Special Community/Police Task Force Listening Sessions

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Leaders from communities of color and law enforcement (Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration) have been meeting since October of 2014 in the wake of the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, MO to discuss and address issues of relationships between those communities and law enforcement. Following the officer-involved shooting of Tony Robinson on March 6, we have a renewed sense of urgency and gravity to establish community-informed standards within the issues of greatest concern in community policing.

The Community Collaboration created the Special Community/Police Task Force to look at major issues they’ve identified to improve relationships between communities of color and law enforcement. Use of Force is the first area of focus the members of the task force is reviewing.

The Special Community/Police Task Force invites you to help us understand our community.
Your voice is needed!  Please come and share your feelings, thoughts and experiences about critical issues in Dane County in the areas of police engagement & encounters, use of force and trust. All members of the greater Madison community are invited to join the conversations, especially those with personal experiences to share. The ideas shared during these sessions will inform the final recommendations this task force creates.

A light dinner will be provided.
Questions? Contact Jay Young at (608) 246-5497 or jay.young@uwdc.org


Stop, Collaborate and Listen: A Renewed Focus on a Great Communication Tool

BVN Google Site:

What are the benefits of the BVN Google Site?

BVN, under the guidance of Brian Jensen, relaunched the BVN Google Site at the February 2014 annual meeting and provided a refresher at the February 2015 meeting. The site is customizable and a work in progress. We can easily modify the site at any time. Highlights include the opportunity to upload and store documents, maintain an active membership directory, and share information.

We can also restrict access and permissions. While it is a member benefit, the site can also be used as a recruitment tool, for example, if we want to tout our best practices file.

How do I get to it?
Click here to access the private site: https://sites.google.com/a/fishidy.com/bvn-membership-resources/

How do I get permission to contribute to the site?

Can’t access the site? We’ve been working diligently to get all our member information added. If you can’t access the site it might be because we do not have your gmail information. Please email Brian Jensen at brian@fishidy.com with your Gmail email address and he will work his magic. Don’t have a gmail account?

Here is how to create a free account: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=mail

Once approved, any user can add documents, modify content, and participate in discussions. This is a great tool to use between meetings to keep in touch and support each other’s volunteer efforts.

How do I add my information to the director?

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Two simple clicks!

How do I help improve the site?

2015 brings a renewed effort to use the site to its potential. As mentioned at our February annual meeting, we’d love your help to grow the site to be a more valuable resource for everyone. Please make sure you add your company information to the membership directory and feel free to upload best practice information, a community event or start a discussion on the forum.

What are other ways to keep in touch with BVN members?

The board is working on improving communication. This new and improved enewsletter is just one example. It will be emailed approximately two weeks after each meeting. We also have a BVN group on LinkedIn. Not a member? Join today!

Leadership Giving Recognition Breakfast

February 3, 2015
7:30am – 9:00am

The Madison Concourse Hotel
1 W Dayton St
Madison, WI 53703Directions

Contact Juliana Mesa
(608) 246-4384

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Registration is now closed.

Thank you for your interest in the Leadership Giving Recognition Breakfast. Unfortunately, our attendance is at full capacity. Please contact Faustina Bohling at FBohling@uwdc.org or call 608-246-4377 to join the wait list.

United Way to Focus on 13 Neighborhoods to Connect Early Education to Graduation

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Ensuring children enter kindergarten ready to learn is a key strategy is closing the racial achievement gap in Dane County. Developmental gaps appear in the first 1,000 days of life.

 On May 2, United Way’s Born Learning Delegation 2.0 announced five key strategies in Dane County to ensure that every child in our community enters school with the skills necessary to learn and succeed. The plan takes on a holistic approach to early childhood education which layers these strategies in 13 neighborhoods (Leopold, Sun Prairie, Verona, Northside of Madison, Hammersley/Theresa Terrace, South & Southeast Madison (includes Owl Creek), Allied, Balsam/Russett, Darbo, Southwest Madison, Middleton/Cross Plains, Stoughton and Marshall) in Dane County. This community vision—The Born Learning Mobilization Plan—will:

  • Ensure parents are engaged, informed and supported in how to be their child’s first teacher.
  • Employ developmental screening to identify delays and help families find appropriate supports.
  • Create a community of practice to support practitioners, case managers, and resource centers who serve them.
  • Partner with healthcare professionals to reach families and have the critical conversations to help quickly connect them with support.
  • Employ these tactics in 13 neighborhoods within Dane County.

Over 40 community leaders, with input from parents, other caregivers, and childcare providers have created a plan that unifies the community in a common vision to ensure 80% of our community’s four-year-olds will be at age-expected development and ready to begin school by 2020.

“The brain is developing quickly during these critical first five years of life and sets the stage for life-long success,” says Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive and United Way of Dane County’s Born Learning Delegation Co-Chair. “National data tells us that the Achievement Gap starts early. We see gaps as early as 18 months in and they grow wider from there without intervention. In fact, some children are as much as two years behind their peers when they are age 5.”

In May 2013, the Delegation began its work examining the early childhood education environment in Dane County through which low-income children and families receive early education experiences.

“As part of our year of work, we’ve engaged a wide variety of stakeholders within the early childhood care and education system,” says Michael Morgan, United Way of Dane County’s Born Learning Delegation Co-Chair. “These include, but are not limited to: schools, faith communities, day care providers, healthcare providers, families, neighborhood centers, and behavioral health providers. Through site visits, research presentations, and feedback sessions, the delegation sought to fully understand the current system, identify best practices, and focus on key improvements.”Brain Sign

The vision and mobilization plan, being launched today, addresses the problem of school readiness in children under the age of five through these targeted ways:

1. Parents are engaged, informed and supported in how to be their child’s first teacher.
Work will continue to focus on supporting strategies with goals of engaging parents in how to be their child’s first teacher.

  • The plan will increase the reach of education experiences for children and their caregivers (such as Play and Learn) and home visitation programs (such as The Parent-Child Home Program) while continuing to expand the work to most effectively reach parents in locations where they already are as part of their daily routines (i.e. health care lobbies, libraries, faith communities)

2. Holistic family supports are focused on 13 neighborhoods in Dane County.
These include: Leopold, Sun Prairie, Verona, Northside of Madison, Hammersley/Theresa Terrace, South & Southeast Madison (includes Owl Creek), Allied, Balsam/Russett, Darbo, Southwest Madison, Middleton/Cross Plains, Stoughton and Marshall.

  • The plan will increase supported community spaces accessible for play and learning in these communities. Special emphasis will also be placed in these communities to ensure that supports through trusted local partners are available to families needing housing, food access, behavioral health treatment, and employment.
  • Two generation supports will be available, recognizing that to best help children we must also help parents and caregivers.

3. Children are screened for developmental delays and families are provided with appropriate supports for children who show delays.
This strategy focuses on increasing the number of developmental screenings to help increase parent education and refer children to resources if developmental delays are discovered.

  • The plan recommends a staff position to serve as a resource to the county to focus on outreach and continue data collection of the top physician recommended developmental screener called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). This position will identify, engage, and train nontraditional partners about ASQ and child development and the importance of screening.  These partners may include faith communities and neighborhood centers.
  • Screeners are also parent engagement tools, providing fun activities and benchmarks for parents to understand milestones and to access support if delays are identified.

4. A community of practice is created for practitioners, case managers, and resource centers for those serving families with children under five years old.

  • The plan will create a coordinated, structured system for practitioners where best practices can be shared, challenges can be discussed and will facilitate connections to programs and networks.

5. Healthcare professionals are knowledgeable of community supports and can easily link parents to such supports.

  • The plan will work with healthcare professionals, who are trusted advisors for families with young children, to provide them with knowledge, tools, and links to help them make efficient and quick referrals for a family’s needs.

In addition, the business community is stepping forward to take a stand for literacy and early reading in the community. Through the generous support of BMO Harris Bank, “Books for Babies” bags will be distributed through our local hospitals to parents of newborns in Dane County. These kits include several books for the child, tips on how to read and engage with your child in the first five years, and a list of additional resources and help available in Dane County.

“It’s clear that for the systems that provide early childhood experiences in our area to change and grow, the community must own a part of this plan,” says Leslie Ann Howard, President & CEO of United Way of Dane County. “We acknowledge the great partnerships of so many nonprofit, community, government, and neighborhood leaders who have come together to create this vision for our community’s youngest residents to ensure that each and every one of them can reach their full potential. Without this collaboration and the community’s support, we won’t be able to make this happen. Thank you.”


  • Developmental gaps can be seen within the first 1,000 days of life. Investing in quality early childhood experiences is critical for the future of Dane County.
  • There are approximately 30,000 children under the age of five in Dane County. Of those children, nearly 1 in 5 are living in poverty. In Madison it is 1 in 4.
  • Approximately 2,000 children living in poverty are being cared for by their families, friends or neighbors and are not cared for in formal child care or early education settings.
  • All children do not arrive at school for kindergarten ready to learn and ready for success at school.  In Dane County, disparities exist in children’s development and readiness for success in school. In 2013, only 60% of children in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) scored “ready for kindergarten” on the MMSD’s Kindergarten Screener.  This number is lowest for African American children (38%), Hispanic children (29%), Asian children (55%), and children of two or more races (67%).
  • Investing in education and development in child’s early years has profound returns.  A 40-year longitudinal study that followed infants into adulthood shows that investing $1 in high-quality early developmental practices saves $17 down the road as measured by a decrease in crime, a decrease in teen pregnancies and an increase in education and earning levels.

Our Community’s Agenda for Change


  • Students succeed academically and graduate from high school, regardless of race.
  • Children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school.


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


  • 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.

About 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—six 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.

HIRE Education Employment Initiative Kick-Off Event

Please Join us for the HIRE Education Employment Initiative Kick-Off Event

Wednesday, April 10 from 5:00-6:00pm at Madison College West Campus (2nd Floor)

HIRE Education Employment Initiative Kick-Off Registration

Learn more about how you can be part of shaping our community’s workforce and gain access to the skilled employees you need!

There are 31,000 people in Dane County over the age of 18 who do not have a high school diploma. HIRE Education Employment Initiative will focus on these adults who do not have a high school diploma and want to obtain marketable skills relevant to today’s economy.

By providing a navigation plan to employment, HIRE Education Employment Initiative strives to align participant’s skills with employer needs.

HIRE Education Employment Initiative will…

1. Improve your ability to hire employees with the skill sets or certifications needed for your industry

2. Provide potential applicants with interpersonal, critical thinking and problem solving skills

3. Offer opportunities to diversify your workforce

4. Give you the opportunity to be a visible partner in building our local economy

The HIRE Education Employment Initiative is a Dane County partnership between: United Way of Dane County, Literacy Network, Centro Hispano, Department of Workforce Development, Madison College, Omega School, Operation Fresh Start, Urban League of Greater Madison, Vera Court Neighborhood Center and YWCA Madison with advisory support from WI Department of Public Instruction and University of Wisconsin- Madison Law School