Return Home Early Project,
which identifies foster children
who would be better served by
receiving intensive services in
their own homes. That effort
has cut the number of children
in the foster-care system by 54
percent—and saved the county
and state $1.1-million.
As a result, the legislature
continues to support the program.
“They understand that the
dollars we’ve invested have
gone for a good cause,” says Jim
Wallace, the county administrator. “It’s all about being able to
quantify what we’ve been able
Learn M ore
Join a live, online discussion with two experts on
Jeff Edmonson of Strive
and Willa Seldon of Bridgespan. Pose your questions
on February 14, at noon
Milwaukee’s United Way
groups to fight teenage
pregnancy. The rate has
dropped by 31 percent since
2006, in part because the
groups spent $2-million on
ads like these.
Finding Common Ground
The intensive planning process required in community collaboration may uncover overlooked strategies. When the
United Way of Greater Milwaukee gathered government officials, service providers, and
others in 2006 to find a way to
reduce one of the nation’s highest rates of teenage pregnancy,
what jumped out was how great
Your mission is to have a
Groups of all political and religious
views rallied to fight
positive impact on the world.
a contributing factor statutory
rape was in the crisis. Half of
the affected teenagers had been
impregnated by men 18 years of
age or older.
The coalition has spent $2-
million on advertising, much of
it on provocative ads that draw
attention to sexual aggression
as part of the problem. Teenage
pregnancy can be a divisive issue—those called together by
the United Way included representatives of Planned Parenthood and Baptist ministers
who preached abstinence—but
the effort to thwart statutory
rape was something every group
could rally around.
“People who were uncomfortable about the topic when they
heard about it became more
open to the campaign when
the root cause came out,” says
Nicole Angresano, the United
Way’s vice president of community impact.
The number of pregnant teenagers has dropped 31 percent
since 2006, and quarterly committee meetings are filled to capacity. “People like to be on a
winning team,” says Mary Lou
Young, the United Way’s CEO.
Now the city is hoping that
a Strive-like approach to education, called Milwaukee Succeeds, will help fourth graders
improve their reading scores.
The effort was started by the
Greater Milwaukee Foundation,
but the United Way will oversee
the early-childhood part of the
“We’re optimistic,” Ms. Young
says. “We think this effort will
bear fruit as well.”
Our mission is to have a
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