United Way works to end America’s education crisis


Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1 These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.

National Goal

In 2008, United Way launched a national 10-year initiative to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018. It’s an ambitious goal, but by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve it.

Our Strategy

We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.

United Ways across Iowa are involved in education efforts at various levels. Click here to learn about Iowa Reading Corps, United Ways of Iowa's upcoming early grade reading initiative.

How You Can Help

Check out our Give. Advocate. Volunteer. pages to find out how you can support education in Iowa.


1Figure according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.