About Us

Together, we are The Power of Many. Working for All.

United Way of Dane County has been tackling Dane County’s toughest challenges for 98 years. With a mission to unite the community to achieve measurable results and change lives, we are committed to build a Dane County where everyone can succeed in school, work and life. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, United Way brings the many voices of Dane County together to find common ground and develop a strategic architecture for change, while engaging businesses and individuals to give, advocate and volunteer in Dane County.


Our Mission

Unite the community to achieve measurable results and change lives.

Our Vision

A Dane County where everyone can succeed in school, work and life

Equity Statement

We aim to increase economic stability and decrease racial disparity in all our work. For Dane County to reach its fullest potential, we commit to engaging and involving diverse communities in decision making, leadership and action to achieve equitable outcomes in education, financial stability and health. We honor differences and create safe spaces for all voices to find common ground in building one community.


Children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school.

Decades of research show a child’s first years are a period full of exponential brain development with significant opportunity and vulnerability, depending on the relationships and environment in which the child is growing.

United Way of Dane County invests in and provides thought leadership for three evidence-informed home visiting programs—Parent-Child Home Program, Welcome Baby and Beyond, and KinderReady—through partner agencies that help parents establish positive relationships with their children while providing early literacy skills to children.

171 families received home visiting, two-generation programs that provide positive parenting skills to parents and early literacy skills children.

88% of children who complete the Parent Child Home Program are ready for Kindergarten.

Students succeed academically and graduate from high school prepared for higher education, career and community.

Education is one of the key building blocks to a stable life. It benefits the community for generations: high school graduates have higher earning potential, contribute more to their local economies, and are more likely to raise kids who graduate on time while there are negative effects for those who do not graduate high school. Third grade reading scores are highly correlated with later academic success and one reason why early interventions are important.

United Way of Dane County in partnership with AmeriCorps invests in and serves as program directors, staff, and tutors of Schools of Hope, a program that has provided individualized literacy instruction in elementary schools for over twenty years.

57% (1,218) of a combined 2,146 elementary, middle and high school students received 15+ hours of tutoring in reading and math.


More people are on pathways out of poverty.

Jobs go unfilled in Dane County because employers can’t find workers with the right qualifications, while those in greatest need of a job often don’t have the necessary skillsets to be hired and earn family-sustaining wages.

United Way of Dane County in partnership with agencies and employers invests in education and industry-specific training that ultimately provide individuals with the means to obtain jobs that grow into a career with family-sustaining wages through the HIRE initiative.

In 2019, 518 people found employment through the HIRE Initiative, and 306 of them were employed at a job earning $15 an hour or more. Since 2013, 2,965 participants have found employment including 842 (29%) at $15+/hr.

There is a decrease in family homelessness.

Children who are homeless are twice as likely to go hungry than other children, they experience three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems and are more than twice as likely as others to repeat a school grade, be expelled or suspended, or drop out of high school.

United Way of Dane County invests in and provides thought leadership for three partner agencies through the Housing First program by providing quality case management and direct access to affordable housing for families facing homelessness.

546 families were stability housed and 1,190 children remained in the same school through our Rapid Rehousing and Decreased School Mobility programs.


People’s health issues are identified and treated early.

Mental health concerns that go untreated can have a devastating effect on children leading to low academic achievement, and possibly, low employment outcomes.

United Way of Dane County partners with Journey Mental Health and local school districts to offer the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) school-based group intervention for youth who have experienced a traumatic event and are experiencing mental health concerns.

3,775 Dane County students received behavioral health treatment, helping them focus academically. 3,312 6th graders in 5 districts assessed for anger, anxiety, and depression; 331 referred and treated.

Seniors and people with disabilities are able to stay in their homes.

When older adults take multiple medications, they are at an increased risk of having an adverse drug event (negative reaction to a medication), which can lead to falls, hospitalization, and/or nursing home care.

United Way of Dane County partners with the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin on the Comprehensive Medication Review program to complete assessments of medication and prescriptions for older adults at community locations.

225 older adults received comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs) through the community-based CMR and medical-based Smart Meds programs and Safe at Home Program.

Charity Navigator

For the 10th straight year, United Way of Dane County has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

For the 10th straight year, United Way of Dane County has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. This is the highest possible rating and indicates that our organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that we exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in our area of work and indicates that United Way of Dane County outperforms most other charities in America. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets us apart and demonstrates our trustworthiness to the public.