Game Changing Initiative: LIVE UNITED 2020

When the topic turns to soaring, inspirational rhetoric from the world of technology, most people would prefer to hear from Apple’s Steve Jobs than Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Of course, that is less a knock on Gates and more a tribute to Apple’s iconic leader. Gates, who in the last decade has become perhaps the world’s most influential philanthropist, certainly knows how to turn a phrase in his own right. One of my favorite examples is this quote from Mr. Microsoft. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Gates was not referencing LIVE UNITED 2020, but he could have been. Earlier this month, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago launched a program that is focused, bold and visionary. Best of all, it has the potential to transform communities of greatest need throughout our region.

So what is LIVE UNITED 2020?

In conjunction with United Way Worldwide, UWMC’s LIVE UNITED 2020 initiative will ensure people have the resources and tools they need to thrive. The three areas of focus are the building blocks of economic stability: income, education and health. Traditionally, UWMC’s role was to select and fund the best non-profit partners. LIVE UNITED 2020 goes beyond that. It mobilizes and scales all of its assets: funding, volunteers, legislative advocacy, technology, in-kind resources and corporate partnerships to deliver transformative, measurable results. LIVE UNITED 2020 will strive to: – Help 50,000 underperforming middle school kids enter high school ready to succeed – Connect more than 200,000 people with available, preventative health services – Advance economic stability for 100,000 households – Continue to answer the immediate crisis needs of 1 million people each year across the six-county region. Audacious goals to be sure, but there is a reason it is called LIVE UNITED 2020 and not LIVED UNITED 2012. Go back ten years with me. This is a snapshot of December 2001 – A gallon of gas cost $1.20 – An ounce of gold was $276.10 – The Blackhawks were the laughing stock of the NHL – Facebook was three years from its launch in a college dorm room – Rod Blagojevich was a respected public figure and Illinois’ next Gov. – The primary definition of application was an appeal for employment or admission – The first Harry Potter movie came out – Mel Gibson was one of the world’s most popular actors – Apple introduced something called an iPod – Michael Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards A lot can happen in ten years. Especially if for the next ten years we come together as a city and community to LIVE UNITED.

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