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Community Engagement

passportIn March 2012, Rappahannock United Way celebrated its Goal and Strategies to improve our community in the areas of Education, Income, and Health with over 75 participants at Passport to Impact events. Attendees received passports that asked how they would like to get involved with Education, Income, and Health through Giving, Advocating, and Volunteering. The event united businesses, nonprofits, and individuals alike, sparking potential partnerships and collaborations.

Rappahannock United Way aims to achieve its Goal, More households emerge from poverty and achieve greater financial stability, but cannot do this alone. If you would like to be involved with this, or one of our Strategies in Education, Income, and Health, please email or call (540) 373-0041 ext. 300.

How did we get here? Read about our Journey toward Community Impact

From August to October, 2010, RUW set out to hear from community members about their goals and aspirations for the Greater Fredericksburg region in the areas of Education, Income, and Health.  RUW staff and its Community Impact Task Force provided five ways to participate, including community meetings, an online survey, hosted meetings, online blog participation, and telephone meetings.  Community meetings, discussions open to all community members, were held in the City of Fredericksburg and each of its surrounding counties, including King George, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Caroline.  Anyone could host a meeting, and these were held at various sites.

communitymeeting2The following depicts the number of engagement opportunities, as well as the number of people engaged between August and October, 2010:

  • 25 meetings (2 telephone, 3 training, 5 community, and 15 hosted)
  • 42 blog submissions
  • 347 unique visitors to the blog
  • 388 meeting participants
  • 1,233 completed surveys

communitymeetingParticipants shared personal opinions and stories, illustrating those issues that they found were priorities in our community in the areas of Education, Income, and Health.  RUW collaborated with Virginia Tech Center for Survey Research, along with the Center for Public Administration and Policy to compile the data from meetings, surveys, and blogs.  The opinions participants expressed will guide RUW in establishing programming and funding priorities over the next 10 years. 

Below are three lists, each in alphabetical order, of the goals and aspirations that participants communicated through meetings, surveys, and blog posts.


  • Access to higher education
  • Bridging barriers and promoting diversity
  • Early childhood education
  • Engaging parents in education
  • High school completion
  • Improved programs for youths of all ages, such as character development programs, summer and after-school programs, and programs for those with special needs
  • Improvement in community college offerings available in community
  • Linking education and income
  • Opportunities for education in improving parenting skills for parents in community
  • Raising the standardized test scores of students
  • Safe schools


  • Access to affordable and high quality childcare
  • Adult literacy
  • Affordable housing for all community members
  • Crises services for individuals unable to meet basic needs
  • Educational opportunities for adult, such as GED, adult literacy, or mid-career switch programs
  • English fluency for non-English speakers
  • Employment: job readiness, training, and access to employment opportunities for all citizens, including citizens with barriers, such as disabled individuals, seniors, and ex-offenders)
  • Financial education, literacy, support, and assistance
  • Increased incomes for working families
  • Increased transportation options to get to employment opportunities
  • Reduction in number of community members living in poverty
  • Reduction in number of homeless persons in community


  • Access to dental care for all citizens
  • Access to quality, affordable healthcare, including mental healthcare, for all citizens supplemented by resources
  • Access to marital and family counseling
  • Access to programs for prescription medication cost coverage assistance
  • Access to quality prenatal care for all pregnant women
  • Awareness among citizens of available health services and programs in community
  • Family violence and personal/family safety, including child, senior, and domestic abuse
  • Healthy lifestyle choices among citizens in community
  • Prevalence of immunizations for children in community
  • Reduction in complications from chronic disease in the community
  • Reduction in number of low birth weight babies
  • Reduction in obesity among citizens in community
  • Reduction in substance abuse among youths and adults
  • Reduction in teen pregnancies
  • Transportation options to access health care

In order to get a clearer picture of our community's current situation, visit the Common Good Forecaster to view data relating to education, income and health issues in our area and throughout the country.

gallerywalkIn January 2011 , Rappahannock United Way compiled the data into six priorities that encompassed all of the recurrent issues expressed during Community Engagement. RUW then invited community members back to United Way to express their feedback on these priorities by choosing "Go" or "No Go" for each. Through this exercise, RUW discovered that over 75% of participants chose "Go" for each priority!


boardOn the right track, RUW engaged the Board of Directors in the same activity in February 2011 and found similar results at the Community Impact Retreat.

In January 2012, RUW met with experts in the areas of Education, Income, and Health to get their feedback--and the rest is history!

Thank you for your support of Rappahannock United Way’s journey to Community Impact.