United Way of Greater New Haven has focused for the last three years on education, income and health because we know that these areas are most important to individuals and families achieving success in life. While the three are inter-related, education is at the heart of our societal challenges. The nature of our economy today requires increasingly sophisticated skills for people to command a sustainable income. The future economic development of our region will depend on the available talent living here.
Jack Healy's blog
Several years ago UWGNH was facing a very difficult annual campaign and we decided that we needed to bring the volunteers and staff together to build a high performance team. We decided to take the group for a day long adventure at the “ropes course” at the Hopkins School. The course is set up as a series of challenges that require strategy and teamwork. The group was doing very well balancing a seesaw, trusting each other while blindfolded and the other challenges and we all thought “this is no problem”-- until we came to the wall. The wall was twelve feet high and was flat as a board. The challenge was to get the entire team to the top of the wall. We were a mixed group of older, younger, male and female and one team member who was over 300 pounds.
New Media is quickly becoming the strategy center of all of the opportunities we provide people to give, volunteer and advocate for the common good. Eighteen months ago I asked JR Logan (our then Director of Leadership Giving) to leave that position and to immerse himself in the new world of Blogs, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and all other things “New Media”; to learn what was going on and how we needed to use these new tools to bring the Live United Brand alive. As with most things in life, timing is everything, and the timing could not have been more perfect. JR’s individual journey and more importantly, UWGNH’s journey has been dramatic, and has transformed the way we mobilize the citizens and institutions of the Greater New Haven Region to improve people’s lives.
Like so many of us boomers, the Woodstock anniversary brought back memories of a different time and in so many ways a different Country. I spent the summer of ‘69 in Ithaca taking a couple of courses and bartending. Every where you went people were hitchhiking, dropping in on each other for an instant party, listening to music and always talking about how we were going to change the world.
Recently, two letters to the editor critical of United Way were published in the New Haven Register. We have been challenged as to whether or not to respond publically. After consultation with Chairman of the Board Al Smith and Board member Charlie Mason, we agreed that it was not constructive to begin a public debate. However, we did feel that this letters required some response.
I would like to engage interested people from all sectors in a dialogue for the purpose of identifying the skills necessary for effective leadership in this new era. I have summarized a framework around the following ten skill sets as a starting point for our discussion. This list will undoubtedly look different as it evolves over the next few months, but I am confident that the end product will help guide our work and improve our ability to tackle our biggest community challenges.
United Way of Greater New Haven has focused for the last three years on education, income and health because we realize that these are the areas most important to success in life. While the three are inter-related, education is at the heart of our societal challenges. The nature of our economy today requires increasingly sophisticated skills for people to command a sustainable income. The future economic development of our region will depend on the available talent living here.
When we conducted the region-wide needs assessment under Tom Sansone’s leadership, virtually all leaders in the region agreed that the most important issue for us to address was the disparity in educational achievement between the suburbs and the central city. Since then, the challenge has been addressed in a variety of ways. One of the most notable has been the extraordinary work done on early childhood development with such efforts as Success By 6. There have also been great volunteer tutoring programs conducted by partner agencies like New Haven Reads. We are making progress but the challenge is profound and requires significant leadership.