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Cradle To Career

We love where we live and want our kids to succeed.

After broad consultation with the community, our donors and stakeholders, United Way, led by our Board of Directors, is undertaking a bold new direction and 10-year vision.
We heard a common theme emerge from our conversations with these groups – that reducing childhood poverty is the top issue for United Way to focus on with our partners.

Our strategy focuses on supporting children and youth from the time they’re born until they find a career (Cradle to Career/C2C). What we know is that locally, some children are falling behind. We need to change the trajectory for youth through education, the clearest pathway to success. As our community changes, United Way is changing too. We are evolving to meet the needs of our community. We’re doing this by:

  • Implementing a new approach to drive community impact by leveraging the combined investment of a broader cross-section of community partners than ever before, through a collective called ProsperUs.
  • Taking on the vital role of the backbone organization for ProsperUs to guide the work of convening, facilitating, and supporting this new community partnership and driving results.
  • Developing a new C2C investment strategy with our partners and the community.
  • Targeting future investments in priority neighbourhoods where the data is telling us more help is needed to support children and families, including West Windsor, Downtown Windsor and Leamington. By supporting those most in need, our whole community can thrive.
  • Focusing our efforts on improving outcomes for youth in Windsor-Essex County.

We’re going ‘all-in’ on the C2C strategy, focusing investments on innovative new approaches to improve outcomes for youth – the way we have with our On Track to Success program. Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, and we’re uniquely positioned to help tackle these issues and barriers along with local residents and our partners.

There is a track record of success for C2C strategies – other United Ways and coalitions in other communities that have undertaken a similar shift have had incredible success – stronger math and literacy scores, improved graduation rates, more support from the community.

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ProsperUs – Powered By United Way

What is ProsperUs and how is United Way connected?

Over the past few years, many of Windsor-Essex County’s most influential leaders have come together to identify a roadmap for change and make a pledge to the future of our community. A firm commitment was made to align community resources to ensure that the most vulnerable, and the most promising members of our population – our children and youth – succeed in their education, career and life. This cross-sector, outcome-focused partnership is called ProsperUs, and United Way’s role is to guide the work of convening, facilitating, and supporting this new community partnership and driving results. 

An important part of that work is involving residents, service providers and subject matter experts in creating made-in-Windsor solutions for the most #UNIGNORABLE issues faced by children and youth and their families.

We’re All In

United Way is going all-in on the Cradle to Career strategy.

  • Part of our unique role is to engage and build the capacity of other community partners and residents to participate in this work 
  • We’re taking on the critical role of evaluation of the community solutions. 
  • We are leading the complex task of collecting, managing, and analyzing the program data which will contribute to continuous improvement and evidence-based results and reporting, so that we can be better accountable to donors and to the community.

Get Involved

Please send me info about opportunities to work with United Way or ProsperUs

By donating to United Way, you’re supporting the ProsperUs Cradle to Career strategy.

ProsperUs Vision

Every young person in Windsor-Essex County has the opportunity and support to succeed – from cradle to career.

To transform whole communities, we must think beyond individual programs and services and see ourselves as a united system that produces more equitable outcomes for children. That includes supports that create stable and healthy families.

Visit the ProsperUs website to learn more.

Why Is the C2C Strategy Needed in Windsor-Essex?

Imagine filling an entire arena with thousands of recent post-secondary school graduates, ready to start an in-demand job geared towards our 21st Century economy. That’s precisely what ProsperUs – a collective of community partners from non-profit, government, health care, education, labour, business and inspired residents – hopes to achieve over the next ten to twenty years. United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County stands proudly among the partners.

In July 2019, ProsperUs released a benchmark report, entitled Coming Together: Building a hopeful future for children and youth in Windsor-Essex County, aimed at guiding the next stage of its vision for the community. ProsperUs partners plan to target the collective investments of over 50+ partners in three neighbourhoods – West Windsor, Downtown Windsor, and Leamington.

Read the Report

Learn about the data that points to the need for a Cradle to Career strategy in our community.

Outcomes for Youth

The Cradle to Career vision has several key milestones to set children and youth on a pathway to success in school and in life. United Way will invest in community-based solutions that work towards these key milestones.

Families have access to supports that can strengthen children in reaching their potential, including nutritious food and mental health counselling, social inclusion, and access to transportation and housing.

Children who are kindergarten ready are more likely to have a foundation that supports future learning and better health. This includes the first 1,000 days (prenatal care)

Students who are proficient in grade 3 reading and grade 6 math are more likely to complete secondary school and be prepared for the workforce.

High school graduates are more likely to have better employment and earning opportunities and are less likely to experience poverty, receive public assistance or be involved in the criminal justice system.

Young Adults who are employed within a year of graduation is crucial for achieving self-sufficiency and developing skills for the modern job economy.