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FAQ’s

1. What is United Way?


United Way Australia is a social purpose organisation that unites community, business, philanthropy, government, and service providers in collaborative action to improve education, employment, health and housing outcomes in communities experiencing disadvantage.


Our Vision


is that every Australian community thrives.


Our Purpose

is to unite community, business, philanthropy, government, and social purpose organisations in collaborative action to improve education, employment, health and housing outcomes in communities experiencing disadvantage.


We Believe

that the postcode people are born in should not determine their destiny, that the causes of entrenched community disadvantage in Australia are complex and that no single organisation can solve these issues alone. We need to work together to achieve change.Our approach - Collective Impact, Community Collaborations, Supporting communities to thrive


What We Do

We understand local issues through community conversations, correlating data, mapping services and identifying gaps.


We mobilise resources securing the long-term investment of funds, skills and networks to tackle complex social issues.


We act in partnership with others to strengthen communities.


We influence systems change by sharing learning, advocating and scaling community impact locally, nationally and internationally.


We Are

Responsive to community needs

Working in and with communities experiencing disadvantage to understand their needs and develop solutions to deliver social change.


Focused on children and young people

Evidence shows us that early intervention works and this is the time to create maximum impact on future life outcomes.


Best practice in business-community partnerships

Developing cross-sector collaborations that deliver lasting impact for communities and businesses.


Impact-led

Designing and developing evidence-based initiatives in collaboration with others


Part of a global network

Leveraging resources, scaling social innovation and influencing change through United Way’s network in over 40 countries.


2. Is United Way affiliated with any religious organisation?


No.


3. When did United Way start?


While United Way began in the USA in 1887, in Australia the first United Way began in 1947.


4. How has United Way’s work changed?


For more than 100 years our purpose was to raise money from local communities and make grants to many thousands of charities. In the late 1990s, our international network concluded that while this had done lots of good, we had inadvertently created a complex web of small, disconnected community projects that were at times duplicating activity and at worst actively competing.


It was hard to see improved outcomes at the local community level despite massive investment. This reflection led to a historic decision to move away from raising money to fund programs to instead resourcing strategies that have an impact at the community level, or as we call it ‘mobilising individuals and organisations to advance the common good.’


United Way Australia has been on this journey since 2008. In 2010, many United Ways across Australia decided to nationalise and United Way Australia was born.


Today we are well known for our collaborative work to improve early childhood outcomes in communities experiencing disadvantage; including supporting service providers to run their own Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in communities. Our extensive corporate partnerships and volunteering programs are highly regarded by some of Australia’s biggest companies.


We work to:


understand local issues through community conversations, correlating data, mapping services and identifying gaps.


mobilise resources securing the long-term investment of funds, skills and networks to tackle complex social issues.


act in partnership with others to strengthen communities.


influence systems change by sharing learning, advocating and scaling community impact locally, nationally and internationally.


Find out more about our 2016-2020 Strategic Direction Summary


5. Where does United Way work?


Today there are close to 1,800 United Ways in 40 countries and territories, including Australia.


United Way worldwide in 2014


Find out more about United Way’s work internationally:


And take a tour of United Way’s work in Asia


Learn about our work in over 35 communities across Australia and find out how you can get involved by exploring our website (including contact details for your local office in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA).


 


6. What is United Way Australia’s focus?


Our Priority Areas

are education, employment, housing and health because we believe these are key building blocks within a thriving community.


Our Strategic Focus

over the next five years is to continue developing impact-led collaborations that improve early childhood outcomes and school to work transitions because they are key transition points for children and young people.


One in five children start school developmentally vulnerable


Building on our success over the past five years we will continue to focus our community impact activity on improving early childhood outcomes for 0-8 year old children in communities experiencing disadvantage. Our aim is to significantly reduce childhood developmental vulnerability in the communities we work in.


Unemployment for 15-24 year olds is double the national average


We will expand our work supporting schools to build effective business-community partnerships to improve school-to-work transitions and youth employment for young people in communities experiencing disadvantage. Our aim is to substantially increase youth employment in the communities we work in.


Our community consultations have revealed housing stability and physical and mental health are key issues


We will respond to this through building on our work to:



  • improve access to affordable, stable housing for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity

  • improve the physical and mental health of people in communities experiencing disadvantage.


7. What is United Way Australia approach to solving community issues?


 


What We Do


We understand local issues through community conversations, correlating data, mapping services and identifying gaps.


We mobilise resources securing the long-term investment of funds, skills and networks to tackle complex social issues.


We act in partnership with others to strengthen communities.


We influence systems change by sharing learning, advocating and scaling community impact locally, nationally and internationally.


Community Impact Pyramid Image Only 8.6.2016_Transparent Coloured borders High Res


Our approach is multi layered:


Building on our experience from The Hive in Mt Druitt, we will be the backbone organisation in a number of communities using a Collective Impact approach to deliver social change.


The core of our work will support the development of place-based community collaborations such as the Macquarie Park Business-Community Partnership. Focused initially on early childhood development, these will expand over time to employment,  health and housing.


We will support the development of United Way’s affiliates and provide advice, consultancy services and products such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to enable communities to thrive


8. What are Community Collaborations?


In most cases these are geographic areas where United Way Australia collaborates with multiple stakeholders across sectors to create social change. (Occasionally these may also be issue-based rather than place-based collaborations)


This work is evidence-based, impact-led and responsive to the community, following the strong principles of collaboration outlined in the Collective Impact approach. United Way Australia supports these collaborations through facilitation, skills, data and resource development, but not necessarily acting as a formal ‘backbone’ organisation.


We also offer social purpose organisations and government the opportunity to benefit from our experience via a range of consultancy services including community conversations.


9. What is Collective Impact?


Collective Impact is an innovative approach to addressing complex social issues in a particular community. It focuses on developing a shared agenda to address locally identified issues and encouraging cross-sector collaborative action to maximise impact.


The term was coined by Kania and Kramer in the Stanford Innovation Review, and builds on decades of collaborative development practice and ideas.  There are five core elements of the Collective Impact approach:



  • A Common Agenda – all participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.

  • Shared Measurement – collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable.

  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities – participants activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.

  • Continuous Communication – consistent and open communication is needed between participants to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.

  • Backbone Support – a separate organisation(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the initiative and coordinate participant.


United Way Australia’s work in 90 Homes for 90 Lives in Woolloomooloo and The Hive in Mt Druitt NSW are examples of Collective Impact.


 


10. What are Community Conversations?


United Way Australia’s Community Conversations offer a structured and meaningful way to gain the community knowledge needed to align community engagement and development work with community aspirations.


Through facilitated workshops and forums, Community Conversations provide a window into how people talk about their lives and concerns, and a unique opportunity to develop or deepen partnerships with non-traditional groups. With this foundation, social purpose organisations can be more effective, mobilise more people and achieve greater impact.


11. How can I help?


Families, communities, businesses, governments – we all stand to benefit when children start school with the skills they need to learn and young people thrive in life. We believe we all have skills and resources to contribute and invite you to be a part of ensuring every Australian community thrives.


You can give. You can volunteer. You can advocate for change.  Please explore our website for a full range of options.


12. Can I volunteer with United Way Australia?


Volunteers are a crucial part of our organisation. We offer a broad range of volunteering experiences for corporate teams and individuals, all year round. Find out more and contact our team today.


13. How can I donate to support United Way Australia’s work?


Our work would not be possible without the generosity of Australians like you.


Make a one off or regular donation to support our work in disadvantaged communities across Australia.


Find out how just $25 a month can provide early childhood support for children from communities of disadvantaged and books for your child through our Kids’ Book Club!


Register for workplace giving with your employer.


Contact our team to discuss how you can make a life-changing difference to Australian children and their families today.


14. How can I contact you?


United Way has offices in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA. Find the person you need here


15. What is United Way’s connection with Dolly Parton, Rotary and Penguin?


Growing up in rural Tennessee, country music star and author Dolly Parton dreamed of becoming a writer and singer. Aware that some families literally can’t afford to buy books, Dolly founded the Imagination Library with one aim: to improve early childhood literacy for all children by providing a free, high-quality, age-appropriate book every month from birth to age five. The program has grown from mailing a few dozen books to children in 1996, to over 70 million books today.


Research demonstrates the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) can help improve children’s literacy, communication and other development. Parents who regularly read to their pre-school aged children significantly improve their child’s readiness to learn and succeed in school and life.


By bringing the Imagination Library to Australia in 2013, United Way has continued a long-standing partnership with Penguin Book Publishers and Rotary International. United Way is licensed to facilitate the Imagination Library in Australia and supports community organisations and service providers to establish their own Imagination Library in their local community. Over 6,000 Australian children have received free monthly books, and literacy resources for parents and carers, to ensure they have the very best chance to learn when they begin school.


Find out more, including how to start an Imagination Library in your local community and how to register a child to participate.


 

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