United Way of Pinal County is working towards a better education for children in your community

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity over their lifetimes.1 These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together. The 2014-2015 school year graduation rate in Pinal County is 70% falling well below both the State of Arizona's average of 77%, and the national average of 82%

Average national graduation rate by race

Our Goal

In 2008, United Way Worldwide launched a 10-year initiative to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018. It’s an ambitious goal, but by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve it. In order to be a vibrant community, we must ensure that more children from low- and moderate-income families succeed in school and graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. One way we will accomplish this goal is by investing in early childhood education and maintains investments through high school graduation.

Our Strategy

We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools, and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a Cradle to Career continuum.

  • Early education Reading: 30% of the children within Pinal County are not reading proficiently according to state standards by the time they enter 3rd grade. 
  • Absenteeism: Too many children miss too many days of school. Research has found that one in ten kindergarten and first-grade students nationwide miss nearly a month of school each year. Ever Hours missed of school puts these students even further behind making it harder to reach the skill level required to successfully read by third grade.
  • Youth Development: United Way strongly supports both Early Childhood Education and Youth Development so that children will make a successful transition to adulthood. This is done through after school activities like sports, clubs, and volunteerism. By increasing the capacity of out-of-school programs, promoting healthy lifestyle education for teens and enhancing community awareness of the importance of quality care and education. How You Can Help

To reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parent involvement; literacy volunteers in the classroom; mentors for disadvantaged students; business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Volunteer to help.