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How United Way Helps

United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra (UWNNS) is dedicated to making a real difference in our community in the focus areas of Education, Financial Stability and Health

We’ve heard what donors and our community have said about being an organization that makes a greater impact, that’s truly measureable, and also about being more significant in how we mobilize solutions for our region. In fact, both national and local research shows that the long-standing United Way model of raising funds and then allocating small slices from those donations to partner agencies is increasingly less compelling for today’s donor. This old model also encourages competition rather than collaboration among partner agencies.

Therefore, the board of directors of the UWNNS has acted to move our organization to a full “Community Impact” model for the region, and will phase in a more strategic means of funding organizations and partnerships that truly can make a measureable impact in our three focus areas - Education, Financial Stability and Health. This allows us to take a stronger role in creating the results our community has been asking for, and fund initiatives in large enough amounts in order to make a greater impact, because our current funding model makes it hard to identify the differences we’ve made, or the problems we’ve solved.

With our prior model, UWNNS has only been able to fund small components of partner agency programs; we can’t measure results when the slice that our funds impact is so small. In our new model, organizations and, more importantly, coalitions of organizations, will be asked to respond to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in our three focus areas, and have the possibility of receiving substantive grants, at a minimum of $50,000. We will phase out what has been known as our traditional smaller allocations to partner agency programs

We will continue to work with regional experts who volunteer in each of our three focus areas, as well as engage all of the communities we serve, in a more formal input and research process, in order to best determine the region’s priority needs. Based upon these “Community Conversations,” we will set measureable goals that we want to see attained in each of the three areas, and develop the RFPs that solicit proposals to address them.