245 N. Water Street
Wichita, KS 67202-1201
United Way of the Plains is leading the charge to create positive and permanent change in Wichita and the south central Kansas region. We do this by forging partnerships with likeminded community partners like the Kansas Health Foundation, forming new solutions to old problems, and mobilizing the best ideas and resources. By enabling individuals, groups, and companies to make a difference, United Way of the Plains is positioned to move the needle on key issues within Health Equity, Access to Care, Healthy Behaviors, Civic and Community, Engagement, and Educational Attainment.
The mission of United Way of the Plains is to improve lives by harnessing the caring power of the community to advance the common good. We envision a region in south central Kansas where all individuals and families achieve their human potential. We focus on health, education, financial stability, and basic needs because we believe these are the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community.
Our Focus in this Partnership
We recognize that Wichita is home to some of the poorest areas in Kansas with poverty rates up to 37.2% in census tract 4 (zip code 67214) and 50.9% in census tract 24 (zip code 67211). These communities are challenged by the lack of basic resources needed to thrive including food, health, and economic opportunity. Incidentally, many of these areas are in historically redlined districts, creating system-wide barriers in lifting these families from generational cycles of poverty. Through a Building Power and Equity Partnership, we have an opportunity to impact these communities through direct services, policy advancement and by removing barriers which have consistently led to disparities within communities of color.
United Way of the Plains’ goal is to tackle the community’s toughest issues at their root causes. Our work is guided by public data through the framework of Social Determinants of Health, a concept based on research showing that factors beyond personal and physical health impact life outcomes. United Way’s focus in the areas of health, education, financial stability, and basic needs aligns closely with this model.
We’re fighting to help our most vulnerable neighbors and those in crisis recover by meeting their basic needs. Addressing issues like food insecurity in our city where approximately 44 square miles, about 25% of the Wichita population, are experiencing a food desert is one of many United Way of the Plains aims to impact.
Health is not limited to a single factor, but a culmination of lifestyle choices, mental wellness, and systems in place. Everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible because their health impacts every aspect of their lives and the overall condition of the community.
Education is the foundation to success in school, work, and life. Putting children on the path to success starts before they even enter school. A well-educated workforce ensures individual financial stability and a robust, thriving economy. In impoverished and low-income communities, education is challenged by multiple barriers such as educational support at home, transportation, and food insecurity.
United Way of the Plains looks at public data through the framework of Social Determinants of Health, recognizing that factors beyond personal and physical health impact life outcomes. United Way’s focus in the areas of health, education, financial stability, and basic needs aligns closely with this model. It is through this lens that strengths and weaknesses of the community are viewed and addressed, creating stronger impact.
Advancing the common good is less about helping only individuals and more about changing systems and removing barriers to help everyone. Everyone wins when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable and when neighbors are healthy. Just as the Kansas Health Foundation has relied on data to assess key health indicators, United Way of the Plains also uses data to help advocate and inform the general public of critical issues in south central Kansas. As Building Power and Equity partners, we can identify and address health disparities in our most vulnerable communities, working to create a healthy and equitable future.
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