United Way announces new Collective Impact project

Categories: Data Tags: Children, Education

Only 65 percent of economically disadvantaged students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools graduate on time, compared to 74 percent of all students. United Way of Central Carolinas aims to diminish this disparity with a new, innovative program.

United Way of Central Carolinas announced Thursday, Feb. 23, the beginning of a new initiative to improve academic success for at-risk students. The Collective Impact pilot project brings together 15 United Way-supported agencies that serve children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to work toward the common goal of raising the graduation rate for at-risk students served by this group of agencies. Together, these 15 agencies serve nearly 30,000 children, 84 percent of whom live in a household earning less than $25,000 a year.

The collective impact model is a new approach to addressing community needs that is used by a number of United Ways across the country. Under this model, a consortium of agencies in a particular human service sector work in close collaboration to develop and follow a common agenda to combat a specific problem or need. This involves, among many things, coordinating services, pooling resources, and using a shared set of measures to determine progress.

A key component of the collective impact program is the use of data to measure the progress of participants and the impact of the group of programs as a whole (i.e. the collective impact). The system for maintaining this shared data will be the community database of the Institute for Social Capital (ISC), which is a UNC Charlotte-based nonprofit that aims to foster university social and human capital research and to increase the community’s capacity for data-based planning and program evaluation. The ISC database is housed under the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Over the coming year, the institute will work closely with United Way and Council for Children’s Rights to develop a common set of measures that all 15 agencies will maintain plus a set of measures from CMS to gauge participants’ academic success and progress.

This ambitious initiative was made possible by a $200,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. For more information about the Collective Impact program, click on the links below.

Read the United Way press release.

Read the Charlotte Observer story.

See the WSOC-TV story.

View PowerPoint presented to the United Way board.