How do we address the root cause of this problem? United Way's community supported solution to raise the number of children reading proficiently by the conclusion of third grade by 2020 is making measured, long-term progress that we can all be proud of.

Rather than provide 'surface' solutions to Nevada's considerable high school graduation problem, United Way brings a comprehensive, community-driven approach. As it's often said, 'high school drop-outs are 18 years in the making' -- counting those birth-to-six years. So, rather than simply work with children once they start school, United Way's approach begins at birth.

Because we cannot do all of this work alone, we engage the whole community in a community planning process: see LINK: Community Solutions Action Plan (CSAP) community process.

We work with our funded partnerships to fill learning gaps with literacy-based programming in stages - Strengthening Families, Early Learning and Development, Kindergarten Readiness & Early Literacy, and Early Grade Success. A comprehensive, volunteer-driven process is used to determine United Way's grant funding. Partnership lead organizations are required to have met the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Nonprofits in order to be considered to receive an application for funding.

Several highlights from the past year:

  • 87% increase in parents demonstrated early development knowledge and literacy skills, which ultimately impacts our youngest learners.

  • 46% increase in student understanding of core standards and concepts in first grade science-based literacy.

  • 48% increase in reading proficiency in our work with first to third graders who were reading below grade level.

  • Through our partnerships, thousands of new books were provided to parents and children to start building home libraries.