Building Educational Success

Education is one of the key building blocks to a stable life. It also benefits the whole community: high school graduates have higher earning potential, contribute more to their local economies, are more engaged in their communities, and are more likely to raise kids who also graduate on time.

Our Goals

Early Learning

Building readiness to achieve in school: children and families have access to resources like high-quality, low-cost child care opportunities that grow language and social skills they need to learn to read and later find academic success.

Academic Performance

Building academic success: children and youth have access to programs and tools that bolster academic performance, keeping them on track through middle and high school, allowing them to earn their diploma and ultimately give back to their families and the community.

Positive Youth Development

Foster assets children need to learn as they grow: children and adolescents have opportunities that nurture and develop their interpersonal skills, including after-school, tutoring, and mentoring programs that build on what they are learning in school and give them confidence, skills, creativity, and relationships that make a positive difference in their lives.

Strong Families

Foster parent and caregiver engagement: families have access to opportunities to engage in their child’s learning and development through programs that improve parenting knowledge and skills, support academic progress, promote healthy lifestyle choices, and foster positive relationships with schools and community.

What We're Doing

In our experience, no single agency or program can improve graduation rates alone. Along the Education pathway, individuals and families can find resources and programs for children and youth. Through partner programs, initiatives, and collaborations, we're helping support whole families, providing wrap-around services, and partnering with schools for extended impact.

Impact Partners

United Way’s Education pathway strategically provides resources for individuals and families to live fulfilling lives. Through our partner programs and services, we're supporting parents and providing safe and nurturing environments that help bolster academics, build leadership skills, and promote social well-being.


Out-of-School Programs: Providing students with a safe and engaging place that fosters academic success, good character, and healthy lifestyles.


Early Child Learning Scholarships: Providing families with financial support to help pay for high-quality care and early childhood education.

Youth Center Scholarships: Providing families with financial support to help pay for high-quality youth education programming.


The Bright Red Bookshelf & Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) Events: Promoting the value of reading daily to children and providing resources necessary to help families raise successful readers.


Campus Life: Providing opportunities for teens in Deer River, Grand Rapids, and Greenway to grow physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

United Way Initiatives


United Way, in partnership with local school districts and the Minnesota Youth Alliance, hosts an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow in local schools with the goal of helping students who have fallen behind on the path to graduation. By working with students individually, the Promise Fellow is able to identify specific needs and create individualized plans to help students get back on track to meet graduation requirements.

Apply to Serve

Each year hundreds of children in greater Itasca County go back to school without the essential school supplies they need to succeed in the classroom. When children don’t have the school supplies they need, they often disconnect in school, making it much harder to succeed academically.

United Way is engaging volunteers to equip local students with the materials and confidence they need to get a strong start in school.

When you host a drive or donate supplies, you help students across our community access the tools needed to stay on track to graduation. Learn more

Request Supplies

Community Collaborations


Itasca Networks for Youth (INY) unites the Itasca area’s out-of-school time community to promote, develop, and deliver high quality programs that are accessible to all youth. Activities support partnership development, professional development, and program support.


SPARK is a community initiative committed to ensuring every young person in the Itasca Area has what they need to be successful.  Positive, well-rounded, and trustworthy relationships begin in the home with caregivers and siblings.  In addition, young people need strong relationships with friends, teachers, employers, youth workers, neighbors, religious leaders, and others.  A vast body of research highlights the importance of these relationships in young people’s lives, guiding them on their pathways to a positive future. Learn more


The Minnesota Early Child Taskforce is comprised of United Ways from across the state, including United Way of 1000 Lakes, advancing work around early childhood issues.


Education is a cornerstone for success in school, work, and life. Setting kids on the path to success begins with early intervention, and then, through high-quality education, students can graduate high school prepared for college & career.

1 in 3

American children start kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read


of 3rd graders are not proficient readers and are less likely to graduate on time


of youth don't graduate on track and will struggle to find jobs with earning potential

Building Educational Success

is just one part of our three pillar approach to improving lives. Check out our other focus areas: