United Way of Salt Lake

Power of Your Purse 2017 - Empowering Girls Through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Every year, The United Way of Salt Lake hosts its annual Power of Your Purse Gala, raising funds for and celebrating the work of the Women's Leadership Council. The efforts of the Women's Leadership Council are focused upon Women for Education Achievement, which aims to help young girls and women reach their potential through education.

The Women's Leadership Council is a group of over 250 local women leaders with a goal of increasing the educational opportunity and achievement for all girls and young women in our community. Their focus, the Women for Educational Achievement, shoot to make a positive impact through tracking key metrics such as:

·       Increasing the percent of elementary students testing proficient or higher in math and reading by the third grade;

·       Pushing middle school students to play a more active role in engaging in their education by showing they understand its value and importance to their future success;

·       Measurably improved high school graduation rates; and

·       A major focus on the entrance to and completion of post-secondary educational programs such as technical training or college.

To influence students in pursuing these goals, the Women’s Leadership Council has made efforts to change the narrative and cultural factors regarding women’s place in education and the workforce. By coordinating with local partners promoting education in the community, progress has been made in all of these key areas, but a lot of work must still be done. Funding curriculum that highlights the importance of post-secondary education, as well as raising awareness of and addressing financial issues that impact the ability to pursue continued education remain top priority for the Council.

The annual Power of Your Purse event is held as the signature event to bring awareness and raise funds for these issues, and more. This year's focus will be on launching new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives for low-income students across the Salt Lake Valley. Keynote speaker Reshma Saujani will discuss the importance of equipping young women with the technological and computing skills necessary to pursue high quality careers in the 21st century. She is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national leader on closing the gender gap in computer science and technology jobs. Her recent TED Talk on empowering girls and young women by teaching them bravery through risk-taking and the embracing failure, as well as the importance of mentorship, has over 3 million views.

While tickets to this event have sold out, you can still make a donation to support STEM initiatives for low income students by clicking on the button below.

United Way of Salt Lake: Utilizing Collective Impact and Pay-For-Success

For nearly a century, United Way of Salt Lake has been helping members of its community achieve their highest potential through education, financial stability, and leading healthy lives.

Through its collective impact partnerships and pay-for-success contracts, one of the first in the country, the United Way of Salt Lake is changing the way we make real change happen here in Salt Lake City.

But what does it mean to be in a collective partnership? What are pay-for-success contracts? We hear these buzzwords often, but understanding what they mean can be challenging.

Collective Impact

Collective impact is a framework to attack and solve complex community issues. This innovative approach tackles problems leveraging collaborative efforts through business, non-profit, philanthropy, government and citizen activism communities to achieve lasting social change. The theory is no single policy, department, organization, or program can solve increasingly complex issues on their own. Collective Impact asks for a multipurpose approach to problem-solving by looking past an organization’s and individual’s needs, and to develop a common agenda for shared measurement, progress, and effort. The difference between collective impact and a general partnership is that collective impact utilizes a centralized infrastructure with dedicated staff to support participating organizations transition from working alone to acting in cooperation.


Pay-for-success (PFS), also called a “Social Impact Bond,” drives government and private resources toward social programs that produce results for those most in need of a particular service. PFS gives service providers - be it a non-profit, charity, or other organizations - access to sound, up-front resources to cover initial startup costs through a private loan. The United Way and government agencies guarantee the loan and repay it with cost savings achieved through a successful program.

For example, in 2010 United Way of Salt Lake partnered with Voices for Utah Children and Granite School District to research the impact of high-quality preschool programs for at-risk children.  The results were astounding, and in 2013 Salt Lake County and Goldman Sachs joined the partnership to run the program. Goldman Sachs provided a $1 million loan for early childhood education, and Salt Lake County and USWL would guarantee the loans repayment. The loan’ repayment will come through savings achieved by reducing the number of children in need of special education and ancillary services, private donations raised by the United Way, and government support.

To date, the initiative was a resounding success as all partners learned that high-quality preschool programs provided sustained improved outcomes for children. There is currently an effort to expand the program to additional school districts throughout Utah. The success of early childhood education at Granite School District is just one example of how UWSL is using a collective impact and pay-for-success approach to address real issues and provide practical solutions.

To learn more about United Way of Salt Lake, or to get involved, please visit their website at http://www.uw.org .