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Goal-Setting Council


Greater Portland came together because, despite best efforts, improvements were not happening quickly enough or reaching as deeply or widely as needed. We needed more people from all sectors collaborating on a large scale to build a thriving community for all.

Though there are many important programs with the goal of improving lives, the challenge is they are often disconnected, sometimes conflicting, and working within the silos of their area of expertise. “Experts” alone cannot address all the education, financial stability, and health issues of the community, nor do simple solutions exist. Complex, interconnected challenges require comprehensive solutions made possible only by coordinated community action.

Launched in 2016, Thrive2027 is our community’s shared vision for the future. Underpinning these efforts, United Way of Greater Portland (UWGP) invests in the community, advocates for change, and mobilizes volunteers; bringing to life the blueprint provided by Thrive2027. As the backbone organization driving this collective impact work, UWGP is aligning, activating, and partnering with stakeholders across all sectors of the community to achieve these goals.

Thrive2027 provides a wide range of actionable and relevant strategies and connects the dots between early learning, financial stability, and healthy lives in our community. These strategies are consistent with the needs and potential in the community as demonstrated by data and aspirations shared by the community. They were selected for their reach, scale, success probability, community fit, and capacity.

The goal-setting process was overseen by the Greater Portland Community-Wide Goal Setting Council, representing the many different voices of this community. This council of volunteers was convened by United Way of Greater Portland to adopt meaningful, measurable, and clear goals.

A cornerstone of this process were 90 community conversations we had with over 1,500 people and 550 responses to an online survey. We asked people three questions:

1. What kind of community do you want?

2. What’s stopping us from having that community?

3. What would make a difference?

Three additional panels focused on health, financial stability, and education, assessed community needs and aspirations. Using local data, input from the community conversations and surveys, and strategies that have worked in communities like ours, these volunteers recommended goals to the Council that the Council unanimously adopted.

Because of the thorough and community-driven nature of the goal setting and strategy-selecting processes, UWGP and the Thrive2027 Council confidently endorsed the strategies devised to achieve the goals of Thrive2027. These strategies are calls to action around which community partners develop proposals and collaborative efforts to make meaningful and measurable progress on Thrive2027 goals.

Goal-Setting Council


Goal-Setting Process White Paper