United Way of Dane County will invest more than $19.5 million dollars in programs that focus on reducing poverty. As a part of their campaign “Champions for Change,” United Way raised funds from over 30,000 donors, business and partner agencies in 2018. A total of $19,526,101 dollars will be invested in to the Dane County community, focusing on programs and strategies that address areas of education, income and health. “The goal of investing this money is to provide support for programs proven to help stabilize families and ensure that every person in Dane County can succeed in school, work and life,” said Martha Cranley, the Executive Vice President of Community Impact at United Way. In a year round process, hundreds of volunteers including experts, business leaders, and key stakeholders read proposals submitted by community agencies.
The United Way of Dane County’s interactive game “Dane Changers” is officially available as an app. Users can now play the game on their mobile devices by downloading it through Google Play or the Apple App Store. The digital engagement tool, which launched in August, teaches users about widespread and critical issues in Dane County like poverty, educational achievement gaps, health inequalities and poverty. Approximately 12 percent of Dane County residents, or 64,000 people, live in poverty, but Dane County remains one of the best places to live in the United States. The United Way paired with Acme Nerd Games to produce the game and app.
United Way of Dane County has launched a fund to aid those affected by recent flooding. Dane County officials estimate flooding caused $155 million in damage throughout the county. As local families recover from the flood, the relief fund will be used to meet their needs unmet by other assistance programs, such as utility payments and home repairs not covered by insurance. The entirety of the collected funds will be invested into aiding the community. “It is imperative that we assist long-term recovery efforts by leveraging our expertise in fundraising, community-led stewardship of investments and accountability for effective, measurable strategies that create stability,” said Renee Moe, United Way of Dane County president and CEO, in a statement.
Despite Madison being rated as one of the best places to live, 64,000 people live in poverty in Dane County. That’s one in eight people, and one in six children. Dane Changers, an interactive digital game created by United Way of Dane County, teaches players about issues in education, income and health faced by people in the county who are living below the poverty line. The game, launched on August 21, introduces players to characters throughout the Dane County who tell players about their struggles, which raises awareness on the issues intertwined with poverty. From there, the game presents players with choices on how to assist those in need.
The Madison Commons Media Digest for this post-Memorial Day week:
Our Top Story: Former Alder Satya Rhodes-Conway declares that she will run for Mayor in 2019, from Abby Becker, @abecker_4 Cap Times.
In political news this past week: Chris Rickert Wisconsin State Journal reported on Madison residents discussing Gov. Walker’s $100 per child rebate asking: good politics or pandering? Foxconn disputed reports that it's already changing plans for its Wisconsin plant from Mark Sommerhauser, Wisconsin State Journal. In education, Edgewood College and the Hmong Institute are launching new certificate program, from Lisa Speckhard Pasque, Cap Times. The Madison Community Foundation donated $1.1 million to initiative to develop “wrap-around services” to students and their families, from the Wisconsin State Journal's Shelley K. Mesch @skmesch. This was the final award in a year of MCF giving and Mesch neatly recaps the entire year. In Nonprofit news: The Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice honored Sergio Gonzalez, a UW-Madison Ph.D., and the Community Immigration Law Clinic for immigrant advocacy work, from Lisa Speckhard Pasque, Cap Times.
United Way of Dane County will give free books to every child living in Dane County under the age of five through the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program. The Imagination Library program will mail free books directly to the child’s home every month. Imagination Library is an internationally implemented program, but it is new to Dane County due to an anonymous local donor. The program aims to encourage literacy and a love of books for Dane County children. This program, which allows children to build their own libraries before they begin kindergarten, is especially important for children from low-income households that may not be able to afford books otherwise.