Overview of Our Work
Berkshire United Way ignites the collective power of individuals and organizations to build a stronger community. It does this by leading coalitions, funding evidenced-based programs, and developing effective strategies that will lead to lasting change in our community. We do this by bringing people and organizations together to help improve outcomes in the following areas:
Berkshire United Way engages with the community through the Collective Impact approach which believes that in today’s environment, we can only achieve significant, sustainable improvements when we unlock the strengths of the entire community, rather than counting on a small number of individuals, non-profits and discrete programs to shoulder the burden. Collective impact involves collaboration among community and business leaders. What makes it unique is a common agenda, shared measures, activities among groups that are coordinated and reinforce one another, continuous communications, and a centralized structure. Berkshire United Way acts as the backbone to convene, facilitate, support and otherwise keep the work focused and moving forward in each of our priority community issues of early childhood literacy, positive youth development and economic prosperity.
Results-Based Accountability (RBA)
Asset Based Community Development
Asset based community development starts with the simple truth that everyone has gifts and has something to contribute to build strong and healthy communities. Both individual and organizational assets must be identified and mobilized to build on the strengths and capacities of residents. This process of asset mapping creates the path for residents to move from clients (recipients of service) to producers (co-producers of their own and their community’s well-being).
Two Generation Approach
As part of a two-generation approach, programs/activities must provide opportunities for and meet the needs of children, youth, parents and caregivers together. Research shows the impact of a parent’s education level, economic stability, and overall health on a child/youth’s trajectory. Similarly, children’s education and healthy development are powerful catalysts for parents.
As the above graphic shows, whole-family approaches focus equally and intentionally on services and opportunities for the parent and the child. Programs/activities must break through the silos of fragmented policies in order to harness a family’s full potential and put the entire family on a path to economic security.
See more at Annie E. Casey Foundation - Creating Opportunities for Families.
Berkshire Benchmarks is working to improve the quality, access, and volume of data and analysis on the region.
Berkshire Benchmarks, a program of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission funded by Berkshire United Way, is working in partnership with organizations across the region with expertise and hands-on day-to-day work in the areas of economic development, social services, and environmental stewardship. Berkshire Benchmarks focus is working with the community to understand priorities for action, improve information and education resources to help inform decisions, and then track performance measures over time. In short, their goal is to help mobilize informed and strategic decisions to help the region achieve its vision for the future!
They do this in two ways:
- Regional Indicators: They work collaboratively with the community to define what we want for our future and then track progress in achieving these goals. They also highlight successes and best practices in the region and beyond to continually inform and improve how things are done.
- Data Clearinghouse: They work to gather reliable data on the region using a variety of local, state, and national data sets. They do the footwork and quality control so that you don’t have to! This one-stop-shop for data on the region is intended to assist those decision-makers, service providers, and others who need reliable data to inform their work.
For more information, contact Mark Maloy.