Our Impact

The Plan for Community Well-Being

At United Way of Dane County, we’re innovating forward with the Plan for Community Well-Being – a plan built with our community, for the community. This vision for a brighter future focuses on increasing individual and family well-being so that everyone in Dane County can lead healthy, thriving and secure lives – making our entire community stronger and better positioned to thrive.

This vision includes strategies around early childhood, education, income and health – the building blocks of well-being. By continuing to work together with you, hundreds of local nonprofits, businesses, community leaders, donors, volunteers and families, we’re addressing big-picture issues that no one person or organization can solve alone. And, through these collaborations, we aim to create a more cohesive nonprofit ecosystem and achieve greater results.

Together, we are The Power of Many. Working for All. And we invite every Dane County resident to be a part of the change.

Our vision for a brighter future in Dane County includes these strategic goals:

Early Childhood

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

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Research and community input consistently show that coordinated, holistic programs and policies that help meet children and caregivers’ goals simultaneously lead to increased family stability and mobility from poverty – leading to greater success across generations.

We’re invested in 15 local nonprofits and 23 local programs to identify and address the historical and structural barriers that undermine a family’s overall well-being. Through these partnerships, we work with the family to solve problems and provide new resources to meet their goals.

We know success when children have quality early childhood experiences, setting the foundation for high school graduation, obtaining employment, securing a home and having access to quality health care. We’ll evaluate this measure’s progress by the decrease in number of children under 5 experiencing poverty.


All students succeed academically and graduate high school prepared for higher education, career and community.

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Individuals who finish high school are more likely to have the skills required to be successful in postsecondary education, an increasingly complicated job market and society. And adults with higher education levels are more likely to gain employment with family-sustaining wages.

We’re invested in 18 local nonprofits and 32 local programs that help prepare youth for the classroom and life beyond through mentorship, tutoring and social-emotional learning. We’ve also partnered with AmeriCorps for our Schools of Hope Program, providing individualized literacy instruction in elementary schools for over twenty years.

We will measure progress by tracking the percent of Dane County students who graduate high school.


More people are on pathways out of poverty.

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When more individuals have jobs earning family-sustaining wages and safe and affordable housing, they are less stressed and more able to provide for themselves and their families – better positioning the entire community and our economy to thrive.

We’re invested in 16 local nonprofits and 32 local programs that help more families get what they need to become economically stable. We also partner with six local agencies and 50 employers through our HIRE initiative – a program which focuses on helping adults prepare for and find steady employment.

We will measure our progress by tracking the percent of Dane County individuals with a household income 200% above the Federal Poverty Level – which is what a family of three needs to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Dane County. We acknowledge that barriers exist to accessing affordable housing in Dane County, which we are also working with partners to address.


A Dane County absent of racial health disparities.

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While Dane County remains a top place to live, raise a family and retire, for our BIPOC neighbors (including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Southeast Asian and people of color), education, income and health inequities and disparities remain consistent. Unfortunately, in Dane County the color of your skin and the ZIP code in which you live have a significant impact on your quality of life, life expectancy and a wide range of health outcomes.

It is important that we work actively to reduce these disparities and ensure all have equal access to health care by supporting community-based health programs. To address this issue, we’re invested in 14 local nonprofits and 14 local programs that aim to reduce health disparities faced by our BIPOC community members.

We will measure progress by tracking life expectancy in Dane County – a good measure of the population’s longevity and general health.

United Way mobilizes the caring power of our community to create lasting change for multiple generations: The Power of Many. Working for All.