Collective Impact FAQs

  1. What is Collective Impact?
  2. What does Collective Impact mean for the recent United Way decisions?
  3. What are Community Schools?
  4. Besides grant funding, does United Way offer other types of support for nonprofits?
  5. When did this change in funding happen?

Questions about Collective Impact or United Way's transition into this forward-thinking, community building funding model? Contact Sugra Bibi, Director of Community Impact. 


1. What is Collective Impact?

Collective Impact is a movement in Lebanon County, led by United Way, that works towards lasting change, establishes community pride, and helps every citizen - young and old - thrive. We will bring this vision to life through:

  • Identifying key areas of need within the county.
  • Leveraging expertise, human capital, and financial resources.
  • Facilitating partnerships between organizations and stakeholders.
  • Advocating for policies, strategies and practices that address complex issues.

United Way identified our goals for Lebanon County by engaging with members of our community and analyzing the data collected in our 2017 Community Needs Assessment. This was developed in partnership with Penn State University. The information gathered helped us to strategically target areas of need and define our goals: 

  • 90% children reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade by 2025
  • 100% youth are connected to work or school by 2025
  • 7,000 adults are self-sufficient by 2025 
  • Ensure that our community members in critical situations can stabilize and their basic needs are met
2. What does Collective Impact mean for the recent United Way funding decisions? 

The levels of need in Lebanon County are diverse and complex. United Way is passionate about maximizing our collective, community resources to meet our community needs. We recognize that by bringing people and organizations together, we can accomplish so much more than any one organization can alone. United Way’s funding priorities are focused on programs and collaboratives working together to maximize resources to ensure long-term, measurable impact in alignment with the established goals. The total community investment is anticipated to exceed $900,000, inclusive of donations raised through United Way’s annual campaign that get designated directly to other nonprofits.

United Way reviewed many applications from various local nonprofits who are doing exemplary work supporting individuals and families within our communities. Due to financial restraints in United Way’s currently available funds and reduction in our annual campaign totals in recent years, difficult choices had to be made. Recommendations were made by community volunteer committees, and final funding decisions were approved by the Board of Directors on May 16, 2019 for the upcoming fiscal year based upon alignment with goals and ability to make a measurable impact. Funding priority for Collective Impact grants was given to partnership projects and the community schools initiative: 

Two-year funding through FYE 6/30/21

  • 2019 Summer Learning Program 
  • Be The One Parenting Program 
  • Early Intervention Program 
  • Lebanon County Employment Collaborative 
  • Myerstown Community Library Raising A Reading Initiative 
  • Living Beyond Illness 
  • Pipelines and Pathways to Success 
  • Palmyra Education & Health Collaborative 
  • Lebanon YMCA Teen Thrive Program
  • STEAM Day Camp 

One-year funding through FYE 6/30/20

  • 2-1-1 Resources Hotline
  • Crisis & Healing Response to Survivors of Sexual Violence
  • Critical Help for Critical Moments 
  • Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County Emergency Shelter 
  • FRESH Start Emergency Shelter and Resource Center
  • Halcyon Activity Center 
Live United Grants (one-time grants to support initiatives in our community that are focused on education, financial stability, and/or health through the collaboration of two or more partnering nonprofit organizations) 
  • American Heart Foundation 
  • Girls on the Run 
  • RSVP of the Capital Region 
  • Support Connections on Lebanon County 
  • The Arc of Lancaster Lebanon 
  • Quest 

United Way Community Schools County-wide Intitiative

  • Start up costs for first official community schools in Northwest Elementary and Lebanon Middle Schools
3. What are Community Schools, and why are they important?

Our Needs Assessment identified lower than average literacy levels among Lebanon County. Based upon nationwide models that have made significant improvements elsewhere, we determined that building closer partnerships with our schools is a necessity because of their role in educating children and youth and helping them reach their full potential. We have identified that many students need additional support to maximize the learning opportunities in schools. Community Schools bring a range of accessible, student-focused support services like health and special learning to the schools, which has been proven to lead to improved student health and academic success, family stability, and community engagement. 

The first official community schools in our county-wide initiative will be opening for the 2019-2020 school year at Northwest Elementary School and Lebanon Middle School. While we build these initial hubs, we also recognize that it’s critical to support students and families throughout all of Lebanon County. We are investing comparably in programs that support those needs in other locations such as the Myerstown Community Library Raising A Reading Initiative and the Palmyra Education & Health Collaborative. We are already writing grants and raising funds to continue building community schools county-wide. We will continue to engage with all the county school districts to ensure that these child-centric community schools and accompanying intervention services are developed to address the individual challenges and opportunities within each district and community.  

4. Besides grant funding, does United Way offer other types of support for nonprofits?  

We are beginning to work with nonprofits througout Lebanon County to help them improve their long-term sustainability. This involves researching additional funding opportunities, including our biannual Live United Grants when appropriate, and ways to connect organizations. We are also beginning to facilitate discussions among groups to bring them together to identify areas of potential collaboration, service redundancies, and gaps in services compared to community needs. We will seek educational opportunities to share knowledge and develop ways to improve lives within our communities and demonstrate meaningful impact. 

5. When did this change in funding happen?

The transition to a collective impact funding model began in 2015 through work and with the previously defined member agencies to build a transition plan. The agencies were guaranteed three years of funding while United Way researched and defined goals to address systemic issues within our communities. The new funding model goes into effect on July 1, 2019. We are confident that this is the beginning of exciting innovation and the development of new programs that will lead to a stronger Lebanon County for us all. 

  • 2015: United Way began work with its member agencies to build a transition plan for community impact.
  • 2016-2019: United Way guarantees three years of funding to the historical member agencies.
  • 2017-2018 United Way completes a community needs assessment, holds community conversations, announces priority collective impact goals.
  • 2019: Funding under the new model begins.