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Gregg Hetue column: Beyond the United Way Summit

8:58 PM, Jun. 8, 2013  |  Comments
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On May 23, the Brown County United Way held a summit at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The purpose was to update our Board of Directors and key community stakeholders on our 2012-2015 strategic planning process. The plan is to continue evolving our organization from a charitable fundraiser to one that takes an active role in improving community conditions for the common good. We will achieve this by strategically aligning resources and helping to mobilize our community members.

Key elements of this plan include:

1) Enhancing our existing community-change efforts

2) Collaborating to determine core priorities in the areas of education, self-sufficiency and health

3) Setting population-level goals that our entire community can rally around

4) Installing systems to measure our progress at a community level

In essence, while the Brown County United Way will continue to provide grants that support local safety-net programs, we will also leverage additional resources through partnerships and prioritization to address the root causes of critical community concerns. Some recent examples of this approach include the Brown County Oral Health Partnership, 2-1-1 Information and Referral, the Community Partnership for Children, the Community Information System, and most recently, a task force convened with Brown County Human Services to address increases in child abuse and neglect.

We take this work seriously and remain focused on continuous improvement internally as well as externally. Prioritizing what issues need attention and mobilizing our community to take collaborative action involves ongoing research, planning and intensive outreach to stakeholders.

Our prioritization process has been wide ranging, incorporating sources such as needs data from our 2-1-1 calls center, information gathered from our impact councils and experts working in the field, the Brown County LIFE Study and the subsequent Vision 20/20 conference, surveys and reports produced by Brown County United Way staff and various community partners, and community conversations with hundreds of Brown County citizens of many differing backgrounds. Brown County United Way staff also serves on a wide range of local, state and national committees to keep current on what others are seeing and working on.

By focusing on common goals and working together, all of us - collectively - can create shared solutions and ultimately change community conditions for the better. For information on ways to Give, Advocate or Volunteer through Brown County United Way, call (920) 432-3393 or email staff@browncountyunitedway.org.

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