Community Impact

Introduction to Community Impact

For most of its history, United Ways worked to improve lives by mobilizing the financial resources of businesses, individuals and foundations in support of direct service programs—the foundation of our work, now and into the future. However, despite the money raised and all the services provided, many problems in our community continued and some even grew worse.

While our community had, for example, provided child care that improved thousands of children’s lives, we didn’t know what percentage of our children were ready to succeed in kindergarten. While we provided programs to help youth build character and skills, a large percentage of them were not graduating from high school. While many adults received job training, too many did not attain or retain jobs.

To address these larger, systemic issues, United Way saw a need to deal with the conditions that created them in the first place. Doing so called for a change in how United Way does its work; a change that requires focusing collective action on establishing goals, identifying strategies and measurements, and mobilizing resources---both people and financial---to find and deliver solutions to the problems keeping our community from being even stronger.

In August of 2008, the Board of Directors of United Way of Mat Su officially adopted a new business model focused on Community Impact. This is a new comprehensive community-wide focus to advance the common good in the Mat-Su Borough, by creating long-lasting positive changes to address the underlying cause of community problems.


From a strategic standpoint, this model will include three tactics necessary for success: system change, advocacy, and program investment. To encourage community involvement, United Way is committed to providing opportunities in each of these areas.


After reviewing community data, statistics and gathering feedback on community needs, United Way of Mat-Su convened three Impact Councils around Education, Income and Health in 2009. These councils were made up of community stakeholders, volunteers, issue experts, nonprofits, government and board members to assess the most pressing needs, identify priority issues and strategies, and to formulate a Community Plan to improve the valley in a measurable and sustainable way.


There are three essential building blocks for a good life: education, income and health.

  • Education is the basis for individual success; by focusing on Education, children and youth achieve their potential. They are ready for and complete school, and have career and life skills to prepare them for success.

  • An Income adequate to pay for today’s necessities provides individuals and families with financial stability and independence.

  • Access to quality Health care keeps children on track in school, adults productive at work and provides a foundation of care and support to ensure healthy lives for all people.

This plan serves as an outline to advance the common good. It is a plan focused on mobilizing diverse resources, leveraging partnerships, building capacity, incubating innovation, and engaging leaders. All of us working together to change the conditions to improve lives not just of program clients, but of community populations. Our community. This is what we call community impact. It is a fluid, ever-evolving call to give, advocate, and volunteer; a call to a collective, focused action that will drive systems change and produce results in our community.


2008 Community Impact Survey Results (.pdf)

Impact Councils Media Release (.doc)

Community Plan (.ppt 431KB) Download a viewer here.

Commuity Indicators (.pdf)