Community Conversations

United Way of Allen County is dedicated to boldly impacting critical community issues. One of the ways we are doing this is by intentionally listening to the residents of Allen County through our Community Conversations.

Community Conversations provide an opportunity to understand what is important to our neighbors, capture their ideas, and identify and involve others in addressing the issues and barriers that keep Allen County residents from achieving a better quality of life. Community Conversations are about people’s lived experiences beyond statistics, allowing them to share their own narratives.

These conversations are a way for people to have real discussions about where they want their communities to be, and how everyone can step forward to be part of making change happen.

Downtown Fort Wayne

The Process

United Way uses an approach developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, which is not designed to promote pre-determined solutions. Instead, it asks residents about where they want their communities to be, the strengths of their communities, the challenges they face, and the resources or actions that should be happening in order to make a change.

Community Conversations allow us to talk with residents about their hopes and concerns about where our community is and how it should look in the future. We want to learn from their unique experiences as a member of this community. We want to understand the hopes and dreams of our neighbors and the obstacles that stand in the way.

The goals of Community Conversations are to:

  • Reach out and engage a broad range of diverse people.
  • Hear and understand individuals’ concerns.
  • Uncover root causes.
  • Inform and focus future priorities that include measurable results.
United Way of Allen County Building

Next Steps

United Way recognizes that it will not be able to address every challenge that arises out of these conversations; however, what we learn from these conversations will continue to be incorporated into our strategic planning and will be instrumental in helping inform and focus our priorities.

United Way is working to stay informed about the changes in our community and is making it a priority to work with the community to identify issues that affect its residents. It is through truly listening and working together that we can look for courageously innovative ways to tackle critical community issues and improve the lives of everyone in Allen County.

We want to hear your voice. If you are interested in hosting a Community Conversation, please email