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Rewriting Innovation at United Way

Last year United Way was named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list for the first time. It was a big deal! It’s like the innovator’s version of winning an Oscar.

But something was getting in the way of my ability to celebrate. Some of my good friends working for big tech companies were surprised United Way was honored as an innovator alongside companies like the NBA, Stitch Fix, and Shopify. It took some of the fun out of winning the award, like being played off stage before even starting the acceptance speech.

Honestly, I get it. “Most innovative” and “130-year-old nonprofit” are far from synonymous. And because United Way is such a big organization with hyper-local impact, the myriad of innovation stories that fuel our impact in communities goes unseen. I just kept thinking, “If you could see this network of innovators from where I sit, you’d never question why we were honored.”

That’s why I’m excited to launch United We Innovate. Over the next few months, we’re aggregating and sharing our innovation stories with the world. Stories of a United Way’s digital platform that’s writing social services to electronic health records. Stories of meeting users wherever they need us most, even if that’s in a jail in Culiacán, Mexico. Stories of the incredible diversity of our innovators in the US and around the world as we celebrate Black History and Women’s History months. 

So, keep checking in for a peek into United Way’s Most Innovative Minds. We’d love for you to share our stories. As a thank you, we’ll use innovative technology to help you share your own innovation story at the end of the campaign. Stay tuned!

Whether you’re a donor, volunteer, or a leader within United Way, I hope United We Innovate inspires you to think differently and take action. Because the world needs more innovators, and we think your story will look really cool on our site next year.`