Tag Archives: Renee Moe

Rowing Together in Madison and Dane County: Efforts to Improve Lives

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski


As Dane County continues to grow, approaching an estimated 600,000 population by 2040, the United Way of Dane County (UWDC) is working to ensure a high quality of life in which all residents thrive. Two UWDC leaders – Board Chair Anna Burish and President & CEO Renee Moe – updated Rotarians on current challenges facing our community and strategies for addressing them. Past UWDC Board Chair Rich Lynch described a “parallel effort” more sharply focused on housing and homelessness.

As the largest private funder in Dane County, the UWDC in 2005 adopted its Agenda for Change as a way to look at the community holistically, identify specific needs and establish a coordinated philanthropic approach to addressing them. Burish noted that such change management requires the same steps in the philanthropic sector as it does in other areas: pinpoint the needs; propose strategies to solve the problems; identify the desired impact, or goal; set metrics by which to measure success.

UWDC works with approximately 100 nonprofits, many of which on their own do not have the capacity to do this kind of planning or the resources to collect the needed data. Their expertise is in providing services. With a coordinated approach to philanthropy, UWDC helps them carry out their programs in a manner that advances the shared goals while gathering the needed data to measure progress.

Moe said there are 64,000 people living in poverty in Dane County, including 12,000 children. In addition, there are challenges related to shifts in the economy and workforce, technology, demographics, race relations, gender relations and the changing framing of social issues. She noted that the population of people over age 65 is expected to grow 130 percent in the next decade. There are also shifts affecting philanthropy including declines in public funding, changes in tax law related to charitable giving, local business trends, and more choice in how people give, including crowdfunding and designated project support.

Moe believes the “best change happens when you take the best of what people have built over almost 100 years and move it forward.” Working with nonprofits, school districts and government, UWDC is identifying new ways to tackle old problems and boost its ability to shift and allocate resources to address change. For example, as a result of a successful recent program, every health care organization in the county is conducting early childhood screening starting at 6 months in an effort to ensure that all Dane County children are prepared to go to kindergarten. The screening data are being collected in Epic software, so we can measure the success of various interventions. With a relatively small investment, more kids are on track for learning.

Lynch explained that, while UWDC carries out its holistic Agenda for Change, a group of volunteer leaders have created an Economic Stability Council, with representatives of businesses, foundations and government agencies, to launch the parallel, intensive effort aimed at reducing homelessness.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it on our club’s YouTube channel here.

A Plan to Create Economic Stability for Young Families

–submitted by Rick Kiley; photo by Karl Wellensiek

Renee Moe 1

Club President Ellsworth Brown and Renee Moe

This week’s speaker was President/CEO of United Way of Dane County and our club’s past president, Renee Moe, who presented “What Strategies Will Help Decrease Poverty in Our Community and Create Economic Stability for Young Families?”

In late 2014 the United Way of Dane County convened a blue-ribbon delegation to address this question.  Led by UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank and former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, the group recently presented recommendations.

Poverty is defined as income for a family of four less than $24,000 per year.  Renée explained our county poverty rate of 14% is similar to rates statewide and nationwide.  About 25% of those living in poverty are children.  Rates are 2-3 times higher for families of color than white families; the rate for single-parent families is nearly ten-fold that of 2-parent families.

Children are especially affected by poverty.  Delayed development can begin early in infancy and be much as two years when kindergarten begins.  The result is the need to address whole families; parents’ stress becomes children’s stress.

The delegation recommends four strategies for addressing our area’s poverty:

  1. Ensure children in poverty are developmentally ready to be successful in school.
  2. Secure family-sustaining employment for young families in poverty.
  3. Increase affordable, available housing.
  4. Provide holistic, two generation, coordinated supports to young parents in poverty.

The United Way has a call to action for those wanting to unite to address poverty, including:

  • Businesses: To hire nontraditional workers in poverty and of color.
  • Nonprofits: To innovate to build capacity.
  • Faith organizations: To volunteer and partner.
  • Elected leaders: To evaluate laws and rules unintentionally keeping people in poverty.

Did you miss our meeting this week?  CLICK to watch the video.

Rotary Club of Madison Annual Fund Drive a Success!

From Renee Moe, 2011-12 Fund Drive ChairRenee Moe Photo:

Thanks to the participation of 410 of our members – and more who have shared they still plan to contribute – we have exceeded our $130,000 annual fund drive goal.

Much appreciation to each and every donor, the fund drive committee, members who donated incentives for our weekly drawings, our anonymous donor who encouraged numerous members to give for the first time with an innovative match gift, Pat and Jayne in the office, and a special thanks to the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation for making a generous gift in memory of Irwin and Bob and their long standing relationship with Downtown Rotary.Madison Rotary Foundation Logo

Our Board of Directors has confirmed that the annual fund drive is the Club’s top philanthropic priority. Thank you for demonstrating your commitment to our Club’s programs through  your financial support.

The Rotary Club of Madison has 500 members from business, academia, healthcare and public and community service.  It is one of the ten largest Rotary International clubs in the world and will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.  Rotary International is a service club with local and global reach.  It’s 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries have 1.2 million members who meet weekly to develop friendships, learn, and work together to address important humanitarian needs. 

Rotary International Logo