Our Work

United Way envisions a world where every individual has an opportunity to succeed, and entire communities thrive as a result. We're getting a little closer everyday, with help from millions of people around the world.


EducationUnited Way works to end America’s education crisis

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1 These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.

Our Goal

In 2019, United Way Worldwide launched a 10-year initiative improve education and achieve having 95 percent of students graduating high school ready for college and career.  To ensure strong communities, it is imperative that all our nation’s students graduate from high school prepared for post-secondary education or the workforce.  United Way will fight for: Increased CCDBG funding to improve access to high quality child care for all children Increased funding for, and access to, high quality early childhood programs, Increased funding and/or set-asides as part of existing funding streams, and to support professional development and training for early childhood staff.  Federal efforts to increase college access, Strengthened programs and policies that minimize student debt and help families make more informed borrowing decisions, and Funding for federal programs that provide youth with alternative pathways to post-secondary education and the careers of their choice.

Our Strategy

We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.

How You Can Help

To reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parent involvement; literacy volunteers in the classroom; mentors for disadvantaged students; business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Volunteer to help.

1Figure according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.

United Way Helps Americans Achieve Financial Stability

As many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and education and currently, 40 million Americans are working in low-paying jobs without basic health and retirement benefits.  For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way is here to help.

Our Goal

In 2019, United Way initiated an ambitious 10-year plan to Help people achieve financial stability, and help 5 million people get jobs. Strengthen workforce development programs and expand job training and work-based learning.  United Way will fight for:  Investments in high quality education and job training programs for 16-to-24-year-olds who are not in school or work, Apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities that allow older youth and lowincome workers to gain work experience that improve job placement, and Incentivized sector-based strategies that help meet employer demand for a more educated and skilled workplace.  Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers not raising children at home and those 21 and older, A Child Tax Credit that ensures the lowest income workers and families with young children can access a robust credit, and Permanent authorization of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance grant program and increased investments in this public-private partnership.

Our Strategy

To address the obstacles that prevent hard working families from getting ahead financially, we launched the Financial Stability Partnership™, an initiative that promotes community-change strategies to help families meet their basic needs, while gaining the financial capability to plan for, and accomplish, their long-term financial goals. 

Over 300 United Ways and their local community partners are engaged in activities and initiatives to help build the financial stability of families in their communities. 

How You Can Help

Volunteers make United Ways’ tax assistance and financial education programs possible. We need your help, even if you don’t have an accounting background. Volunteer to help.

United Way works for a healthier America

Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or an addiction, United Ways are working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.

Our Goal

In 2019 we began working on our 10-year goal: We will fight for health policies that will help 90 percent of Americans attain improved physical and mental health.  This will be done through advocating, creating programs and fighting for: Accessible and affordable healthcare coverage, Consumer protections, Increased funding for Community Health Centers, Awareness and protection of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Our Strategy

Achieving our goal requires us all to become more aware of health risks and the potential effects they have on ourselves and others, starting from before birth. Working to change policies and practices, such as extending health care coverage, will enable more people to live healthier lives.

Health Facts

  • More than 33% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. That’s 25 million kids and teenagers.
  • Children with health coverage are better prepared to learn in school and succeed in life.1
  • The number of Americans without health insurance has increased steadily since the beginning of the century, now totaling about 47 million. More than 80% are working families.2
  • 8.7 million children live without health insurance – more than the total number enrolled in the first and second grades in U.S. public schools.3



1Institute of Medicine. From Neurons to Neighborhood: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2000.)
2Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates from the March Current Population Survey, 2007 Supplement.
3Compiled by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), University of Minnesota School of Public Health, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey 2007.