Top 50 Most Innovative Businesses

We are delighted to be listed as one of Frederick's Top 50 Innovative Businesses

"For nearly 85 years, United Way of Frederick County has fought for the health, education and financial stability for every person in the community, with heavy focus on the 37% of households known as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) who struggle to afford basic necessities.
In 2016, United Way of Frederick County released the ALICE Report forever changing the landscape of giving in Frederick.  The Unity Campaign, Frederick's largest comprehensive fundraising effort, followed.  Now, the data-driven micro-transit solution, Ride United, is innovating transportation services for ALICE in Frederick"

At United Way, innovation is a key cultural priority.

We are absolutely delighted and honored to be considered one of Frederick's most innovative businesses.  At United Way, innovation is a key cultural priority.  We know that change can be a challenge, but we must take advantage of technological developments to provide solutions in housing, transportation and career development -- the primary challenges and opportunities for ALICE households.

Our investments in innovation have yielded tremendous outcomes for working families in Frederick County.  Here are just a few:

  • The ALICE Report:  As a data-driven organization, we believe that every problem is resolved by starting with the data.  The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report has become a widely-adopted national baseline data source.  ALICE families are those individuals and families who are unable to afford a basic cost of living.  Over 37% of households in Frederick County are considered to be ALICE. They struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing, transportation, food and health care.  For more information about ALICE, please see the ALICE Report for Frederick County.
  • Unity Campaign:  United Way cannot take credit for creating the Unity Campaign.  In fact, the campaign predates the ALICE Report by many years and much credit goes to Joe Gatewood, Community Foundation of Frederick County and the Frederick News-Post for creating and advancing the campaign before United Way took it over in 2016.  However, we do hold great pride in the taking the campaign to the next level raising over $2.7 million support ALICE households through the nonprofits that serve them.  More about Unity Campaign here:
  • Prosperity Center and the Pathways to Financial Stability:  United Way's Prosperity Center is a growing solution to provide ALICE families support in the areas of housing, transportation and careers.  The Pathways to Financial Stability program consists of a Pathway to Housing, Pathway to Transportation and Pathway to Career Development.  The Prosperity Center is full of innovative projects, including:
    • Ride United Network (RUN):  RUN is a new way to think about transportation.  Through a collective of ride providers, RUN a safe, affordable and reliable means of transit for ALICE families going to work, doctor's appointments, school and the grocery store.  The data collection process is remarkable and designed to track quantifiable and qualifiable outcomes.  The primary end objective?  Provide information to decision makers so that resources can used where they are needed most.
    • Pathway to Homeownership:  We understand that homeownership is often impossible for ALICE families, yet may be the single most important investment a family can make.  Through the unique partnership with Frederick County Government, the Pathway to Homeownership provides a $4 match for every $1 invested by the new homeowner.  This is often enough to pay closing costs thus eliminating the single largest barrier to homeownership.  Other innovative programs like VITA tax preparation services, budget coaching and Credit Cafes round out the Pathway to Homeownership.
    • Pathway to Transportation:  In rural communities like Frederick County, owning a car represents transportation independence.  Transportation is often the difference to make a new higher paying job that may not be on a bus route, access to less expensive groceries or ability to make daily dialysis appointments a reality.  Pathway to Transportation, in partnership with Second Chances Garage, makes car ownership affordable with a matched savings program.

Innovation is essential to make the ever-changing needs facing ALICE households in Frederick County.

None of these innovations, and those coming in the future, would be possible without the support of donors like you.

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