United Way, one of The Harwood Institute’s partners and the world’s largest philanthropic network, is turning outward across the global in an effort to better understand the aspirations and challenges people face in creating opportunity for individuals to succeed. United Ways in the U.S. and nearly a dozen countries around the world are now using community conversation tools co-developed with Harwood to host grassroots, kitchen table-style discussions to build better relationships with individuals and to make better decisions about the strategies they pursue to advance education, income, and health and improve lives globally. This includes United Ways in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The knowledge built from these conversations will go into a global report United Way will release in May at a global Opportunity Town Hall and will be used to catalyze action in key areas and to bring into the conversation the voice of everyday individuals that are often left out of these discussions. The Town Hall will include community leaders from around the world, as well as U.S. and international leaders from business, government, and the nonprofit sectors. The goal of this effort is help cut through the divisive rhetoric inhibiting the ability of people and groups to come together and work on issues central to creating a good life.
Additionally, nearly 40 United Ways in the U.S. are also engaging on creating opportunity for at-risk and disconnected youth. United Way was asked to conduct these conversations by the White House Council for Community Solutions, which is interested in finding ways the federal government can help connect young people to employment, education, and civic opportunities. United Way’s efforts to turn outward, using Harwood tools, frameworks, and approaches, is helping their network transform from a collection of community fundraisers to a network of anchor institutions driving social change and collective impact. Through this work, they are adding new value to community work, and it’s getting noticed.