United Way of Dane County has kicked off the 2014 Campaign with the Days of Caring and the announcement of a $19 million goal for this year’s campaign.

There’s a lot to be said for the progress on United Way’s Agenda for Change that was both accomplished in the last year and envisioned in the year to come. We’ll have more to say on both over the next month or so.

But for now we want to highlight the most exciting aspect of the 2014 campaign and that’s the new, multi-faceted poverty reduction initiative. With an initial commitment of $1 million from a variety of partners, the HIRE initiative will be chaired by UW Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Urban League interim CEO Noble Wray.

Its focus will include existing efforts like early childhood and school readiness, Housing First, and addressing health issues. But there’s also a strong employment component that in combination with childhood education and housing addresses many of the disparities identified in the Race to Equity report.

We urge your support for this year’s campaign and United Way’s efforts to reduce poverty by doing what works.