Policy and Advocacy: The Third Leg of the Stool

Michigan State Capitol in Lansing (from capitol.michigan.gov)

You’ve probably seen United Way’s three-word tagline: Give. Advocate. Volunteer. These are, as the old saying goes, the “three legs of the stool” standing for our community work. “Give” points to the thousands of people who support United Way financially. “Volunteer” highlights the people who offer their time, energy and expertise.

So what is the third leg of that stool, “Advocate,” all about?

It’s about being a champion for the causes and the people we represent. Sometimes that involves bringing together diverse groups to lead dialogue, like we did in partnership with the City of Kalamazoo and other agencies on the homeless issue.

Then there’s the realm of public policy, where United Way can be a neutral convener and catalyst driving change.

Over the past year, an advisory team of community volunteers for United Way BCKR put together a public policy agenda. These are the specific priorities where the team believes United Way can work with lawmakers to drive progress in Education, Financial Stability, Health and Basic Needs—progress that will have a positive influence on lives and communities. These priorities include:

  • Mitigating the impact of trauma and stress on children
  • Ensuring childcare assistance for working parents and guardians
  • Reducing racial and economic disparities in infant mortality rates
  • Ensuring availability of state IDs and vital records for homeless individuals.

United Way BCKR leadership will soon begin reaching out to elected officials to talk about these policy issues.

Click here to download a one-page summary of these Policy Priorities.