This March I accepted the position as the United Way of Kenosha County Board Chairwoman and now I find myself further inspired every day by the organization’s forward-thinking perspective on how to create individual and community impact.
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Wendy DuBoe, President and Chief Executive Officer for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, the largest private funder of health and human services in the Chicago region, speak at Carthage College. DuBoe’s presentation focused on United Way’s LIVE UNITED 2020 IMPACT PLAN, which focuses on initiatives that support income, education, and health as the foundation of healthy communities.
It is this focus on collective impact that drives my belief that a collaborative future is necessary for Kenosha County, and all communities for that matter, to meet social challenges. It is now necessary to focus on building the ecosystems DuBoe referenced of service networks at central locations, instead of focusing on funding separate entities that service individual community needs at individual locations.
DuBoe shared a startling statistic at the start of her presentation: 21% of children in the midwest live below the poverty line. But did you realize 67% of Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha members live below the poverty line? That’s right. When you walk in the Club, seven out of ten kids that cross your path are living below the poverty line right here in Kenosha. These kids are our neighbors and the future of Kenosha. If you take the time to hear their stories and look in their eyes I can guarantee you will recognize why choosing to Live United is essential now more than ever.
At the end of the day the Live United strategy is simple for me to get behind. Why? Because it’s exactly what I’ve seen my strongest clients adopt throughout the recession. All of their success stories started with identifying a realistic foundation and desired outcomes and achieving them through collaborative efforts to make the greatest impact.
By Jennifer Dooley