Like many college graduates, a few years ago I found myself at a crossroads. I had received a business degree but I always had a desire to work for a nonprofit organization. I was torn between the corporate world, the nonprofit sector, and option to spend some time traveling the world. This fork in the road forced me to evaluate my options and prioritize what mattered most to me. The underlying question that I faced was: how can I live and work in the most fulfilling way? Thankfully, only a few short years after graduation, I have found myself at United Way of Salt Lake—a place where my career ambitions and desire to serve intersect.
United Way of Salt Lake’s staff and mission are a wonderful for several reasons. First of all, I am surrounded by people each day who challenge me to be a better person both personally and professionally. Second, I have had the opportunity to join a Donor Network called Young Leaders where I can meet and volunteer alongside people who have similar interests and passions. My co-workers and fellow Young Leaders have enhanced my life and work experience tremendously since I started this job back in August. But besides being personally fulfilled, working at UWSL has allowed me to use my resources and talents to be a part of something much bigger than me—something the folks at United Way of Salt Lake call Collective Impact.
Collective Impact operates under the assumption that no one person, company, or nonprofit organization can solve complex social problems. If each one of us contributes our unique skills and gifts to help make our community a better place we can finally see the change that we have talked about for so long. The best part of this Collective Impact model is that it’s working! Since UWSL started working in line with the Collective Impact model in 2011, we have seen at 9 percent increase in 3rd grade reading across all of our Promise Partnerships. One of our Community Schools, Granite Park Junior High, now has 52 percent of 9th graders on track to graduate (a 27 percent increase from just two years ago). And in just this past year alone, 8,334 volunteers contributed 30,022 hours of service and bettered the lives of 294,000 students and families. What an incredible achievement!
I am proud to be a part of Collective Impact work with United Way of Salt Lake. I truly believe my involvement with UWSL has allowed me to live a more satisfying, fulfilling life. If you’re reading this, I would encourage you to GIVE, ADVOCATE, or VOLUNTEER!