United Neighborhood Centers of America Members to Join with Alliance for Children and Families Network

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United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) and the Alliance for Children and Families will join memberships in January 2014, thereby realizing greater impact and influence with and through a combined network of more than 500 local organizations serving over 5 million people each year.

United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA) and the Alliance for Children and Families will join memberships in January 2014, thereby realizing greater impact and influence with and through a combined network of more than 500 local organizations serving over 5 million people each year.

Current UNCA member organizations will become full members and owners of the Alliance, a 102-year-old national organization that works for transformational change in human-serving organizations and their communities.

As part of this new configuration, the Alliance is launching a national center for engagement and neighborhood building that will accelerate the proven engagement values that make up the century-old “roots” of UNCA, effective social work practice, and the settlement house movement.

The center will unite stakeholders of all types in studying and promoting the efficacy of authentic engagement, a principle that promotes the fact that solutions from within the individual, family, or community will be more enduring than solutions proposed by outside intervention. The center will accelerate the adoption of these authentic values and practices as key cultural elements among all organizations that work to empower and strengthen individuals and families and build stronger communities.

As the connecting intermediary for its network of members and partners, the combined membership network is perfectly positioned to lead and accelerate authentic engagement and community building as values that are a key to improving results in social service and behavioral health programs. Current activities related to these values will be built upon and continue as the centerpiece of the center.

“This is a concerted effort to increase our impact by amplifying the ‘settlement house way’ in both practice and policy to a broader audience. It also achieves a larger influence on the multiple systems that intersect in the lives of neighbors,” says Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance.

The national resource center will also work toward uniting and amplifying the voices of neighbors and leading practitioners who endeavor to have a positive influence on public policy at all levels and throughout the organizations that work with children, families, and communities often defined as vulnerable.

“Over a number of months, and with a great deal of engagement with UNCA and Alliance members and other stakeholders, the UNCA Board of Directors and members have taken every step to assure this change accelerates the mission, values, and strengths of UNCA, while seeking more meaningful impact on society and greater benefit for members,” says Ian Bautista, former president of UNCA and leader of the newly-formed national resource center.

The Alliance for Children and Families is a national organization dedicated to achieving a vision of a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families. The Alliance works for transformational change by representing and supporting its network of hundreds of nonprofit human serving organizations located in North America to translate knowledge into best practices that improve their communities. Working with and through its member network on networking, leadership, and advocacy, the Alliance strives to achieve high impact by reducing the number of people living in poverty; increasing the number of people with opportunities to live healthy lives; and increasing the number of people with access to educational and employment success. Go to alliance1.org for more information.

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Nancy Kunkler
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