THE UNITED WAY
An online, interactive version of this publication is available at www.liveunited.org
GOALS FOR THE COMMON GOOD
FOR MANY MILLIONS OF HARD-WORKING FAMILIES, the basic ingredients for a good life are increasingly beyond reach. Almost one in four working parents don’t earn enough to provide for their families. An alarming 25 percent of teenagers will not graduate on time, imperiling their chances to make a successful transition to adulthood. Only one in three adults can be considered healthy, based on risk factor data from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and more than 49 million Americans lack even basic health insurance.
Our nation can’t accept these conditions. We need to challenge our systems—to create opportunities for a better life for everyone. To move more aggressively in this direction, United
Way drew on research and sought input from a broad range of partners to gauge where progress has—and has not—been made over the last 10 years. This information is the foundation for these Goals for the Common Good.
By 2018, we as a nation must:
Cut by half the number of young people who drop out of high school
Cut by half the number of lower-income families that lack financial stability
Increase by a third the number of youths and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors These targets—one in the area of education, another focused on income and a third focused on health—are building blocks for a good life.
You need a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family and good health.
United Way has a theory about how to create changes of this magnitude. It begins with declaring bold goals. When the stakes are high,
Americans will rise to the occasion. That leads to partnership, the second critical element.
We have to think differently about partnerships and set aside our special interests if we want to make real progress. This work requires collaboration across all sectors—big businesses, small businesses, elected officials, nonprofits, academia, the faith community, the labor movement, the media, parents and neighbors.
Working together, we can accomplish things that no organization, no individual and no government can accomplish on its own.
With this challenge to America, United Way hopes to reignite a movement that is committed to creating opportunities for everyone— and we invite you to be a part of it. Visit
WWW.LIVEUNITED.ORG to find out how you or your organization can make a difference.
Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow.
Brian A. Gallagher
President & CEO
EDUCATION + INCOME + HEALTH
Education, income and health are the building blocks for a good life. Education is essential to getting and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits. An income adequate to pay for today’s necessities and save for the future provides families some sense of financial stability. Access to quality health care keeps children on track in school and adults productive at work. Remove any one of these building blocks and the other two topple.
Working with many partners, United Way continually looks for the most effective ways to help people gain access to educational, economic and health-related opportunities.
To achieve further progress, it is now necessary to measure where we stand in these areas and look ahead to where we need to be as a country.
For this reason, United Way launched an effort in 2005 to identify and track troubling social issues that are common across communities.
The 12 indicators presented here show how
America has fared in improving education, income and health status. They are based on the most reliable and relevant data available.
Taken together, these indicators show isolated signs of progress, but, overall, underscore the enormity of the task ahead.
| Goals for the Common Good: The United Way