Blueprint for Prosperity 2018

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OUR MISSION: To increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another in order to create a stronger community for all.


Michael L. Williamson

President & Chief Executive Officer United Way of Southeast Louisiana

We want to eradicate POVERTY in Southeast Louisiana From Amite to Arabi, Belle Chasse to Bogalusa, Mandeville to Marrero, the east bank to the west bank of New Orleans—southeast Louisiana is a wonderful mosaic of strong and resilient communities. We survived the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the Great Recession in 2008, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, and Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Most residents of Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes have made remarkable strides to rebuild their lives and neighborhoods. However, many in our region are still struggling to find jobs, stay healthy, feel safe and secure in their communities, and provide for themselves and their families. United Way of Southeast Louisiana has played an important role in supporting and strengthening our communities since 1924. In recent years, faced with new challenges and opportunities, as well as shifting social service trends, our United Way embarked on a journey to renew our approach to creating lasting change. The journey began with a carefully orchestrated listening process. We held community conversations across our seven-parish region where residents discussed their aspirations and the challenges they face. Some barriers that emerged included low wages, limited education, inadequate health care, and unaffordable housing. As United Way probed deeper into the data, it became clear that many more residents were straining to make ends meet than previously thought. Through research and engagement, it became clear that poverty is the fundamental issue in the region and the root cause of many of our social problems. This has led United Way to a bold new vision aimed at eradicating poverty.

OUR VISION: Equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated and economically stable Informed by voices from the community and validated by external research, the aim of this blueprint is to present a compelling path forward toward a stronger, prosperous and more equitable region. We want businesses and individuals to join us in developing strategies and partnerships. Together we can educate and empower people to help lift them out of poverty. We can create a stronger, better community.

POVERTY IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA Why We Need a Plan 42%, or nearly half the families in southeast Louisiana, are living in poverty or on the threshold of poverty. They aren’t meeting basic needs including housing, child care, health care, food and transportation. 19% of our population lives in poverty and must survive on as little as $11,490 for individuals and $23,550 for a family of four. Another 23% lives on the threshold of poverty. United Way identifies those households as ALICE. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are hardworking tax payers who don’t fit the traditional idea of poverty. They hold lower wage paying jobs such as cashiers, store clerks, office assistants, food service workers and more. ALICE households are living paycheck to paycheck – unable to save and are often one health emergency, one car repair, or one harsh storm away from poverty. United Way’s new Blueprint for Prosperity is taking a holistic approach that not only addresses the symptoms of poverty faced by residents today, but creates pathways of prosperity for generations to come. We know family stability and prosperity can only take hold if individuals are mentally and physically healthy, self-sufficient, and living in communities they are proud to call home. So, United Way’s work in stability today and prosperity tomorrow will be reinforced by a focus on personal wellness and vibrant communities.


42% CAN’T AFFORD THE BASICS Learn more about ALICE at

UNITED WAY BLUEPRINT GOAL: We want to eradicate poverty in Southeast Louisiana. VISION: Equitable communities where all

individuals are healthy, educated and economically stable.


To propel our bold new vision, United Way of Southeast Louisiana will

in programs and collaborations focused on poverty

with financial hardships


of children are living below the poverty line and are not having their basic needs met

23% of households

are living paycheck to paycheck, are unable to save and are often one emergency from poverty



42% of people are living

In our Southeast Louisiana region

new collaborations where they are needed most



OUR APPROACH How we work

15% of households are

living without quality health care insurance



violent crimes are being committed every year in Southeast Louisiana

We are aligning grants with programs while supporting existing collaborations that will help alleviate poverty in our community.



others to adopt our vision


others with data and innovative practices so they can accelerate their own impact


We are laser focusing our public policy work on poverty while creating a business coalition and educating donors on the importance of tackling the root causes.

We are identifying and bringing innovative programming and funding solutions to Southeast Louisiana.

We are creating a new collaborative effort in our financial stability and early education initiatives, that takes a holistic approach consistent with our new guiding principles and our vision.

Bringing the vision to life

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living united, by forging unlikely partnerships, by finding new solutions to old problems, by mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against each community’s most daunting social crises. Stability Today All families have the skills, resources and opportunities to access basic needs

Prosperity Tomorrow All families have the social, educational and financial assets to create a better future

Personal Wellness People of all ages enjoy a high quality of life and wellbeing

Vibrant Communities All communities are safe, thriving and equitable

Learn more about our BLUEPRINT at

To support our BLUEPRINT, United Way is investing in programs and collaborations focusing on poverty. We are inspiring others to adopt our poverty eradication vision; we are informing others with data and innovative practices so they can accelerate their own impact; and we are initiating new collaborations where we see gaps. We have changed our grant making approach to Collective Impact - which involves businesses, nonprofits, foundations, government, churches, schools and YOU coming together to break down silos, align programs and resources and set shared goals. We want others to be inspired by our vision and partner with us in this Collective Impact approach to quality jobs, growing incomes and better health and education opportunities in every parish in the region.

OUR BOLD STRATEGIES Fund what works to drive the four outcomes of Stability Today, Prosperity Tomorrow, INVEST Personal Wellness and Vibrant Communities We are laser focused on the eradication of poverty and all grant making and programmatic work will be aligned specifically with that goal. Programs like: • Individual Development Account Project or IDA: teaching families how to save for critical assets – and then matching their savings in order to provide a foundation for long term stability and self-sufficiency. • VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program: providing low-to- moderate income workers with free tax preparation services to keep all of their tax refunds in their pockets. • Financial Education Curriculum and Resource Guide: educating individuals through a basic financial literacy course on personal financial management, one-on-one financial coaching and the steps to take to help achieve financial stability. • STRIVE NOLA: continuing collaboration on free four-week job readiness training course for entry-level employment that stresses accountability, responsibility and personal growth. • YouthForce NOLA: continuing collaboration to provide our high school students with the training necessary to prepare them for high-wage, high-demand careers aligned to our regional industries. Our investment with others helped leverage $7.5 million for the program.

INSPIRE Encourage others to adopt the poverty agenda • We will educate donors on the importance of tackling the root causes of poverty. • We will mobilize a business coalition to work with us on the issue of poverty. • We will work to align the vast network of funders working on the issue of poverty.


• We will continue to laser focus our public policy and advocacy work on poverty.

Our 2016 Public Policy Legislative Agenda: “United Against Poverty” is tackling critical reforms such as: • Medicaid expansion • High quality early child care and education • State Match for Earned Income Tax Credits • Improved systems of care for children aging out of Foster Care

• Continued support of Equal Pay for Women • Expanded coverage for 211 • Domestic Violence Prevention & Increased funding to support victims of Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking

Share knowledge and innovative practices

• We will create and share a Prosperity Dashboard to track progress on eradicating poverty. • We will introduce more critical data into the poverty discussion. • We will identify and bring innovative programmatic and funding solutions to our area and accelerate our collective impact efforts.

INITIATE Create new collaborative efforts where there are gaps • We will continue to collaborate on early care and education. • We will create new collaborative on financial stability pulling together funders, providers and business leaders

Learn more about our BOLD NEW VISION at

Individuals struggle to attain financial stability with low wages and high unemployment



Children lag behind when spaces to grow and learn do not prepare them for future education and employment



School readiness is a strong indicator of earlychildhood achievement, high school completion, and employment. Children who grow up in poor, urban neighborhoods generally attend schools with low standardized test scores, significant classroom instability, and high dropout rates. Across SELA, elementary school students are unprepared to succeed come high school. More than 15% of first through third grade students require intensive support and score well below benchmark; according to the Fall 2014 Louisiana state assessment. Public high schools in six parishes have graduation rates lower than the national average of 81%.

Many SELA residents are living at and below the poverty level and struggling to find jobs. Opportunities for residents to advance are limited as low-wage jobs increase, and the economic landscape continues to shift towards high-skilled, knowledge-based industries that require specialized degrees but represent a small share of the overall economy. Low wage, primarily service jobs dominate the local economy, with most paying less than $15 per hour ($30,000/year). High-wage jobs offering stable incomes and upward mobility represented only 33% of all the metro area’s jobs in 2014. The parish with the lowest percentage of residents living below the poverty line is St. Tammany and the highest is Orleans. Recent census data shows that unemployment ranges from 5.1% in Plaquemines parish to 16.1% in Washington parish. For those with jobs, the basic cost of living and household expenses outpace wages, evidenced by the fact that for some residents up to 52% of their income goes towards paying rent.

Individuals face barriers to personal wellbeing due to lack of insurance and quality healthcare



Mental health, drug abuse, lack of access to care, nutritious foods, medicine, and treatment are concerns more pronounced in poorer communities. Medical attention in poor neighborhoods is frequently inadequate and more costly compared to more affluent neighborhoods. Health rankings conducted in 2015 found the quality and length of life varies across SELA. According to the CDC, many in SELA suffer from chronic kidney disease (32.5% in Plaquemines; 25.2% in St. Tammany), diabetes (9.3% in Jefferson; 14.3% in Washington), and preventable hospitalizations (92.6% in St. Bernard). On average, 17% of SELA households are uninsured.

WORKING TOGETHER TO ENSURE PROSPERITY United Way understands the magnitude of the poverty issue. We are committed to addressing poverty over the long-term, amplifying the work that is already happening across the region, partnering with and connecting organizations that are aligned on tackling poverty, and leveraging our own, unique assets to the cause. For United Way, prosperity in the 21st century includes access to basic needs and services, increased social inclusion, and a growing capacity for self-sufficiency and advocacy. We believe that together, through coordinated steps, we can have a more prosperous southeast Louisiana with quality jobs, growing incomes and better health and education opportunities in every parish in the region. We want all partners to commit to our Guiding Principles.

Our Blueprint for Prosperity and our new outcomes framework are driving our future investments in the community.

We are continuing to partner with local agencies for Program Grants, but also opened the process to organizations that may never have received UWSELA funding. In addition, we are also launching a new granting process designed to support collaborative approaches to addressing poverty in the region.

In order to realize this very bold agenda, we know we will have to do business differently. Now, even though individual donors can still designate their gifts to outside agencies, all our program grants must align with the Blueprint in order to be funded. Again—there is no way we can do this alone. We are urging our fellow funders, service providers, business leaders and investors to join with us in our focus on poverty. It is only through proactive collaboration that we can have the critical impact necessary to make our Blueprint for Prosperity a reality for all.

We are making two primary changes to our community investment approach:


(the basics)

Aligning Grants with the new prosperity outcomes framework, population-level indicators and guiding principles. • Program Grants are UWSELA’s traditional funding stream, designed to support distinct programs or projects. • Launching Collaboration Grants, designed to support groups of relevant stakeholders taking a collaborative approach to systems change.

Programs must meet funding criteria and have measurable outcomes.



% of unemployed individuals (among people of employment age)

% of participating individuals who secure and maintain stable, living wage employment

Overall poverty rate

% of participating households that can acquire basic needs with current income

% of households earning a living wage

% of participating individuals who acquire the necessary skills or services to overcome barriers to employment % of students graduating from a post-secondary institution (i.e. technical, community college, university, training program, etc.) with a certification or degree

% of families living with severe housing problems

% of children in poverty


% of households who secure housing % of households that maintain affordable, safe housing % of households that overcome housing barriers (affordability, discrimination, safety, housing conditions, utilities, insurance, etc.) % of households that have legal issues around housing resolved


% of participating households that have quality health care insurance

% of individuals who self-report good or better physical, behavioral or mental health

% of participating individuals who improve maintain, or slow the deterioration of their overall mental, behavioral, or chronic health conditions

% of population who are overweight or obese

% of participating individuals within a healthy BMI range

Low birth rate

% of expecting mothers who increase their knowledge on healthy pregnancy outcomes % of mothers who decrease their risktaking behaviors % of babies who are born healthy and of weight

% of vulnerable populations receiving high quality care

% of participating children who have basic needs met

% of participating children who achieve mastery in gross/fine motor, cognitive, language, self-help, and/or social/ emotional skills at the appropriate age

% of individuals graduating high school on time

% of participating students that graduate high-school on time

% of participating caregivers with the skills and knowledge to provide high quality support services


% of participating students promoted to the next grade

% of target residents involved in neighborhood watch and crime prevention programs % of individuals who have returned to their communities are not arrested % of individuals who have a re-entry plan % of individuals who have committed offenses are employed

% of participating students who achieve basic, mastery, or proficient on reading exam

% of children and teens who have their legal issues resolved

% of participating individuals who secure and maintain stable, living wage employment

% of individuals who are actively involved in the community

% of participants who show increase in earnings % of individuals reporting inadequate social support

% of participating individuals who report they have adequate social support

% of individuals with financial capability skills

% of participating individuals who increase their knowledge and skills to make sound money management and investment decisions % of participating individuals who access and use affordable financial products % of individuals who decrease the use of predatory lending products % of individuals who purchase and maintain an asset % of participating households with sufficient assets to meet basic needs for 3 months in the case of emergency loss of income

% of target individuals who report feeling civically engaged % of target individuals who are actively engaged in civic/volunteer activities

% of voter turnout

% of participating individuals who can acquire basic needs with current income

% of households that are asset poor


% of participating individuals who obtain their HISET diploma

% of participating individuals who improve two to three grade levels on exam % of individuals in ALICE households

% of participating seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and/or other members of other vulnerable populations reporting access to (or whose families report access to) high quality support services


% of children entering kindergarten ready to learn

% of individuals reading at grade-level


% of uninsured households

% of individuals who actively participate in voter education events % of individuals who vote

% of homeless individuals

% of individuals/families who secure immediate short-term housing for 6 months % of individuals who move into stable living conditions % of individuals who have barriers to housing removed

% of households with access to basic resources in the community

% of target households reporting access to local, affordable healthy food options % of target households reporting access to local, affordable transportation options % of target households reporting access to local, quality services like healthcare and education % of target households reporting access to basic emergency assistance % of target households reporting access to information and referrals to resources in their community


United Way fights for the health,

education and financial stability of every person in every community. we continue on this journey, we invite the community to join us because Where you fit in: Astogether, we can have impact at scale.



Participate on an advisory board to represent community voice and volunteer your time as a grant reviewer

Contribute data from your organization to the “prosperity dashboard”

Support the bold new vision by providing unrestricted gifts

Invite experts and ALICE families to share insights and data

Highlight best practices from your communities and organizations

Align programmatic work with the prosperity outcomes framework



Join UWSELA in policy campaigns to eradicate poverty

Promote collaboration across sectors by aligning strategies and sharing resources

Raise awareness and empower the voices of ALICE individuals

Join a collaborative in your community and area of expertise

Champion the work of building prosperity in your communities and with key stakeholders

Create spaces for community conversation and knowledge sharing

Ready to be a part of our BOLD NEW VISION? Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Connect. LIVE UNITED. Learn more at

How to get Involved GIVE • Donate through your workplace or at home • Coordinate a fundraiser • Attend our events ADVOCATE • Share our story • Learn about our public policy agenda • Contact your legislators VOLUNTEER • Teambuilding projects • Individual Engagement • Join a committee

CONNECT • Visit • Follow us on social media • Join our affinity and leadership groups

Together, we can create the maximum impact for the people in our region. Your personal commitment is instrumental to our Collective Impact approach to solving our community’s problems. United Way of Southeast Louisiana

serving Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes MAIN OFFICE 2515 Canal Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70119 504-822-5540 REGIONAL OFFICES St. Tammany PO Box 1750 Covington, Louisiana 70434 Tangipahoa PO Box 3066 Hammond, Louisiana 70404 Washington PO Box 217 Bogalusa, Louisiana 70429

We need YOU to join us. Connect with us at