FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 3, 2012

Generous community support and United Way: Together, our goals are reachable

The Board of Directors at United Way of Dane County approved $15 million in investments from the successful 2011 campaign into 80 nonprofits, representing 203 programs. More than 38,000 Dane County residents and workers from more than 1,100 organizations showed their commitment to our community’s Agenda for Change by participating in the 2011 United Way campaign.

“Together, Dane County is standing together to end family homelessness, keep our seniors independent and safe, ensure our children are prepared and eager to learn as they enter school and so much more,” said Greg Dombrowski, Campaign Chair and President of Johnson Bank, “We couldn’t have made the progress in our community that we have without your help and commitment to reaching our goals.”

Here are some highlights:
Education: Improving academic achievement is receiving a total of $3,462,961. United Way is committed to ensuring all students succeed academically and graduate from high school, regardless of race. Two initiatives are making real impact in this area. The first, Schools of Hope, led by Centro Hispano, provides one-to-one or one-to-two tutoring to elementary students by trained volunteers in literacy and math in concert with the teacher’s curriculum. The second, Achievement Connections, is led by Urban League of Greater Madison and provides tutors to middle and high school students. Together in 2010, 1,069 volunteers tutored more than 7,200 students in Madison Metropolitan School District, Sun Prairie, Middleton-Cross Plains and Oregon.

Children: Ensuring that children are ready to learn by kindergarten will receive a total of $1,150,470. The Born Learning initiative implements several strategies to make sure children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school. These strategies include 28 Play and Learn sites where a teacher and an aide teach adults how to be their child’s first teacher, assessing a child’s developmental progress and home visitation. In this program, specialists visit with families bi-weekly, teaching parents how to use an educational toy or book (provided by the program) to increase their child’s literacy and communication skills. The program is a collaboration between Center for Families and the Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin.

Housing: Reducing family homelessness will receive a total of $2,591,517. Investments in this area connect families to financial counseling, quality case management, access to surplus food and benefits, and direct access to permanent housing through our Housing First strategy. Housing First is an innovative strategy that costs half as much as shelter and is more than twice as effective. Research shoes families that enter shelter have only a 37% chance of becoming independent. But, if a family is stabilized in Housing First, they have an 80% chance at remaining independent. United Way’s housing initiatives are stabilizing over 2,000 families in Dane County. Key partners in ending family homelessness include YWCA, Road Home, Salvation Army, and Porchlight.

Independence: Helping seniors remain safe and healthy will receive a total of $1,433,615. Dane County’s senior population is projected to grown 130% and will represent 18% of the total population in 2030. Safe and Healthy Aging focuses on strategies for seniors and caregivers to identify and address the risk of negative drug reactions and falls so seniors can stay in their homes and remain independent. Additional strategies include providing comprehensive medication evaluations through pharmacists, at-risk home assessments and community education. Key partners in this are are Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Pharmacy Quality Collaborative, Home Health United, Safe Communities Falls Prevention Task Force, Focal Points and Area Agency on Aging of Dane County.

“United Way and our many partners are creating measurable results through the Agenda for Change,” said Lucia Nuñez, Vision Council Chair, “More than 120 volunteers thoughtfully evaluated each program receiving funds and, thanks to the community’s financial support, we have these generous resources to continue our progress to improve lives and strengthen Dane County.”

“By tackling the underlying causes to create lasting solutions in the community United Way is making a measurable impact in Dane County,” Leslie Ann Howard, President & CEO, United of Dane County said. “We do this by bringing together agencies, donors, businesses, volunteers, government and community leaders to review data, research and best practices to identify strategies that achieve community-scale results. Through this combination of the generosity of Dane County and the power of volunteerism, we are able to change lives in our community.”

Our Community’s Agenda for Change
EDUCATION
• Students succeed academically and graduate from high school, regardless of race.
• Children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school.

SAFETY
• There is a decrease in family homelessness.
• There is a reduction in violence toward individuals and families.

HEALTH
• People’s health issues are identified and treated early.
• Seniors and people with disabilities are able to stay in their homes.

United Way engages our community mobilizes volunteers and strengthens local nonprofits to achieve measurable results and change lives.

United Way of Dane County

United Way of Dane County is addressing the underlying causes of community issues through our community’s Agenda for Change—seven goals focused on three priority areas of Education, Safety and Health that our community identified as most critical to changing lives and strengthening Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, we are achieving measurable results toward making our community better educated, safer, and healthier. United Way provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate, and volunteer to change the human condition
in Dane County.