The K.E.N. Fund, The King – Elaines’ Nobility Scholarship Fund
We have set up a memorial scholarship fund in KJ Rhodes' name, called The K.E.N. Fund, The King – Elaines’ Nobility Scholarship Fund to honor his life and legacy.
Mission: To improve lives and our community by engaging people to give, advocate, and volunteer.
Vision: A community whose people achieve their full potential through education, financial independence and health.
Because systemic community challenges are most often rooted in multiple causes, Metro United Way harnesses the power of donors, volunteers, thought leaders, experts, other nonprofits and government at all levels to ensure positive, sustainable change. We’re the change agent that fuels our spirit of unity by building lasting, transformative opportunities for all.
We unite and empower communities in our seven-county region by advancing equity and sharing opportunities for all.
The Tocqueville Society is a United Way Worldwide network of philanthropic leaders who, through generous gifts, demonstrate their commitment to tackling our community’s most pressing needs to create sustainable change. It is named after the 19th-century French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville who, in his writings, recognized the importance of voluntary action on behalf of the common good. Tocqueville Society membership is open to individuals or couples who donate $10,000 or more annually to Metro United Way.
The Tocqueville Society offers 2-3 opportunities every year for members to engage in the work of MUW. In addition, Tocqueville members can serve on one of three committees: Tocqueville Advisory Board, Women of Tocqueville Steering Committee, and Emerging Tocqueville Leadership Committee. As a member you also have access to all MUW organizational events such as Beyond Buzzwords, Racial Wealth Gap Simulations, Mayor’s Give a Day, Day of Action, and The Greatest Give Back.
Tocqueville Society members make up less than 1% of the total number of donors to MUW but are responsible for more than 25% of the organization’s annual fundraising. These dollars are directly linked to MUW’s ability to lift up our neighbors from our community’s most complex challenges.
Being a Tocqueville member will mean different things to different donors, but most of our members choose to give generously at this level because we believe that MUW is convening partners to close the persistent wealth and education gaps in our community while connecting individuals to resources to provide for their basic needs. In addition to giving, being a member of the Tocqueville Society allows the opportunity to join conversations on how investments are impacting children and families in our community, allowing members to see dollars in action.
MUW has moved away from a “historical funding model” to one of transformational impact to accelerate needed change in our community. We have called this 3-year plan our “investment redesign.” It entailed an exhaustive process to identify our communities’ most pressing needs so that we can help solve them. During this extensive qualitative and quantitative analyses, we listened to voices of multiple stakeholders across our seven-county region and poured into the results of numerous studies that have been conducted to assess how our community fares across many measures of success.
From this, the message was clear – a great majority of our community’s residents have not experienced the same levels of educational and wealth opportunities and achievement, dramatically impeding their ability to thrive. In short, this process moves us from investing in nonprofits to investing in issues – especially around closing the education and wealth gaps that exist and were exacerbated by the pandemic.
As we continue to shift to focusing on our community’s most pressing needs and the root causes of them, we recognize there is still immediate need in our seven-county region. We are also implementing a “safety net” strategy to address these urgent needs, in addition to strategies around closing the education and wealth gaps.
We used to make investments in nonprofits rooted in a historic model that didn’t drive transformational outcomes. Today, we are a change organization and have a strategic plan to address key drivers of inequities and invest where the need is the greatest to address systemic community challenges and ensure positive, sustainable change. While we have phased out our historical funding to nonprofit partners, we have opened up several investment opportunities to any nonprofit in our seven-county region.
We are working to create a culture of trust-based philanthropy that addresses inherent power imbalances, dismantles systemic racism and accelerates strategic investments. This new model addresses systemic, root cause issues. By prioritizing ideas, impact and functional capabilities over administrative reporting capacities, Metro United Way effectively advances equity, targets systemic racism, addresses power imbalances, grows investment and builds mutually accountable relationships within the community, relying on community outcomes as a whole instead of individual organizational or programmatic results.
Our vision and mission reflect our fundamental belief that all people belong and deserve fairness, justice, and inclusivity. Our strength comes from our diversity and we celebrate the visible and invisible qualities that make each person unique, including race, gender, age, sexuality, ability, religion, national origin, gender identity, and other identities. We commit to aligning our culture and business practices to be a beacon of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for all people.
Within our community, we know that a great majority of Black and Brown residents have not experienced the same levels of educational and wealth opportunities and achievement, dramatically impeding their ability to thrive – which affects us all. We all win when every child succeeds in school, when under-resourced neighborhoods turn around, when families have good health and when workers have solid jobs.
We passionately believe in the humanity and potential of all and have a fundamental belief that all people belong. We strive to unite the community behind that belief to address systemic community challenges and ensure positive, sustainable change. After all, the measure of a community’s success doesn’t lie in those who already have opportunities to thrive but in those still fighting for them.
Some of the specific diversity, equity, and inclusion work that MUW leads:
MUW recognizes that systemic change and lasting impact require a pairing of powerful programming and transformative policy making. Elected officials and administrative leaders are critical partners in promoting equity and opportunity for all people in the areas of education, economic mobility, and health, and as such, Metro United Way actively engages in public policy efforts. The range of issues affecting our priorities is vast. To be effective, Metro United Way has a targeted public policy agenda that has relevancy across our seven-county and two-state region.
There are several ways to join: