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A Publication of WTVP

It is the goal of every United Way to bring together diverse people and resources to address the needs and issues of the communities we serve. Through a variety of partnerships, our organization is able to take the dollars pledged through our fund-raising efforts and create a much greater impact on the lives of others by working together.

"Community impact" isn't just another catch phrase, but rather a way to mobilize our community leaders into creating lasting changes that will nurture our youth, strengthen our families, build self-reliance, and promote healthy lives. In the past, United Way funded agencies that were organized by the services they provided such as counseling, advocacy, health care, etc.

But over the past few years, the focus on accountability has shifted this practice of funding agencies' activities to funding outcomes based on community need-in other words, from funding "X" amount of services to tangible results. Agencies are asked to identify the specific changes that occur because of their activities and efforts. It's no longer, "This service needs to be funded because it's here," but rather, "Here's this service and look how many people we've helped and the impact it's made on our community."

This movement towards community impact provides those who invest their dollars in the United Way an improvement in accountability because it provides more substantial information than just counting up the number of services that received funds. However, for this system to work, it isn't enough to switch from talking about services to talking about outcomes. We need the entire community to come together and view itself as the foundation that will supply the resources allowing us to collaborate and collectively answer the urgent issues.

Our United Way is dedicated to working within the community to be a problem solver for issues affecting youth, families, self-reliance, and health. Our youth-funded initiatives are committed to helping youth develop physically, emotionally, and socially; family efforts are committed to helping families function successfully in the community; self-reliance initiatives help individuals live on their own and gain the skills necessary to get through life; and health care strategies help others lead healthy and safe lifestyles.

The Heart of Illinois United Way is in the business of creating a meaningful and tangible impact on our community. The bottom line of community impact is results-results that change lives and shape our hometowns. IBI

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