Why United Way
An action agenda will only be as good as the process used to develop it. Although different action plans may lay out similar goals, strategies, and recommendations, the community context in which this work plays out varies tremendously. United Ways that regularly engage and work closely with community stakeholders to develop strategies and focus actions (key elements of the United Way business model) will be well-positioned to lead or facilitate the development of action planning processes.
Your United Way, like others, has capacities that can be leveraged to support the development of an out-of-school action agenda— committed partners, volunteers, established business and donor relationships, public engagement capacity, and visibility within the community based on working on issues of common concern.
United Ways Can Ensure That OST Efforts Are...
- Articulated as a high-level strategy for supporting shared community goals focused on children and youth (e.g., on-time high school graduation, college or career by 21) — Your United Way can be part of setting a big picture vision for children and youth.
- Included as part of comprehensive wrap-around supports — OST should be shown to fit within the other identified supports that young people need as they move up the education "pipeline", from early childhood to college or career by age 21 (e.g., mental and physical health services, mentoring, tutoring). Perhaps your United Way already has significant experiences developing specific strategies to support outcomes.
- Aligned and integrated with new and existing efforts — These can be efforts to support youth led by your United Way or by other community stakeholders. As investors in other community strategies and programs, your United Way might be well-positioned to advance alignment and coordination.
- Developed collaboratively, involving diverse stakeholders — Your United Way can help include perspectives from businesses, municipal leaders, the philanthropic community, schools, and community-based organizations. Perhaps your United Way is already working closely with these types of stakeholders.
- Authentically engaging young people, their families, and other community residents — Your United Way can lead efforts to engage community stakeholders in conversations and to use surveys, interviews and focus group data to inform the development of an out-of-school action agenda.