United Way Worldwide Projects

The Psychosocial Flourishing and Health Lab has worked on projects in collaboration with Mei Cobb, Senior Director of Volunteer & Employee Engagement at United Way Worldwide. United Way is a non-profit organization with 1,800+ United Way branches across 41 countries. The following list describes previous and current projects our lab members have worked on with United Way Worldwide:

Supporting Older Adults During COVID-19
Developed 3 end-to-end playbooks on how to successfully plan, implement, and market meal delivery and care package donation programs, and serve older adults during COVID-19 by consulting 18 United Way branches. The findings were used to implement programs that support vulnerable populations during COVID-19 and we presented the findings to a global United Way audience via a webinar.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura and Tiana Wang
Grant Review for Older Adult’s Day of Action
Reviewed 35+ grant applications from 7 countries using a standardized rubric, in collaboration with a team, to provide a total of $50,000 in funding to the most promising proposals that would support older adults during the 2021 Day of Action for Older Adult’s Month (May).

Contributors: Julia Nakamura and Tiana Wang
America’s Mask Challenge Review
Created a report for internal United Way Worldwide use and external reporting to key stakeholders and donors by synthesizing key outcomes from America’s Mask Challenge (i.e., a program that provided 25 million masks to children of low socioeconomic status).

Contributors: Julia Nakamura and Tiana Wang
Vaccination Resources for Older Adults
Collected vaccination resources (e.g., organizations providing transportation for older adults to receive their vaccines) by researching various organizations to maximize United Ways’ ability to support communities during the pandemic. This resource was distributed on United Way Online (United Way Staff’s internal platform).

Contributors: Julia Nakamura and Tiana Wang
The Equity Challenge
Curated an end-to-end playbook on how to successfully plan, implement, and publicize an Equity Challenge (i.e., a program which seeks to educate individuals on topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion) to be used by United Way branches across North America by analyzing previous Equity Challenges to increase public understanding of how inequity and injustice affect marginalized individuals and improve community relations.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Tiana Wang, Athena Varghese, and Gurveer Palia
Skills-Based Volunteering Resource Compilation
Consolidated resources on skills-based volunteering for workplace employees in collaboration with United Way Worldwide and large partner corporations (e.g., Kellogg's Company).

Contributors: Julia Nakamura and Tiana Wang
United Way's Biggest Questions
Informed future research and translational science initiatives of United Way Worldwide by centralizing goals, support programs, and questions of 7 United Ways across North America to assist United Way Worldwide’s mission in improving lives.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Katy Yang, Athena Varghese, and Tiana Wang
Court-Ordered Volunteering Resource
Visualized how United Ways can support individuals in meeting their court-ordered volunteering obligations by researching 13 United Ways in North America which support juveniles and adults in the justice system and how they support United Ways wanting to provide these resources to their community.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Sofie Jensen, Tiana Wang, and Athena Varghese
Food Insecurity and BIPOC Communities
Uncovered and worked towards mitigating the root cause of food insecurity among marginalized communities by conducting thorough background research to increase the efficacy of United Way Worldwide team’s efforts in supporting food insecure individuals.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Tiana Wang, and Athena Varghese
Retiree Retention Programs
Identified 14 older adult volunteering programs (e.g., Always United, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Trailblazers, Give 5, etc.) from 50+ United Way branches by engaging in extensive research on United Ways to visualize the scope of sustained volunteerism in United Way available for our rapidly aging population.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Cherise Kwok, Tiana Wang, and Athena Varghese
Virtual Escape Room Prototype
Developed a 30-question “virtual escape room” prototype focused on the strengths of older adults to be leveraged by United Way chapters across North America by investigating the unique strengths and issues faced by older adults in society to improve public perceptions of aging, and decrease ageism. This prototype will be engaged by communities and people outside of the United Way organization.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Cherise Kwok, Athena Varghese, and Tiana Wang
Volunteer Story Collection for the United Nations High-Level Political Forum
Crafted a business case on volunteers to be presented at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (i.e., the United Nations’ main platform on sustainable development) by gathering 50+ stories from volunteers in 46 countries to highlight the importance of volunteers in achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals to high-level officials and governments worldwide.

Contributors: Julia Nakamura, Bita Jokar, Ching Zhang, Gurveer Palia, Ramit Seth, Swara Aman, Sofie Jensen, and Athena Varghese