UWSC changes strategy towards long-term success

With a new year comes new resolutions, and the United Way of St. Charles is taking full advantage of that fact by turning their community improvement strategy from short term success to long term improvement.

After a year long strategic planning effort led by the organization’s board of directors, the UWSC has come up with a new community impact model in which they will prioritize funding for programs designed to improve the long term quality of life for area residents.

“Community impact is more detailed in nature and qualitatively different than our previous direct impact focus,” Denise Brodsky, executive director for UWSC, said. “The new community impact approach is the difference between finding a homeless, hungry person a meal and  bed for the night versus helping the community identify the root causes of hunger and homelessness and assisting in mobilizing resources to respond with solutions to alleviate hunger and homelessness.”

To support the new impact model, UWSC will utilize a new process for determining funding for partner entities by using competitive grants. Competitive grants are awarded to the proposed activities that are deemed to have a greater impact and a more certain outcome than other grant request.

They typically require matching funds.

All programs and agencies currently funded by UWSC can continue to apply for assistance, but the organization says that in order to create lasting change, they will also offer grant application opportunities to the business and leadership community at large.

“By working directly with this larger community, we will better address the root causes of our community’s needs,” Brodsky said. “This will lead to more accurate prioritization of issues, broad agreement on solutions and, most importantly, the coordination of resources to accomplish real and sustainable improvement in the community.”

Mark Keiser, Chairman of the UWSC Board of Directors, said that a new strategy was needed in order for the organization to provide lasting change for the future.

“The real strength in this new model is its direct engagement of and partnership with the community at large,” he said. “Our commitment is to align our focus and funding to get real results at the community level.

“With this new model, I believe UWSC will be better poised to dramatically improve the quality of life over the long term for individuals and families in our community.”
Community impact areas currently served by UWSC include: strengthening the community and supporting families, helping kids succeed and promoting health, wellness and independence.

Brodsky is certain that this new model will help the organization succeed in those areas.

“This realignment of our focus obviously requires broad community collaboration, which is at the heart of the community impact model,” she said. “To create lasting change by improving the conditions and systems that affect people, United Way of St. Charles will work with and recognize existing and emerging community leaders and businesses, as well as charitable agencies to engage expertise and energy from multiple sectors of the community.”


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