uw_rgb_ful Dane County

Madison, WI (March 30, 2016) – Thanks to the generosity of Dane County workplaces and individuals, more than $19 million will be invested in local, critical strategies dedicated to our community’s toughest issues. Dane County companies and residents demonstrated the power of their giving in 2015 with an incredible response to the community’s campaign. After deep listening and strategic decision-making, United Way of Dane County’s Board of Directors approved $19.1 million to power local programming throughout 2016.

“All facets of the community came together to ensure our community’s generosity is having the greatest impact possible,” said Rich Lynch, United Way of Dane County’s Board Chair and J.H. Findorff and Son, Inc. Chairman. “The Board and I thank the many volunteers who give their time and expertise in this thorough, transparent process.”

Hundreds of community volunteers lead United Way’s investment process and they devote their time to understanding the community’s needs through listening sessions, conversations with non-profits, government agencies, higher education researchers and other key partners. They also conducted strategic evaluations of best practices and researched-based strategies to find those that most effectively change lives. These volunteers, who represent a diverse cross-section of Dane County, ensure the community’s voice is central in these investment decisions.

“This year, we are zeroing in on strategies that target two generations, so a young family can break the cycle of poverty,” said Claudio Diaz, Vision Council Chair, United Way Board member and Chief Human Capital Officer at Wipfli, LLP. “By investing in strategies that support a family with housing, employment and quality early learning resources at the same time, our community is demonstrating our commitment to ensuring families with young children are becoming economically stable.”

More than $9 million of the community’s investments will go toward programs that support the Strong Roots plan, which was announced in February. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced the recommendations of a delegation she and former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray led to determine how young families, particularly families of color, can become economically stable. The Delegation’s recommendations are the foundation for Strong Roots, a plan to carry out the strategies and tactics the Delegation laid out. You can find more information on Strong Roots here.

Some investment highlights:

  • $122,500 will be invested in the expansion of home visitation programs with Parent-Child Home and KinderReady. These programs focus on low-income families with young children, so they are prepared to enter school.
  • $25,000 will be dedicated to micro investments for small organizations in communities of color. This investment is designed to expand the capacity of grassroots organizations and develop volunteers for future leadership roles on non-profit boards and committees.
  • $320,000 of a $1 million HIRE Initiative special fund that was led by Jack Salzwedel, President, Chairman and CEO of American Family Insurance, in 2014 will be used in 2016. The one-time gift is being invested over three years.
    • In 2016, $250,000 will be used to expand the capacity of employment training at Centro Hispano, Madison-area Urban Ministry, Vera Court Neighborhood Center, Inc., Latino Academy of Workforce Development (LAWD), Urban League of Greater Madison and YWCA.
    • An additional $10,000 will go to LAWD to offset the cost of equipment new graduates must purchase as the begin working in the construction industry.
    • An additional $60,000 will be invested in YWCA and its YW Transit program. This critical program provides safe, nighttime rides for third-shift employees, enabling them to keep their jobs and build economic stability for themselves and their families.

“YWCA Madison is so grateful for the support and partnership of United Way of Dane County, and especially thankful for this additional funding for YW Transit,” said Rachel Krinsky, CEO of YWCA Madison. “The YW Transit program is the only affordable alternative for working people in Dane County who cannot access their jobs by bus due to location and/or scheduling.  The program was facing cuts this year, but thanks to United Way and other community contributors we will be able to maintain full service.”

“The community’s caring power is astounding. We are honored to mobilize that generosity into effective strategies that change lives in Dane County,” said Renee Moe, President and CEO of United Way of Dane County. “We are grateful for the leadership of our 2015 Campaign Chair Dan Rashke, Cabinet, Board Chair Rich Lynch and our Board and Vision Council. With their leadership and the community’s philanthropy, together, we are building a Dane County where everyone can succeed in school, work and life.”