A Lot has Happened in Five Weeks!!

Kenzie%27s-Beautiful-Headshotby MacKenzie Knight
Community Investment Advisor

It’s been a short 5 weeks since I joined United Way of Salt Lake as a Community Investment Advisor. And, while it has been a wild ride getting to know the ropes, it has been incredibly rewarding. This is my first job out of college, and let’s just say that it has definitely exceeded my expectations, even though I must admit that I was a bit nervous. United Way is a well-established and reputable organization, and the high expectations felt a bit daunting. But after just a few weeks, with the support of very kind and helpful coworkers, I am beginning to feel ready to take on the world of nonprofit fundraising in our community.

I grew up in Utah, both Salt Lake and Park City, and I graduated from the University of Utah with bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Psychology. I’ve always felt passionate about making a difference in my community and making the world a better place for everyone to live; I just wasn’t sure how to achieve that goal. There are so many ways to go about philanthropic work that I was overwhelmed. My focus on Political Science in school is what truly got me interested in the challenges that kids, families, and individuals in our community are facing. The cycle of poverty and the odds that are stacked up against kids and families can be extremely difficult for people to overcome- this is what motivated me to enter the nonprofit world. I knew that I can help change the oddsGrowing up, I was lucky enough to have a roof over my head and the security of knowing where my next meal was coming from. So many kids don’t share those same comforts. Because I had these opportunities, I want to do my part to support long-term positive change and contribute to the amazing work that United Way of Salt Lake and partners are doing.

One experience that really impressed me during my first couple of weeks at UWSL was volunteering at the Guadalupe School for Young Leaders Science Wednesday. Science Wednesday is an afterschool program where kids learn about different scientific topics. Along with other Young Leaders, I got to teach some adorable kindergarten kids about insects; it was such an incredibly gratifying experience! These kids were so engaged and having so much fun, and knowing that the organization that I work for was working with partners to provide this kind of amazing opportunity for kids was truly awe-inspiring.

MckenzieThis past month has certainly been fast and furious in the best of ways. I’ve already had so many incredible and unforgettable experiences and I’m very excited to see what new adventures will come next. I am no longer overwhelmed by all of the ways I can make a difference in my community, because United Way of Salt Lake has provided me with all of the tools I need to reach this goal.
YOU can get involved and help change the odds! Find out more at uw.org!

Sabor de Kearns Brings the Community Together!

Stephanie Lintonby Stephanie Linton
Oquirrh Hills Elementary Community School Director

“On January 7, 2016 we held Sabor de Kearns, our first lunch & learn event, which was a great success!” writes Heather Fuller, Family and Community Outreach Coordinator with the Oquirrh Hills Elementary Family Center.

KearnsThe idea for Sabor de Kearns was a collaboration between Oquirrh Hills Elementary, Kearns Junior High, Kearns Public Library and other service providers in the Kearns area. Because the proximity of these programs are so close to one another, and because these programs serve many of the same families, aligning these programs, in order to best serve families, as well as informing parents of all the great resources available to them, has been and continues to be the goal of this group. This event, is hopefully just the first of more great work to come while these providers work so hard to serve the families in Kearns, and the greater community.

KearnsKearnsHeather says, “We attribute the great participation to excellent planning, coordination, and wonderful support from Kearns Junior High School which brought faithful followers. The event began at the Kearns Library for story time, which put a smile on everyone’s face watching the charming singing and kid’s interaction. There were about 10 children, 28 adults, plus many more staff from various organizations. United Way of Salt Lake provided the delicious catered food from El Rancho Grande restaurant here in Kearns. There was standing room only in the Parent Center at Oquirrh Hills Elementary School as they served up steaming cheesy enchiladas, tacos, rice, and beans. We hope to have more combined activities to build awareness of what community resources are available within a short walking distance!”



PPRC Results Report: Health and Financial Stability


There is something special happening here.
Results Matter. 

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing important content from our newly released Promise Partnership Regional Council (PPRC) 2015 Results Report. Nearly one in three of Utah’s children live in the Promise Partnership Region, and Results Matter: The 2016 Results Report of the Promise Partnership Regional Council, describes how we are working together differently so that every child in our region can reach eight crucial milestones. This week, we are focusing on Health and Financial Stability! 
Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.27.16 PM*You can view the report in its entirety by clicking above.

by Kurt Micka
Executive Director, Utah Partners for Health

Health matters: Children who have access to affordable health insurance and regular health care – including dental, vision and mental health services – are more likely to attend school regularly and to learn. When adults successfully access the health care system for themselves, they also do so more consistently for their children.

A different way of working: In 2015, this year Promise Partners:

  • Launched a mobile vision van for students who fail school vision screenings. Over 650 students and family members received free eye exams and glasses between January and October 2015.
  • Continued to send mobile health clinics to community schools, serving 678 people between January and October. This service provides health care access for families are not eligible for health insurance.
  • Formed a partnership to increase health insurance enrollment for families in parts of our region. Enrollment specialists work in our community schools to enroll and re-enroll families. We saw 3,437 individuals between January and November.
  • Began to build a “no wrong door” system of healthcare referrals, to improve access to quality physical, behavioral and dental health care.
  • Launched a cross-sector partnership focused on dental access (see text box below).
  • Supported efforts led by Salt Lake County to integrate behavioral health into action plans that address physical health, family financial stability and education outcomes on our Roadmap.

The difference we’re making: The Promise Partnership region has seen growth in the percent of the adults that have health insurance, from 85.6% in 2013 to 87.5% in 2014.

Access to Dental CareAna Rivera (*name changed) is a single mother of three. When Ana and her daughter began to suffer from pain and swollen gums, no one in her family has a regular place for dental care. So, Ana was first in line when the dental partnership arrived at her child’s school.

Ana’s family is not alone. In 2014, 61.5% of Medicaid children in Utah did not visit a dentist. Our Collective Impact dental partnership offers low-income families after-hours, school-based dental services (and referrals and vouchers to dental clinics meet ongoing needs). The partnership not only enables an initial visit, but also bridges access to a permanent dental home. We have served more than 804 individuals in our after-hours clinics this year and connected 200 people with affordable clinics.

“I am grateful for the help that we received with coordinating appointments and looking for dentists to take care of our needs. It was a great help since during this time my daughter and I were starting to feel pain from our teeth. Hopefully this work is able to help many more people.” – Ana Rivera

Children and Families are Financial Stable: 

The Utah Legislature, with the support and leadership of the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission, has established a focus on intergenerational poverty in our State and region. Click HERE to read more about the Fourth Annual Report on Intergenerational Poverty, which notes that nearly one in three (31%) of Utah’s children are at risk of remaining in poverty as they become adults, and that they are more likely to experience poor academic outcomes. Also, download the PPRC Results Report to read more about how the PPRC is committed to supporting existing efforts to address the conditions that create intergenerational poverty.

If you are interested in helping all children succeed,
from cradle to career, take this quick survey and tell us a
bit about how you can help achieve results for entire communities.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.27.23 PM

Special thanks to the 2015 partners with United Way of Salt Lake impacting community health including physical, mental, vision and dental initiatives (in alphabetical order): Assistance League, Behavioral Health Community Action Network Members, Cambia Health Foundation, Charity Vision, CHG Health Care, Community Nursing Services, Community School Directors, Davis Behavioral Health, Davis County Health Department, Davis School District, Eye Care 4 Kids, Family Counseling Center, Family Counseling of Norther Utah, Family Support Center, Goldman Sachs, Granite School District, Health Access Project, House of Hope, Intermountain Health Care, Intermountain Specialized Abuse Treatment, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Maliheh Free Clinic, Midtown Health Clinic, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI UT), Nurse Family Partnership, Odyssey House, People’s Health Clinic, Polizzi Foundation, Promise Park City Health Task Force, Roseman School of Dentistry, Salt Lake Community Action Program, Salt Lake County Department of Behavioral Health, Salt Lake County Department of Health, Salt Lake Donated Dental, Sealants for Smiles, Take Care Utah, University of Utah, School of Dentistry, Utah Department of Health – Family Dental Plan, Utah Health Policy Project, Utah Partners for Health, Wasatch Homeless Care, Inc. (4th Street Clinic)

What Do you Know About Big Brothers Big Sisters?

james-brownBy James Brown
Community Investment Advisor 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah is a wonderful organization, and we are so proud of our partnership with them! Its work of engaging children in meaningful mentorships aligns perfectly with United Way of Salt Lake’s promise to Change the Odds. This is particularly true considering that, according to its website, in 2014, 92 percent of the children Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah served were from low-to-moderate income families.

photo c/o BBBS of Utah

photo c/o BBBS of Utah

In addition to facilitating these wonderful mentorships, Big Brothers Big Sisters gives back to the community in another meaningful way. Did you know that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah also hosts a charitable giving campaign among its employees to raise funds in support of Collective Impact and the work of UWSL?

This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah knocked its campaign right out of the park, increasing its employee charitable giving by over 181 percent compared to last year’s campaign! Wow!

We are so proud and grateful for the dedicated support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah! Because of this generous support, thousands of kids across the communities where we live and work will have access to necessary social services such as healthcare and high-quality education, while also having their basic needs met.

If your company is not yet engaged in the work of United Way of Salt Lake, we invite you to jump in! Your organization can also host an employee giving campaign, which can make a lasting impact in the life of many children and their families. Together, we can Change the Odds!

Thank you, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, for being a shining example of what it means to LIVE UNITED!

photo c/o BBBS of Utah

photo c/o BBBS of Utah

Contact Amy Bosworth at amyb@uw.org to find out more about how your company can get involved with UWSL! 


Women Empowered Blog Series: Legislation Without Representation!

zenia-frendtby Zenia Frendt
Leadership Giving Director, Women’s Leadership Council

As the 2016 legislative session kicks off here in Utah, you may wonder why, in a state full of proposed legislation regarding education, health, children, and families, there are so few women in elected office. We know that women make up roughly half of the Utah population. We know that women are known for their successful collaborative skills in corporate America. And, we know that these are issues traditionally important to women.

So the question becomes: Why aren’t we represented up on the hill?

The Center for American Progress released a report in late 2013 which ranked Utah last in the nation in terms of women being in leadership and decision making roles. When referring to women in the legislature, Utah ranks 46th in the nation. Unfortunately, as we look at statewide and national roles, the numbers are even worse.

  • 49.8% of Utah’s population is female, yet represent only 16% of state legislators
  • Nationally, 22.8% of executive office seats are held by women; in Utah it is 0%
  • Utah has never elected a female governor

We hear different explanations about why women hold fewer offices in Utah than the national average: some point to culture, some to religion, some to the values of women in Utah. However, while a case could be made to some extent for each of these, research has shown something slightly different.

Statistically speaking, in Utah, when women run for office they win at the same rate as men. In fact, in 2013 there were 343 openings for elected positions across state and local government, but only 93 women ran for those positions. Still, in the races in which women competed, they won about two-thirds of the seats.

“One of the penalties for not participating in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” — Plato

Different studies have begun to show a problem of “leadership identity.” Women in Utah have a harder time viewing themselves as leaders in their community. When a woman doesn’t see herself as a leader or doesn’t believe in herself as a leader, she will not stand up and become one. So really, while culture or values may play a part, what we are looking at is a deeper rooted issue—the same issue at the heart of this blog series—the issue of empowering women in Utah to see their amazing potential to lead.

WLC Advocacy Tour

Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck giving WLC members a tour of the Capitol

We know how important it is for us to build up girls and young women into tomorrow’s leaders. We need it for our community as a whole, for our families, our corporations, and our government. Besides the fact that women who do run for office win at the same rate as their male counterparts, Jackie Biskupski, the Mayor of Salt Lake City, has also repeatedly pointed out that winning an elected office empowers women to shape policies that impact children and families.

“Some leaders are born women” –Geraldine Ferraro

So how are we changing the current reality for women in politics in Utah? We all know that we can do it–after all, Utah women were the first females in America to vote in a national election, and the first woman in the nation to become a state senator was a Utah woman. There are groups, such as Real Women Run, doing fantastic work to remove the barriers facing women who wish to go into public service, and their voices are getting stronger every year. 

There is a lot of exciting work being done to address the underlying issue of empowering Utah’s girls and young women to become our community’s future leaders. From extensive work in education, to mentoring programs which utilize Utah’s current women leaders, to a shift in the general narrative about women’s roles, progress is being made—and celebrated!

United Way of Salt Lake’s Women’s Leadership Council is one of the groups investing in solutions for our young women, and working tirelessly to see their efforts through. We hope you will join us at Power of Your Purse on February 25 and help us celebrate 10 years of empowering women in our community!

Find out more about Power of Your Purse 2016, HERE >>

PPRC Results Report — 8th Grade Math & College/Career Ready


There is something special happening here.
Results Matter. 

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing important content from our newly released Promise Partnership Regional Council (PPRC) 2015 Results Report. Nearly one in three of Utah’s children live in the Promise Partnership Region, and Results Matter: The 2016 Results Report of the Promise Partnership Regional Council, describes how we are working together differently so that every child in our region can reach eight crucial milestones. This week, we are focusing on 8th Grade Math & College/Career Ready.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.27.16 PM*You can view the report in its entirety by clicking above.

matthew-s-2by Matthew Smith
Partnership Director, College Readiness and Completion 

Research shows that eighth grade mathematics achievement is a strong predictor of overall high school success, high school graduation, and college completion. Introductory algebra is regarded as a “gatekeeper” subject, which correlates strongly to both college and career success.

Interest and achievement in middle grade mathematics also helps prepare students for future studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, where jobs are expected to grow over the next decade. Many students who express a strong interest in mathematics and science in elementary school start to lose interest over time during middle school. This reality of lost excitement is especially true of girls.

While regional partnerships began in 2014, we did not start collaborative work related to all of the outcomes then. So, while we have not yet organized a regional collaborative action network focused specifically on eighth-grade mathematics, Collective Impact partnerships are active at both Granite Park Junior High in South Salt Lake and Kearns Junior High School in Kearns. Particularly in schools such as Kearns Junior High and Granite Park Junior High in Granite School District, where we have deep partnership infrastructure, we are seeing community-level results on multiple outcomes, including mathematics proficiency.

Many students graduate high school ill-prepared for college-level coursework, therefore we focus on college and career readiness. We also focus on college completion because our economy demands it. Studies show that by 2020, 66 percent of all Utah jobs will require a postsecondary certificate or degree. The Provo-Orem/Ogden-Clearfield/ Salt Lake City areas are among the top ten U.S. metropolitan areas with adults that have some college, but lack a degree or certificate.

Our new way of working includes three Collective Impact partnerships that support these postsecondary outcomes of college access, completion, and a stable career path.

  • Local college access network launched in 2014 to increase FAFSA completion rates across the eight high schools in Granite School District, focusing on schools with the highest rates of poverty. School and district staff, non-profit providers and government agencies have identified factors that impact FAFSA completion and developed action plans.
  • College Access Network of Utah (CANU) will focus in the year ahead on improving college readiness, access and completion, specifically for underserved, low-income, first generation and historically underrepresented student populations.
  • Pathway to Careers collaboration focuses on helping Latino/Latina youth and refugee youth set paths from high school graduation to postsecondary completion and onto stable careers.

 If you are interested in helping all children succeed,
from cradle to career, take this quick survey and tell us a
bit about how you can help achieve results for entire communities.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.27.23 PM

Legislative Session 2016: What’s at Stake?

Emilia Comaiby Emilia Comai
Community and Advocacy Engagement Coordinator 

83832299037502.2YbSqPcByHwzNyLA98wL_height640Today marks the beginning of the 2016 Utah Legislative Session. Over the next few weeks, we will be alerting you to important updates about our legislative priorities.

We’re working on three important issues this year:

  • Partnerships for Student Success, S.B. 67
  • High-quality Preschool Opportunities
  • 2-1-1 Utah Ongoing Funding

Check out more information about these issues below, and keep an eye out for calls to action throughout the session. As you know, you can help influence important decisions that affect at-risk children and families in our community. Thank you for being an advocate!

Take the Pledge to put #UtahKidsFirst


Join us for Days on the Hill!

Days on the Hill are your opportunity to meet with your legislative members in person, tour the capitol building, learn about the legislative process, and simply observe a chamber session. If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry, we’ll be there for you every step of the way. RSVP here to sign up and join us!

Yellow RSVP

Make sure you join the conversation on Twitter:

@UWSL  #UtahKidsFirst #utleg #utpol