Second Century Vision

United Way’s new strategic direction, Second Century Vision, strengthens our focus on serving and being the champion for our area’s most vulnerable families and individuals: the working poor, or ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), and those who fall below the poverty level. 

Research called the ALICE Report for Texas shows that 40% of households in our community – or 826,000 families – struggle to make ends meet. These families work, sometimes two or three jobs, but cannot get ahead. 

Second Century Vision calls on United Way to be laser-focused on serving the ALICE and poverty level populations and on creating and coordinating a network of service providers committed to providing opportunities for those who are ALICE and in poverty to attain a sustainable quality of living for themselves and their families by:

Focusing services and resources on the ALICE population and those living in poverty who desire a sustainable quality of life and a pathway to self-sufficiency.

Creating pathways to financial stability by providing tools, resources, and educational support for the client through an integrated journey (provided by multiple, interconnected agency partners) with a coach walking beside them.

Directing resources to existing and new agency partners willing to target and align their efforts and work collaboratively to increase their capacity to serve ALICE and those in poverty along their journey. 

Tracking clients' journeys to ensure their success and to share impact with donors.

Along the pathway to financial stability, these efforts are supported by:

Early childhood and youth development with quality and cost-effective out-of-school time programs, parent engagement, and educational opportunities that go beyond traditional school settings and help young people build critical foundations that break cycles and contribute to future success while ensuring parents can seek and keep gainful employment.

Affordable health care services that address physical, specialty, and mental health as well as addiction treatment, helping ensure basic good health which can otherwise be a barrier to getting clients on the pathway to success. 

The pathway is built upon:

Safety net services that take care of basic and immediate needs like food, shelter, clothing, and other critical needs such as refugee assistance, and freedom from violent situations like domestic abuse and human trafficking. These services address needs that, when not met, prevent people from being able to think about the future.

Continuing to operate the 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE to provide those in need with connections to critical services 24/7.

Leading and convening long-term recovery efforts when our community faces disaster.

Much planning and work has been done to prepare for the 2022 launch of our Second Century Vision. A lot of time and thoughtfulness was put into determining alignment criteria and communicating with partners. Each of United Way’s current agency partners have conducted self-assessments, and United Way staff also conducted assessments of all agencies. Upskill training for agency partners and some initial pilot testing has also been developed.

The next 18 months will be spent on building out the implementation plan, making appropriate adjustments to our operations, and collaborating with our partners so we are all prepared to have the greatest impact in our community as we embark on our Second Century Vision in 2022.

Read the Houston Business Journal article on Second Century Vision.

Read an op-ed on Second Century Vision by Anna M. Babin and Jamey Rootes. 

Sign up to receive periodic updates on United Way’s Second Century Vision, work, and impact. 

Donate to help make this work possible.