(Multigenerational Approach)

Vision: Build family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children under five and the adults in their lives together.

Goal: Families with children under five who are experiencing poverty have coordinated access to cross-generational supports to meet their needs in the areas of education, income and health.

Why it Matters:

Scholars and community leaders consistently point to similar strategies for family stability and mobility from poverty: coordinated holistic programs and policies that support and empower families by providing access to programs that help meet their goals simultaneously for children and caregivers. For example, high quality education and housing partnered with public policies that support benefits and thoughtful data use and tracking.

Currently 9% of Dane County children under the age of 5 are experiencing poverty (2015-2019 U.S. Census 5-year
estimates) and 77% of MMSD students are Kindergarten Ready.

INCOME Fast Facts


 3 Partners focusing on early childhood education (home visiting), employment and housing.


 10 Partners focusing on early childhood education (home visiting), employment and housing.


 2 Partners providing high-quality childcare and housing.


4 Partners focusing on early childhood education and mental health services.

In 2021, we are investing $1,659,434 in 17 programs at 11 nonprofit partners.

Deeper Dive: What is 2Gen?

In 2019, we launched this new area of investment in order to focus specifically on how the well-being of adults we serve directly impacts the well-being of their children, and vice versa. Through this multigenerational lens, we work with our nonprofit partners to identify the historical and structural barriers that undermine a family’s overall well-being. Because we know that while adults and children have different needs, they’re interdependent.

For example, if parents know that their child is in a safe, high-quality learning environment, they can focus their energy on obtaining jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage, rather than worrying about care for their child.

When we focus on ways to coordinate our efforts across our Agenda for Change pillars we’re more likely to help multigenerational families find the balance they need to thrive in our community.


Strengthen family outcomes through 2Gen collaborative programs that improve family well-being through the areas of income, education and health.

Cultivate and strengthen partners within 2Gen collaborations to provide more comprehensive services for families and support quality improvement of programs.

The Playing Field

With the support of United Way of Dane County, The Playing Field was able to open a second location in 2020 – even in the midst of a pandemic. These learning centers are focused on providing high-quality early education and childcare to families from varied socio-economic backgrounds including families who are experiencing poverty or homelessness. These efforts set children up for future success and allow parents to focus on their employment and other family needs, knowing their kids are in good hands.

Want to help us build multigenerational family well-being?

For more information, please contact Sheldon Hitchens at Sheldon.Hitchens@uwdc.org • (608) 246-4363

United Way of Dane County Invests in 2Gen-based Programs at These Agencies

Anesis Center for Marriage
and Family Therapy
Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin- DBA Children’s Hospital of WI
Community Action Coalition
for South Central Wisconsin, Inc.
Dane County Department of Human Services
Goodman Community Center, Inc.
Madison Children’s Museum
Northside Planning Council
Porchlight, Inc.
The Playing Field
The Rainbow Project, Inc.
The Road Home Dane County, Inc.
YWCA Madison, Inc.