United Way NCA has completed a major transformation, both internally and in terms of how it works with and relates to the community. There is a strong leadership team firmly in-place and a robust strategic planning process has just been concluded. An organizational pivot is underway that will build added trust and relevance in our community.
The United Way staff and Board have recognized that civic needs of the Washington area continue to grow and the funds being donated by corporation, foundations and individual citizens are not keeping pace with the compelling needs. In fact, based on the current trend the variance between resources and needs is getting wider apart.
Furthermore, the region’s future is not as bright as it once was. A few reasons for the storm clouds:
- If congress fails to achieve a deficient reduction deal, defense and government contractors including: Lockheed, SAIC, Boeing, QNA, Northrop Grumman, etc. will implement significant job cuts across the region.
- BRAC realignment will take economic activity away from the core population areas and cause job loss in the NCA.
- Sequestration could affect all sectors of our economy that rely on government contracts. . .the cascade effect will be significant to the local economy.
- State and local governments have no more financial tricks up their sleeves and tax revenues have declined. This is why we’ll continue to see major cuts in social services and other basic need programs.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are ending their long-term philanthropic support for area nonprofits.
All of this is bad news for the region’s economy and thus for the nonprofit community. The new United Way can help lead the response to this new era of challenges for the NCA. . .an era we have not experienced in our recent history.
With these facts in mind, and in concert with our strategic planning efforts, United Way has moved to a “community impact” model, championed by United Way Worldwide and already a proven success in dozens of local United Ways throughout the US. This model focuses on meeting the most compelling community needs by mobilizing resources to create focused, measurable, and sustained community impact through targeted investments with specific solutions to address problems.
Through the strategic planning process we have identified a top social and economic priority for this region, a priority that will resonate across each of our five local counties as well as Alexandria, Arlington and the district. Significant future United Way energy and resources will be directed towards these challenges. Look for more information on the specifics of this priority impact work in the coming weeks.
This strategic pivot is a multifaceted process that will require well-planned and well-executed actions over the next several years. The Board and the staff have already initiated this course of action as we emerge from a six-month strategic planning phase. The result of this planning effort is a new vision for our business model and a structure for the next 3-5 years that will guide us forward. The planning process has engaged: Board, staff, our nonprofit members, Regional Council volunteers, and other key community stakeholders.
Thus, the real work begins as the organization is transforming to give this community the United Way it needs and deserves.