United Way of the National Capital Area is working with local partners to address the many needs of residents in our region. "Living United in our Nation's Capital" is a forum where United Way NCA and the community can discuss this critical work and express opinions about events and important local issues.

Mar 24, 2011

Cradle-to-Career Education Access: A New Information Resource

Education, from cradle to career, is a critical issue for our very eclectic community in the DC metro area. We’ve got some of the most highly-educated people as well as some of the least-educated.

We must work together

Improving education requires all of us — public, private and nonprofit sectors — to work together in new ways. And it requires a clear-eyed view of the problem and its roots. For instance, the fact is, high school dropouts are more than 12 years in the making.
  • Disadvantaged children start school at least 2 years behind in pre-reading skills.
  • For every 50 children who don’t learn to read in kindergarten, 44 will still be struggling in 3rd grade.
  • Children without reading skills by 3rd grade are unlikely to graduate. New research shows grades and absenteeism rates by 3rd grade can predict dropouts with 90% accuracy.
That's why the entire education continuum — from birth through 24 years old — must be in our sightline if we are to move the needle on educational achievement and preparing our youth for success.

A new resource for education advocates

To overcome the challenge of finding credible, actionable resources for improving educational outcomes for our youth, United Way NCA has launched a new educational insights news service. This interactive set of videos, tools, and resources can easily be embedded on your website or blog. Once it’s done, your visitors will receive the latest information about the state of education in our region. Once you embed the multimedia player, each time we update it, your version will automatically be synchronized with the new information.

Check out this month’s Insights, headlined by the Kenilworth-Parkside area’s Irasema Salcido, the CEO and founder of the Cesar Chavez Charter High School for Public Policy.

Click here for instructions for embedding the interactive media player on your own website or blog.

Mar 2, 2011

Education: United Way NCA and the Promise Neighborhood Initiative

On Wednesday, February 23rd, United Way NCA presented testimony (see the post below) before the Council of the District of Columbia, reinforcing our commitment cross-sector collaboration on improving education in our region.

As part of this mission, United Way has become a key partner in the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative.

With the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy as its applicant agency, the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) won a $500,000 grant to plan a Promise Neighborhood in the Parkside-Kenilworth community in Ward 7 of the District of Columbia. DCPNI’s mission is to increase the number of children who complete their education from cradle to college, and enter adulthood as productive participants in the 21st Century economy and in the civic life of their communities.

DCPNI Founder and CEO
Irasema Salcido
The Promise Neighborhood Initiative is an ideal partner for United Way NCA as, like us, they recognize the interconnectedness of diverse social issues on the overall condition of individuals, families and communities. For a tour of the DC Promise Neighborhood, sign up here.

United Way NCA will play a key role with DCPNI as the lead organization of the Funding Desk, charged with identifying new and continuing funding streams to sustain the program.

Opportunities being explored include, but are not limited to:
  • the White House’s Race to the Top Initiative;
  • Educare; and the
  • HUD Choice Neighborhoods program.
United Way NCA is also co-leading the External Relations Strategic Initiatives. This effort includes outreach to:
  • Capitol Hill,
  • the White House,
  • DC Government, and
  • regional development and business groups.
We are also a participant in the Local Funders Group dedicated to identifying and securing private sector supporters of the program.

Our partnership with DCPNI is a great step toward improving lives in one of the most distressed communities in our region. As we stated in our testimony to the DC Council, this effort needs to built upon and expanded for other troubled communities in the National Capital Area, and United Way NCA plans to be an active partner in this progress.

Feb 24, 2011

Education Reform is the Top Mobilization Priority in Your Transformed United Way

As you know, we have some of the richest, poorest, best- and least-educated citizens in the country.

Yet, due to that diversity—both ethnically and geographically—the Capital Region is one of the most difficult communities in America to mobilize and address our most demanding civic challenges.

Leslie Whitlow Graves
In remarks to Council of the District of Columbia Chairman Kwame Brown and council members on Wednesday, February 23, your United Way of the National Capital Area made it clear that the organization is taking dramatic steps to transform, and outlined some of the actions we’re taking in the education arena.

As one of the most respected brands in the world, a transformed United Way can be a key “mobilizer” around the issues of education, financial stability, and health in our area. This is our new mission. This is our new calling.

Here’s an excerpt of United Way NCA’s President & CEO Bill Hanbury’s testimony, delivered by United Way NCA’s Leslie Whitlow Graves, senior vice president of community impact. Click the link below to read the full remarks.

"Education reform is our top mobilization priority. United Way of the National Capital Area is becoming a key neutral convener…bringing together leaders and stakeholders at all levels…from education, business, non-profits, neighborhoods, civic and philanthropic sectors…all around common goals and benchmarks to support every child in our community…from cradle to career.”

Read the complete remarks of National Capital Area’s President & CEO Bill Hanbury.

Feb 22, 2011

National Marathon: Run the Relay and Support United Way of the National Capital Area

Run the National Marathon Team Relay March 26 and you'll not only get the cool t-shirt, half-marathoner's medal (if you finish, of course), and awesome goody bags, you'll have the satisfaction of supporting United Way NCA's efforts in improving the quality of life for real people in our area. A percentage of the team relay entry fee will go to United Way NCA to address top issues in education, financial stability, and health.

Running the same course as the half marathon, the Team Relay consists of three participants per team and offers a distance for everyone, regardless of running experience. With two runners completing 5 miles and one participant running 3.1 miles, the Team Relay is a great way to promote health and fitness.

All you have to do is use the code "11runited" when you register your team - it's that easy.

On your mark, get set, go!

Dec 3, 2010

Why I Give to United Way

As part of United Way of the National Capital Area's own workplace giving campaign, we included an essay contest asking our team to answer the question, "Why give to United Way of the National Capital Area?"  We received an array of answers that ranged from pragmatic and prosaic to philosophical and poetic. The winning entry went to our Senior Director of Resource Development Michelle Bosau for her personal and cadenced account of why she gives.

I give to United Way NCA:

Because I believe community is not just the place you live.

To save.
Because the rising tide lifts all boats. To spread joy.
Because I am asked. To give back instead of giving up.

To honor my parents' legacy.

Because I believe in being part of the solution. Because giving feels good. To share wealth.

To inspire my children.

Because I am thanked.
To find happiness in little things. Because I was taught to share. To help good people in bad situations.

Because many people have given to me in so many ways.

To spread hope. Because I believe.
Because it could be me someday.

To spread happiness. To brighten someone's day. To spread opportunity.

Because I can't do everything, but I can do my part.

To bring change. Because some people have no where else to turn.
For impact. Because bad things happen to good people.

Because I am well while my neighbor is sick.
Because I am warm while my neighbor is cold.
Because I am full while my neighbor is hungry.

Because I have been given everything while my neighbor has been given nothing.

Nov 18, 2010

Young Leaders Receive the Gift of Giving at SOME

On Sunday, November 14th, I joined the United Way Young Leaders, along with volunteers from all over the greater Washington area, at SOME (So Others Might Eat) to provide a warm meal to over 200 of DC’s less fortunate.

SOME, an interfaith community-based organization, has been helping the poor and the homeless of our nation's capital since 1970. Working with their experienced and energetic staff, I was truly inspired by their compassion and commitment. It was a fantastic experience for all of us. While we were providing meal for others, each of us gained so much from the act of giving and connecting with those we served.

I was thrilled to learn that SOME’s services go way beyond just serving meals to the hungry. SOME also provides clothing, healthcare (medical and dental), affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness. They are truly a great resource for Washington DC.

I am very thankful that through United Way I had a chance to be part of this good work. I can’t wait to go back and help out again.

Aaron Shutzer
United Way Young Leader

Nov 1, 2010

Political Strategist Joe Lockhart Stresses Perseverance/Risk-taking to United Way Young Leaders

In an intimate discussion over breakfast on Wednesday, October 27th, political strategist Joe Lockhart shared his thoughts on career success with members of United Way of the National Capital Area's Young Leaders.

Mr. Lockhart discussed his experiences and stressed the importance of perseverance in achieving one's goals. One of his first positions working on a political campaign, he said, was only offered to him after he repeatedly called the office asking about a job. After befriending the boss’s assistant and calling enough times after hours, he was finally invited in and eventually offered the position, energizing his long career in politics. Lockhart has worked on six presidential campaigns and spent five years in the Clinton White House, including two as press secretary.

He also emphasized risk taking as a key to professional success. Turning a job interview mishap into a career leap, Mr. Lockhart had gone to an  an interview for a media producer position, but eventually realized he was in the room for on-air talent. Lockhart said taking the job that was offered despite his lack of experience was a smart move. Pushing himself to dive into unknown waters offered him a chance  to challenge himself and explore new dimensions of his professional development. He has lived by that philosophy throughout his career.

Lockhart parlayed his media and political expertise to start up the Glover Park Group; a national media relations and political strategy company headquartered here in Washington, DC. Young Leaders member Carol Andes, who works for the Glover Park Group, helped arrange the Leadership Breakfast -- part of a series designed to provide Young Leaders opportunities to hear from and network with recognized business leaders around the region.

Cori Zorek
United Way Young Leader

Interested in becoming a Young Leader - contact Brandi Lester at blester@uwnca.org.