Strolling around Downtown Salt Lake, it’s hard to miss the presence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church). From Temple Square to the Conference Center to one of our city’s tallest buildings, the LDS Church is one of the more easily recognizable organizations around town. However, what may be less recognizable is the LDS Church’s partnership with United Way of Salt Lake.
Collective Impact brings together businesses, non-profits, government agencies, foundations, and religious organizations in a coordinated and collaborative effort to change the odds for kids and families in our community.
While speaking at the LDS Church’s campaign kickoff event last Thursday, United Way of Salt Lake President and CEO, Bill Crim, established the need for religious organizations to be involved in Collective Impact by relaying the story of the starfish. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this story, I present you with the CliffsNotes version:
There once was an elderly man, who, from his balcony, looked out to see an entire beach covered in thousands of starfish. The tide had gone out and the sun was on the rise, which would ultimately result in the starfish’s death. Upon further inspection, the elderly man noticed a boy walking along the beach, bending over frequently, picking up a lone starfish, and throwing it back to sea. Leaving his balcony, the elderly man approached the boy to inquire about his efforts. “There are simply too many!” the man exclaimed. “Even if you worked all day, it would make no difference.” Unphased, the boy kneeled down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the ocean. He turned to the elderly man and stated, “It mattered to that one.”
The genius behind Collective Impact is that everyone can take part, and when we work together in a coordinated effort, we are able to multiply the impact of that single boy on the beach throwing back starfish. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gets involved in a big way.
In addition to generous in-kind contributions to United Way of Salt Lake such as print jobs, the LDS Church hosts an employee charitable giving campaign among their workforce on a gigantic scale. From 32 different departments, the LDS Church provides the opportunity for nearly 10,000 employees nationwide to donate through the United Way of Salt Lake charitable giving campaign. These contributions are in addition to any other offerings LDS Church employees may already pay through their local congregations.
Furthermore, the LDS Church provides a wonderful opportunity for their employees to get involved in the community through volunteering by participating in United Way of Salt Lake’s annual Day of Caring. Last year, the LDS Church sent out a volunteer force of over 500 individuals to tackle various projects at 8 different locations. This year, the only difference is that employees who have never before participated in the Day of Caring will be given priority. All volunteering spots were filled!
The LDS Church kicked-off their employee charitable giving campaign on September 3rd, and it will run through November 30th. When asked why the LDS Church partners with United Way of Salt Lake, a member of the LDS Church’s leadership responded by simply stating, “This Church does not have a corner on doing good.”