Dear Community Partner,
For almost 85 years, UWSC has been committed to a better Snohomish County, and despite a changing landscape, we are committed to listening, learning and working steadfastly to respond to the most pressing needs of our neighbors and friends.
Six Years ago United Way of Snohomish County announced the Creating Open Roads to Equity collaborative model. This approach put all our resources and support behind several community-led initiatives to address issues of generational poverty in our county. These “CORE Collaboratives” represent almost 100 agencies working in partnership towards shared goals. The work of the CORE Collaboratives has been essential in helping students succeed in school, families reunite, and communities connect. We could not be prouder of the way this approach has reshaped Snohomish County.
While the original CORE roadmap envisioned a 10-year journey for the Collaboratives to reach independence, we never imagined the incredible change the world would experience during these last three years. The pandemic period brought dramatic shifts in community needs, while also altering how and where we live and work. We also witnessed a shift in philanthropic trends and a growing wealth inequality that has tested our experience as fundraisers and systems connectors. A smaller team combined with funding changes means that UWSC no longer has the revenue or staff capacity to continue our role as the backbone support for the CORE Collaboratives. With these realities in mind, United Way’s Board of Directors has made the decision to end our funding relationship with CORE after their contracts conclude on December 31st. We remain committed to finding other avenues to support them outside of a financial capacity.
Recognizing that we exist to strengthen our shared community, we have been exploring how we can best improve lives now. This year we have focused on finding new and creative ways to improve learning, education and stability of a child’s early years, which are crucial to their success in life. Many of the new programming ideas you have seen from us this year grew out of CORE itself and we are excited to see the impact these new programs make in Snohomish County.
In June we successfully launched our partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, bringing free, high-quality books into the hands of our smallest learners. This program ensures that families, regardless of income, have access to early literacy opportunities in their homes, while also providing bonding opportunities for children and their caregivers. Fifty percent of the funding for this program is provided through United Ways of the Pacific Northwest and the Washington Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI). Thanks to that funding assistance, almost 9,000 Snohomish County Children are enrolled to receive free books every month.
We also recently partnered with Best Dental Help, a mobile dental clinic operating in Washington State, that provides dental cleanings, fluoride treatment, sealants, and education to elementary school children. We were introduced to Best Dental Help through their partnership with the North Counties’ Communities Collaborative (NCCC), a CORE partner. For many of the children NCCC partners were seeing in Darrington (one of our most remote communities), this was their only opportunity to have dental care provided to them on a yearly basis. Because of the amazing work they are doing, we are excited to build on this relationship and expand both their reach and awareness throughout Snohomish County. Dental care is health care, and all children deserve to have access to the most basic of needs; we look forward to sharing their invaluable contributions to our community.
As we look to the future, we are taking time to listen to you, our community. We launched a community survey last month – have you shared your input? You can find the survey in English here, and the Spanish version here. We hope to have more concrete plans to share next spring. We have also released our 2022-2023 Annual Report, which you can find here. And finally, if you have questions about our decision surrounding CORE, please see our frequently asked questions here.
Snohomish County is a beautiful place to call home, and together we are making it a healthier, more inclusive place. Thank you for being part of our journey!
Maya Hemachandra, MPA, CFRE
Interim President & CEO
United Way of Snohomish County