OGDEN— Representatives of local nonprofits, public agencies and businesses met Wednesday as part of the United Partnership Council, a relatively new cross-sector group of organizations that coordinate their work to improve education, health and housing in Weber County.
The council is chaired by Sen. Ann Millner, former president of Weber State University, and Rich Nye, superintendent of Ogden School District.
Some of the group’s member organizations have been working with each other since 2010 as part of a previous council called Ogden United, but the group has recently expanded its membership, scope and geographic area, said Tim Jackson, executive director of United Way of Northern Utah.
While Ogden United was focused on supporting the improvement of education outcomes in Ogden City, the new partnership council will add health and housing as areas of focus and include representatives from all of Weber County.
The council has also sought more business representation, Jackson said.
The new, larger council was born out of concern that there were overlapping initiatives in the community, Jackson said. This created inefficiencies, in part because there were just too many meetings to attend for many of the same people.
“What we had before this was ... different initiatives,” Jackson said. “There wasn’t any one place where they were all aligned ... where we were all on the same page. And so that’s why this group was created, because it will reduce duplication of a lot of efforts and increase communication.”
The United Partnership Council will bring together the work of Ogden Civic Action Network — a group that Weber State has led that’s focused on economic development in Ogden — and Weber County’s intergenerational poverty initiative.
Jackson said that the council will aim to integrate the work of these two groups, with the hope that other initiatives will join.
The council will use an approach called collective impact, defined in the Stanford Social Innovation Review as “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem ... unlike most collaborations, collective impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants.”
Ogden United used the large-scale thinking of collective impact, Jackson said, but hasn’t had the capacity to coordinate the work of many organizations.
With some reallocation of funds and the support of grant funding through the Utah State Board of Education’s Partnerships for Student Success program, which was created by Utah Senate Bill 67 in 2016, United Way of Northern Utah will be able to build this capacity, Jackson said.
The partnership council will have several subcommittees focusing on specific areas within education, housing and health. Two examples are a committee focused on prenatal care through the toddler years and another focused on preschool.
United Way of Northern Utah, with some financial support from other organizations, will provide the dedicated staff to convene these subcommittees and facilitate their work.
The council includes representatives from Ogden School District, Weber School District, Ogden-Weber Technical College, Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Ogden City, Weber State University, America First Credit Union, Weber-Morgan Health Department, Weber Human Services and United Way of Northern Utah, among others.
Rep. Steve Waldrip is part of the group. Jackson said that Weber County commissioners have been invited to participate and will likely send a representative.
Other organizations in the community interested in participating in the United Partnership Council can contact United Way of Northern Utah at 801-399-5584.