The Journey Begins Now

One hundred years ago, United Way of Central Indiana began its journey to lift its community by raising funds to provide relief for those experiencing extreme hunger, illness and poverty. In the decades that followed, United Way’s journey grew from a community chest to community impact organization, encouraging donors, volunteers and advocates to come together to help eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency for our neighbors. Today, in our fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in or community, we’re focused on the more than 200,000 families in Central Indiana who are living in or are one step away from poverty, and ambitiously testing practices to stabilize these vulnerable households.

 

These are the families you might not recognize because on the outside, everything might look “fine.” On the inside, the story changes. The caregivers in this family are struggling to find jobs with high enough wages to cover basic household expenses, such as high-quality childcare and preschool, nutritious food, reliable transportation and health care. When our neighbors are worried about when they’ll get their next meal, or how they’ll get to work, they can’t focus on getting a better education or training that will help them earn a meaningful career, save for their first home, or achieve the economic stability that so many of us take for granted. And then, the cycle starts and the statistics are sobering:  a child born in poverty is not likely to climb out of poverty as an adult.

 

We’re here to break that cycle. That’s why, in our next 100 years of impact, United Way of Central Indiana is doubling down on our vision of making Central Indiana a community where children, individuals and families thrive. And we’re doing it by starting a new journey, reimagining our impact, our philanthropy, and our community engagement along the way.

 

Here’s where we will start. United Way’s Board of Directors has approved a new strategic framework that will:

 

  • Create strategic impact initiatives that move families toward self-sufficiency using a two-generation approach, while continuing our work to meet Hoosiers’ basic needs and to spur innovation in Central Indiana’s human services sector;
  • Focus on raising money, engaging people and creating impact via investments in services, community-based organizations, public policy work, partnerships and other activities, consistent with the goals of those strategic initiatives;
  • Make it easier than ever for our supporters in Central Indiana to give, advocate, and volunteer in causes and with organizations they are passionate about through personalized solutions, such as Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud, a next generation corporate and individual engagement platform resulting from our global partnership between United Way and Salesforce.org.

 

Poverty is an extremely complex and stubborn problem. It will take a bold, comprehensive and collaborative approach to move generations of Hoosiers to a better life. Guided by our new strategic framework and our 100 years of experience and impact, United Way of Central Indiana is uniquely positioned to rise to this challenge.

 

In the coming months, we’ll engage community partners in conversation about how we can refine our impact initiatives and open up greater opportunities to partner with Central Indiana’s thriving nonprofit community. And, we’ll work closely with United Way’s existing 85 partner agencies as they work to adapt to and align with this new approach.

 

Like all successful organizations, we are evolving. Although there’s a long road ahead of us, we’re confident that by connecting the significant needs of our community to the goals, interests and passions of you – our champions – we can tackle together the thorniest issues that face our neighbors in Central Indiana and usher in the next era of philanthropy and prosperity.

 

The journey starts today. The time to act is now.  We’ll keep you informed of our progress along the way. Thank you for raising your hand to change the game for our Central Indiana community.

 

Ann Murtlow