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Business Leaders Needed

Co written by: 
Allen Grossman, Senior Fellow, MBA Class of 1957 Professor of Management Practice, Retired, Harvard Business School and Bill Crim, President and CEO, United Way of Salt Lake

In Salt Lake City, community groups, nonprofits, and education leaders are joining forces in new ways to help every one of our region’s children thrive.

This approach, known as Collective Impact (or Collective Action), is driving the transformation by bringing together diverse stakeholders to address the complexities of improving our education system. As explained in Business Aligning for Students, a new report by Harvard Business School, businesses are an essential part of this approach.

Different from traditional collaboration, Collective Impact is already improving outcomes for kids, including places like Salt Lake, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Seattle. Here in Salt Lake, for example, the kindergarten readiness in one school district increased from 54 percent to 61 percent between 2012 and 2014. The percentage of third-graders reading on grade level has increased from 60 percent to 65 percent, and graduation rates for English language-learning students increased from 41 percent to 53 percent.


United Way of Salt Lake serves as the “backbone organization,” quarterbacking the activities of the Salt Lake Collective Impact initiative and creating partnerships through which business plays a key role. Today, business leaders serve on our Promise Partnership Regional Council, breaking down barriers to our children’s success. They advocate for education-friendly policies. They run workplace campaigns and provide employees paid time off to volunteer weekly in schools.

And kids aren’t the only ones who benefit. As noted in the report, participation in Collective Impact is also good for businesses.

This work gives our company its soul.

Allen Alexander, Tutor & Former CEO of Savage

United Ways are an essential link between the business and nonprofit communities, and many are adopting Collective Impact initiatives, and we need our corporate partners to drive meaningful change. Together, we can help more of America’s kids develop into successful adults. Join us by connecting with your local United Way.