Education

Collaborative effort from United Way helps serve Triangle families

Posted October 4

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— The United Way is taking a new approach in their mission of strengthening Triangle families in need.

Every book is a child’s gateway for imagination and an opportunity for newfound confidence in learning to read.

“Unfortunately, two thirds of kids who grow up in low income households have no books at all. This is a problem we can totally fix,” said Ginger Young, executive director of Book Harvest.

Book Harvest, a nonprofit organization, gives out tens of thousands of books to Triangle children, targeting the summer months when Young says students can suffer crippling learning loss.

“It takes a whole village to make this happen. Our village is especially robust,” Young said.

That village is formed by the group’s biggest partner, the United Way of the Greater Triangle. The brand new approach by United Way, called a collaborative, allows organizations with the same goal to team up to address specific problems.

Part of the literacy collaborative, called “Close the Gap”, are Durham Public Schools, the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation and the company Ernst and Young.

“They are bringing together different partners and organizing them to bring the best thoughts and solutions from everyone so that our families who are in need are actually being served holistically,” said Amy Baker, market leader for Ernst and Young of the Carolinas.

The United Way has two dozen collaboratives that cover everything from safe housing to public health.

“By forming collabroatives, United Way can bring together the different service providers and agencies who can meet the whole need and not just focus on one need at a time,” Baker said.

The technical term for United Way’s new strategy is collective impact and it has proven successful for organizations around the nations, including the highly praised Harlem Children’s Zone.

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