UNITED WAY Neighborhood Network
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s UNITED WAY Neighborhood Network takes community change and impact to the next level. Working with a lead partner in the community, United Way organizes and integrates a network of resources in education, income and health in a central location, usually a school, in one of our 58 communities of greatest need. This model allows families to access the necessary mix of quality programs under one roof.
United Way acts as a coordinator among network partners to establish shared goals, deliverables, timelines and measurements to ensure accountability toward outcomes: more high school graduates, more financially stable households and more families with access to quality preventative health care.
Each Neighborhood Network is designed to meet the needs of each diverse community. Services coordinated and integrated by the Neighborhood Networks may include:
- Expansion of pre-school childhood partners to increase access to high quality early childhood education
- Implementation of parent-mentor programs to increase parent/family investment in student education
- Implementation of health care promoter program to promote healthy environments in support of childhood obesity prevention
- Training for parent mentor and health care promoters to assist adults in finding family sustaining jobs
- Matched savings accounts and skills training to help households improve their financial position
- Expansion of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance services to increase families’ access to supports to make ends meet
- Development of data-sharing systems to measure impact
Need in the areas of education, income and health across Chicagoland has never been greater:
Graduation rates in Chicago Public Schools are only 65% in 2013 versus 87% across Illinois
1.4 million people (15%) are poor in the Chicago metropolitan area
1.6 million people are uninsured in Illinois; many aren’t able to navigate the new Affordable Care Act to access care
The need for broad cross-sector collaboration to address complex social problems has been well-documented in recent years. However, despite diminishing resources, too many efforts within the non-profit sector continue to be fragmented and disjointed, diluting their overall impact. Through the UNITED WAY Neighborhood Network, United Way brings together the right partners and resources to develop and implement solutions one neighborhood at a time.
UNITED WAY Neighborhood Networks accelerate the achievement of the overarching goals of LIVE UNITED 2020: Help 50,000 underperforming middle school kids enter high school ready to succeed, advance economic stability for 100,000 households, and connect more than 200,000 people with available, preventative health services. United Way convenes a diverse array of stakeholders in each community to develop tailored goals and a programmatic composition that best meets that community’s specific needs, demographics and culture.
Measurable outcomes that are being tracked in each Neighborhood Network include:
- # of pre-school children ready for kindergarten
- # of middle school students promoted to the next grade level and on track to graduate
- Parent engagement indicators
- # of people placed in jobs and job retention rates
- # of people improving their financial position (income, net worth, credit score)
- Dollars generated through tax return assistance
- # of people connected to a primary care provider
- # of people who reduced barriers to access health care