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EducationCHart

KEY FOCUS AREA:
Help children read proficiently by the end of third grade 

FOCUS GOAL:
90-percent paper dolls

90-percentof third-graders will read proficiently by 2020. Third-grade reading is the No. 1 predictor of high school graduation.

WHY IT MATTERS

 EARLY GRADE READING
23-5-percent
of central Iowa students are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Nearly all (22.3%) stay behind through eighth grade. 

(Iowa Dept. of Education)


Children who cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade are 4 times less likely to graduate from high school.

(Annie E. Casey Foundation)


MIDDLE SCHOOL SUCCESS

Students who participate in after-school programs attend more school and perform better on tests compared to peers.

(Durlak et. al.)

MIDDLE INCOME

Of third-grade students who DO NOT qualify for free and reduced-price lunch:
89.9-percent
read proficiently



13 books: 1 kid
13-1 books

 LOW INCOME

Of third-grade students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch:
57-4-percent
read proficiently



1 Book: 300 kids
1-300 books

(Iowa Dept. of Education,
Handbook of Early Literacy Research)

WHAT'S WORKING

LITERACY SKILL PROFICIENCY
literacy-skill-proficiency

In fall 2016, more central Iowa kindergartners were proficient in literacy skills.

(FAST test, 2017)


23351children participated in United Way-funded programs promoting academic growth during out-of-school hours. 94% showed good attendance, and 89% passed all classes.

United Way’s READ to SUCCEED initiative engages central Iowans in helping students read proficiently by the end of third grade.

Volunteer  Volunteer
690Power Read volunteers read weekly with elementary students, a key to raising reading scores.

Students who read with a Book Buddy volunteer in the year before kindergarten scored 10% higher than their peers on reading assessments three years later.

1000students at 22 central Iowa schools received glasses through Vision to Learn this school year. Most students at these schools qualify for free and reduced price lunch.

522volunteers visited the homes of 6th-through-12th-grade students at risk of dropping out or who were chronically absent. Over six years, United Way’s Graduation Walk has encouraged more than 2,200 students to graduate. 

Out-Of-SchoolNearly two-thirds of middle school students and half of high school students in Des Moines Public Schools participated in at least one out-of-school activity.

United Way of Central Iowa funds school coordinator positions and after-school programs to increase student engagement.

Income-Goal Chart
KEY FOCUS AREA:
Help adults acquire skills and credentials for better jobs.

FOCUS GOALS

10Khigh school equivalency diplomas will be awarded to central Iowans by 2020.



20-percenthigh school equivalency diplomas will be awarded to central Iowans by 2020

WHY IT MATTERS

EMPLOYMENT GAP

Skills Gap

55% of all jobs in central Iowa require some postsecondary education, up to an associate degree. Only 32% of the workforce has the right skills for these jobs.

(Iowa Workforce Development)

HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT GAP

Health Care Gap
40% of central Iowa’s health care workers could retire in 5-10 years. The average wage for health care jobs is $41,000.

(Iowa Workforce Development)


 

WORKING POOR

ONE THIRDof the population in a central Iowa community is working and not financially self-sufficient.

(ALICE report)

35Kcentral Iowans over age 18 do not have a high school diploma or equivalency. All of them are economically disadvantaged.

(U.S. Census, American Community Survey, 2012-2016)

DISPARITIES IN INCOME

59844is the median household income for all Polk County.



26725is the median household income for African American households in Polk County..

(One Economy Report)

WHAT'S WORKING

BridgesUnited Way’s Bridges to Success initiative uses innovative strategies to help central Iowans obtain a high school equivalency diploma (HSED). Advocacy

  • In 2017, the Iowa Legislature unanimously passed legislation to expand the number of pathways for those seeking to earn a HSED. United Way advocated for this change.

  • 1640individuals enrolled to earn a HSED and received supportive coaching. Of those who graduated, 40% increased their income.

More Than 11000
additional central Iowans were financially self-sufficient in 2016 than the year before.

(U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

182individuals gained high-demand skills through United Way’s Central Iowa Works, a public-
private partnership with 56 organizations. 183 participants have enrolled in health care education and training through Central Iowa Healthworks in less than one year. 66% of participants are minorities.



1061central Iowans advanced to better jobs through United Way-funded programs, increasing family incomes.



13103more central Iowans (ages 18-64) have progressed toward or obtained an associate degree since 2009.

(U.S. Census, American Community Survey, 2012-2016)

145Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers returned more than $8.9 million in tax refunds to central Iowans in 2017.



4853-2families each received an average refund of $1,837 through United Way’s free tax preparation service.

Advocacy$7.6 million was added to the state budget to extend child care assistance benefits to working families who faced the loss of benefits. United Way’s OpportUNITY initiative to address poverty led advocacy efforts to remove this barrier.

Health-Goal Chart

KEY FOCUS AREA:
Give all central Iowans equal opportunity to make healthy choices.

FOCUS GOALS:

Increase the percentage of central Iowans who are thriving in physical, social, and community well-being to:

HEALTH-GOALS BARS

WHY IT MATTERS

PHYSICAL HEALTH
Central Iowa ranks 158th out of 186 regions for healthy eating.Health Rankings

(Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index)


Central Iowa ranks nearly last—185 out of 186 regions—for consuming 5+ servings of produce 4+ days per week.

(Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index)

SOCIAL HEALTH

Lonely Guy

Loneliness is as damaging to one's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

(Holt-Lunstad)

COMMUNITY HEALTH

A lower-income neighborhood in central Iowa Basketballhas 1 mile of bike path and 8 opportunities for kids’ activities, compared with 35 miles of bike paths and 50 opportunities for kids’ activities in a higher-income neighborhood.

(Place, Race, Poverty and Young Children)

WHAT'S WORKING

5-2-1-0-WhiteUnited Way’s 5-2-1-0 initiative promotes healthy habits where children live, learn, and play.

51021

central Iowa children and families learned healthy habits through 27 schools, child care centers, and health care clinics.

Skyline-1
2150residents in the 50314 ZIP code participated in meetings hosted by Invest Health, a United Way-supported coalition working to improve social connections and create neighborhood change around public safety, affordable housing, and youth engagement. 

2290
central Iowans accessed United Way-funded mental health programs. 

99-4-percent
are maintaining or improving their well-being as a result of receiving these services.

Resliency

1133providers received United Way-funded training on how to build resiliency in central Iowans who have experienced trauma.

AdvocacyUnited Way of Central Iowa successfully advocated to protect dental and vision screening requirements for Iowa’s K-12 students, ensuring access to prevention services that promote healthy childhood development.

Volunteer

250volunteers donated
10911
lbs. of fruits and vegetables to food pantries from corporate giving gardens, feeding
4,364
central Iowans.

Essential Needs Header

Ensure that all central Iowans have access to food, shelter, and other basic needs. Without these needs being met, children cannot learn in school, families cannot be financially stable, and individuals cannot enjoy health and well-being.

WHY IT MATTERS

86-percent

of households earning less than $15,000 annually live in housing they cannot afford (paying more than 30% of their income). 

8350affordable units are needed in central Iowa to meet current needs.

(Polk County Housing Trust Fund)

Homeless children are 2x more likely to have a learning disability, repeat a grade, or be suspended from school.

(American Psychological Association)

nearly 30-percent

of Polk County households were food insecure at some time during 2017.

(DMU Dept. of Public Health Food Insecurity Survey)

Low-income students are 4x more likely to be chronically absent, often for reasons beyond their control due to unstable housing, unreliable transportation, or a lack of health care

(National Center for Children in Poverty)

WHAT'S WORKING

2-1-1-white

24736
calls were received by United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline in 2017. 2-1-1 serves a 15-county area and helps central Iowans address essential needs. Among those calls: 

5,558 were to find housing, 1,264 were to find food, and 1,187 were for legal assistance.

Homeless 115fewer individuals are homeless in Polk County.

(Institute for Community Alliance, Point in Time Study, 2016-2017)



2,720people received United Way-funded legal assistance to help increase financial stability:

670families/individuals stayed in their homes.

970people received legal assistance with housing issues.

833families/individuals had assets protected/maintained

Three new mobile pantries launched in Polk and Dallas Counties to increase access to food from the support of OpportUNITY’s Food Insecurity Work Group.


2,842people accessed United Way-funded services for homelessness, and 300 families moved from shelter to permanent housing.



104,475meals and food items were served or distributed to individuals/families through United Way-supported pantries and shelter services.

The United Way of Central Iowa Data Team is available to provide maps, data, and statistics about human services in central Iowa.
If you have a need for data, please click below to submit a request.

Data Request Form