while our efforts to fight for the education, financial stability, health, and basic needs for every person in our communities had been largely successful, the interests and passions of our stakeholders were changing. Our donors wanted to see how their dollars translated directly into long-term, sustainable solutions that enveloped our four pillars. Our advocates wanted to strengthen their voices around public policy issues to accelerate change at scale.  And our volunteers wanted more ways to remain engaged in the areas that are important them.


That’s why we developed Impact Funds – innovative and strategic impact initiatives designed for everyone who has helped shape our organization with one goal: helping tens of thousands of struggling families in Central Indiana find and maintain stability.


Whether you believe in supplying individuals and families with the essentials they need to survive today, serving both children and their parents together to achieve long-term, sustainable, financial or educational success, or want to enhance technology and test new innovative ideas with the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for our neighbors, our Impact Funds deliver.


So, what does United Way do?


WE make change happen.  WE address the changing nature of poverty in our community in new ways.  WE help struggling families by addressing not just their dire needs today but also helping families achieve their long-term potential.


If you want to change lives, there’s never been a better time to be part of our story.

Join us.


Ann D. Murtlow is the president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. Under her leadership, she has paved the way to the “New U” – a bold, community impact strategy focused on moving struggling families to self-sufficiency through strategies that support Basic Needs (and the network of community based organization providing services critical to survival), Family Opportunity (integrated services that break the cycle of generational poverty), and Social Innovation (incubating and scaling new practices). Prior to United Way of Central Indiana, Ann had a 30-year career in the global energy industry. She serves on the boards of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Indy Chamber and The Mind Trust. She is a past chair of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. She also served as chair of the advisory group established by Governor Eric Holcomb to recommend census tract nominations for Opportunity Zone status.