August 27, 2012
United Way CEO joins nonprofits and government officials for White House forum on urban innovation
by Victoria Pelham, The Dallas Morning News (source)
WASHINGTON – United Way Dallas CEO and President Jennifer Sampson joined government officials and dozens of nonprofits and community leaders from around the country Monday at a White House discussion aimed at addressing long-rooted problems such as poverty in growing cities.
“We want to learn from each other – those who are driving social change in their communities in new and innovative ways to invest in collective impact,” Sampson said, adding that she was excited to hear new ideas from participants.
Sampson received the invitation less than a week ago to the White House Forum on Urban Innovation, hosted by the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and the Office of Urban Affairs and Economic Mobility. It was her first invitation to the White House. She said the Dallas United Way chapter was chosen because of its efforts to find new ways to push solutions to three core targets — education, financial stability and health, including a new social innovation fund that will be launched in 2013.
The organization was also a finalist for a social innovation grant in 2011.
“We’re pleased to be representing North Texas and the state of Texas overall as a leader in this area and honored to be a participant in this event today,” she said.
Four other United Way chapters were invited, along with mayors and leaders from other nonprofit groups, such as Angela Blanchard, president and CEO of Houston-based Neighborhood Centers.
“Creating lasting change in our under-resourced communities is hard and it’s difficult but worth it,” Blanchard said, according to a Tweet from the CEO of another nonprofit, 826 National.
“We are speaking with federal policymakers through the different White House groups who will be there today so that we can talk about ways to support each other’s endeavors,” Sampson said.
The forum was closed to the news media. According to tweets from participants, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz and Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett spoke at one panel.
Sampson said she hopes to take back lessons from the event for her community.
“We want to replicate those models that have the best outcomes in Dallas and North Texas,” she said.