United Way of the Midlands (UWM) plays an important role in uniting the caring spirit of our community to address social and economic disparities. We strive to remove barriers and create opportunities through powerful partnerships – while serving as accountable stewards and directing dollars where they are needed most. UWM’s discernment is more important than ever, and depends on a deep understanding of local needs, tuned into the pulse of our community. 

UWM demonstrates a commitment to proactive data engagement by regularly monitoring and analyzing newly released and reported data. This ongoing process involves active collaboration with data partners and community organizations to stay abreast of evolving trends and emerging needs, as well as examining internal data from 211 and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) programming.

While the routine analysis ensures a real-time understanding of the community landscape, UWM recognizes the importance of a more comprehensive study to strategic planning. Every few years, the organization embarks on a formal assessment and research project, including a targeted analysis of internal data, as well as collaborating with external partners to gain a nuanced and holistic perspective. This periodic in-depth analysis allows UWM to identify underlying patterns and adapt strategies to better address the evolving dynamics of the community we serve. Findings from this study will inform our 2024-2027 strategic plan. 

Overall, our goal was to develop a deeper understanding of current conditions and trends to better focus UWM and community efforts to create positive change. The UWM Signals and Trends Report highlights conditions experienced across the metro area – particularly among families struggling to make ends meet and the programs designed to serve them. Rather than duplicating existing community assessments, UWM’s community research team aggregated and analyzed existing data and studies. Our report combines this existing research with data unique to UWM, including feedback from our investment partners and program participants. As a data-driven organization, these learnings guide our path forward… together.

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Key Lines of Query and Products

Community Research Team

Lauren Kimball

Assistant Vice President

Holly Figueroa

Research Associate

Pursuing MS in Data Science

Emily Starr

Research Associate

Pursuing PhD in Human Sciences

Maret Wibel

Community Research Analyst

Aaron Ammon

JAG Quality Assurance Specialist

Hannah Pollock

Executive Assistant