Community impact

By Craig Chancellor

United Way is changing its ways – for the better.

The old thermometer is gone and the organization is transforming itself into one focused on strengthening communities and improving lives.

The United Way system is undergoing a fundamental change.

Instead of focusing simply on raising and distributing donor investments, United Way’s goal is to achieve measurable impact in the following areas:

* Preventing and reducing homelessness.

* Providing access to services through United Way 2-1-1 and Teaming for Technology.

* Boosting the success of our children and youth.

* Sustain stable families free of crisis and abuse.

* Increasing access to health services for the underinsured.

* Ensuring services to support the independence of our seniors.

This significant difference changes the very purpose of United Way from funding only agencies into a role of partnering with regional service providers, leaders and experts to focus on issues and problems facing our community, and provide clear-cut investment portfolios of programs and initiatives resulting in long-term measurable change.

Already, Triangle United Way is playing a key role in developing the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in Wake County. and is preparing to play key roles in both Durham and Orange counties as their planning processes gets underway.

Developing the long-term goals for ending homeless in the Triangle is just one step in the process.

Right now, Triangle United Way’s volunteer-led Community Care Teams are investing contributions to the Community Care Fund in the safety net of community programs that prevent people from becoming homeless.

Through this partnership with local agencies, 41,421 people last year got help to prevent homelessness, and 444 people who were among the 2,067 homeless in our region received the help and support they need to move into safe, stable and affordable housing.

Now, those 444 people are being transitioned into tomorrow’s contributing citizens.

On September 29, invited by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, I spoke at a White House Conference on Homelessness, representing United Ways throughout the U.S.

United Ways, I said, are critical to developing public-private partnerships focused on this issue. We play a role in mobilizing our community to improve lives and address the root causes of homelessness.

By working with partners around a common issue, we hope to create a model program — a blueprint for others to follow.

Triangle United Way stands in the gap to ensure services that improve lives and create long-term sustained change – community impact.

That means identifying gaps in services and plugging in solutions.  Today’s United Way doesn’t do it alone, but with the help and support of government, nonprofit, business and citizen partners.

Triangle United Way is a partner in creating a stronger community where hope and positive change are possible.

Craig Chancellor is president and CEO of Triangle United Way in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

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