In 2010, United Way began investing in three 10-year “impact” initiatives—LEARN WELL, EARN WELL and LIVE WELL—using a variety of organizations to help it implement “evidence-based” strategies with a track record of success. More than 130 organizations are involved, including school districts, municipalities, foundations, businesses and faith-based groups.
LEARN WELL Education Initiative
The goal of LEARN WELL is to help 8,000 students who are at risk of dropping out to graduate on time by 2020. Students who were in eighth grade at six Fort Worth ISD middle schools when the initiative began in 2010-2011 were the first group to graduate last year. At that time 788 of the students graduated on time. Thousands of students have been added to the academic pipeline since 2010-2011, so the number of graduates that United Way has worked with is expected to increase exponentially in coming years.
Besides helping students graduate on time, the LEARN WELL initiative has assisted thousands of children facing key moments in their academic lives during the last five years. Some examples:
- 11,109 students participated in “Jumpstart Learning,” which prepares preschoolers to succeed in kindergarten.
- The “Reading Ready” program that helps elementary students improve their reading ability grew by 800%, from 68 students in 2010 to 621 students in 2015.
- 4,025 at-risk middle-schoolers participated in “Middle School Tools,” which helps students discover and follow their career goals to high school graduation and beyond.
- Since the high-school level “Destination Diploma” program was started in 2014, more than 315 students and their parents have received support to ensure they stay on track for graduation. At Fort Worth ISD’s Eastern Hills High School, for example, 44% of the ninth grade participants had parent-signed degree plans compared to the campus average of 19%.
Joining United Way as lead partners in the LEARN WELL initiative during the last five years have been the Arlington ISD, Birdville ISD, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth, Crowley ISD and Fort Worth ISD.
EARN WELL Financial Stability Initiative
The goal of EARN WELL is to help 24,000 low-income working families be on the path to financial stability by 2020. Over the last five years, United Way has improved the financial stability of 11,648 families through increases in income, education and improved financial management. Among the accomplishments:
- 23,184 people participated in the EARN Well initiative.
- EARN WELL generated $18.7 million more per year in income.
- EARN WELL participants reduced their debt by $865,049.
- United Way-funded Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) centers yielded $17.2 million in Earned Income Tax Credits.
Lead partners with United Way in the EARN WELL initiative during 2010-2015 have been Catholic Charities, the City of Arlington, City of Fort Worth, Family Pathfinders, Foundation Communities, Tarrant County College, The Women’s Center and the YWCA of Fort Worth & Tarrant County (now the Center for Transforming Lives).
LIVE WELL Health Initiative
The goal of LIVE WELL is to improve the lives of 17,000 adults with ongoing health concerns by 2020. It employs several programs proven to help people manage health conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and the risk of falling. From 2010-2015, the LIVE WELL initiative improved the lives of 7,363 people. Other five-year results:
- 1,464 people participated in the A Matter of Balance fall prevention program, and 83% felt they were better able to control falls afterward.
- 70% of the 1,426 participants in the Diabetes Salud! diabetes management program improved their blood sugar (A1C) level by 10% or more.
- 5,200 older adults had their medications reviewed for possible errors such as potentially harmful combinations and unnecessary duplicate ingredients. They were referred to a pharmacist when warranted.
- 506 people attended United Way-sponsored health literacy symposiums, and 134 librarians and clinical health professionals were trained to help people access and understand health information.
Lead partners with United Way in the LIVE WELL initiative during 2010-2015 have been the Alzheimer’s Association, Easter Seals North Texas, Meals On Wheels, North Texas Area Community Health Centers, University of North Texas Health Science Center and Senior Citizen Services. In addition, Tarrant County Public Health, John Peter Smith, TCU, and Texas Health Resources have contributed substantially to the success of LIVE WELL.
In addition to United Way’s education, income and health work, its 2-1-1 information and referral service answered about a quarter-million calls annually, helping thousands of people; many of whom were retired.
United Way’s Area Agency on Aging invested $19.4 million in services that benefit older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers.