United Way of Salt Lake has been named to the first cohort of Model Design and Initiation grantees by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Model Design and Initiation (MDI) grants were awarded to only fourteen organizations across the country. These organizations are seeking to build their capacity to lead networks that identify and solve common problems in schools using approaches that best fit their needs, learning what works and refining their approaches as they go.

For more than a decade, UWSL has been building partnerships dedicated to transforming the systems that keep children and families from achieving their potential. Through the Promise Partnership, UWSL convenes diverse, cross-sector networks of people to increase the number of low-income students and students of color who enter kindergarten ready to learn, thrive academically, earn high school diplomas, and enroll in and complete post-secondary degrees.

Through the MDI grant, UWSL will work closely with the Gates Foundation and other cohort members in order to strengthen its internal capacity to ensure success at creating equitable outcomes for children in the region. UWSL will focus specifically on strengthening its ability to help its partnerships design and carry out improvement projects.

“We know that improving outcomes for students, especially those living in poverty, requires all of us to work together differently,” said Bill Crim, President and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake. “The MDI grant will allow us to continue building the broadest and strongest team possible and to transform the educational environment for Utah kids. Through the Promise Partnership, systems are changing and outcomes are improving, and we know it is possible to create a more equitable world in which every child has the opportunity to succeed."

United Way of Salt Lake currently works within six school districts, nine communities and five state systems. Hundreds of businesses, educational and community partners and thousands of volunteers are engaged in this transformational work.