David Rabin: Why You Should Give to Greenwich United Way

Submitted by David Rabin, CEO at the Greenwich United Way

One question I have been asked so often since becoming CEO at the Greenwich United Way almost four years ago is: Why should I give to the Greenwich United Way?

One sentence sums it up: For 86 years, the Greenwich United Way has been the only organization in town that improves the quality of life for ALL of Greenwich!

How do we do that? A dual strategy: through our detailed grants process and our own programs.

Our grants process, or Community Investment Process (CIP), accepts grant applications from organizations that serve Greenwich residents. With the help of upwards of 25 community volunteers, we do a deep dive into every application. By that, I mean we review all the financials of the organization (program and organization budgets, tax returns, audited financials, balance sheets, etc.), and we do a site visit. We ask the pertinent questions to ensure our donor dollars are having the greatest impact possible. Remember, we fund PROGRAMS that help the most vulnerable of Greenwich, not agency’s capital improvements. Then, one year AFTER the grant is awarded, we request detailed information on that grant for our rigorous Results Based Accountability procedure. We discover the true impact of that
grant: how much was done, how well it was done, and who is better off. We do the work, so you don’t have to.

No one agency can address all the needs in town. However, the Greenwich United Way is the only organization that is uniquely positioned to bring together, through collective impact, the organizations best suited to solve our most pressing needs that are uncovered through our Needs Assessment. Our own Direct Impact programming addresses important issues such as closing the achievement gap in town. We are about a year in to our Early Childhood Achievement Gap Solutions program.

Partnering with Family Centers, the Greenwich Public Schools and Greenwich Alliance for Education, we have had very promising early results.

Early Childhood Achievement Gap Solutions is a two-pronged approach: a birth to 3-year-old home visitation program and a pre-school enrichment component. We must set up ALL our children to succeed by “giving them the fishing pole, not just the fish.”

In its 14th year, our Reading Champions program is in all Greenwich public elementary schools and four after-school sites, improving the reading fluency of almost 500 children every year. New last year is our Finance Champions program. After last year’s successful pilot at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, it
is now a full year curriculum that will help seventh and eighth graders improve their financial literacy at an early age, setting them up for success.

Our Junior United Way, another Direct Impact program, helps teens learn about leadership, the needs of our community and philanthropy.

When you consider…
– surprising to many, nearly one-third of Greenwich’s population is under extreme financial hardship
– 20% of the students in our public schools are eligible for free / reduced lunch
– State and federal cuts to our funded agencies have adversely impacted programs serving those in need

…then it becomes clear why you should give to the Greenwich United Way.
We uncover unmet health, education and self-sufficiency needs, raise awareness and support, and together with the best community partners, develop lasting solutions.
Our latest Needs Assessment, projected to be out in September 2020, will be the most robust and comprehensive report on the town of Greenwich we have ever done. Please be on the lookout for requests for YOUR input so we can include all the feedback necessary to make the 2020 Needs Assessment the best “roadmap” for us to continue addressing the needs of our town.

This is why you give to the Greenwich United Way.

We FIND it, we FUND it, and we FIX it!

We are grateful for the continued support of the Greenwich community in our efforts to ensure that every resident has the opportunity to be healthy, educated and self-sufficient.