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Meet Mindi McAllaster, United Way of Treasure Valley Champion

Profession: Associate Broker, Windemere Professionals Real Estate
Years Serving United Way: Since 2002
Volunteer Role with United Way: Former Board member, Former Loaned Executive, Financial Stability Grant Committee, Women United
Cause: Affordable Housing 
How’d you get involved with United Way?
While working as the Director of Development for the Eastern Oregon University Foundation, Mindi was exposed to many community nonprofits as an extension of the local university.  “While working with the for Eastern Oregon University Foundation, I had the opportunity to work with community nonprofits helping to connect them to resources.  It was in my role Director of Development I began to see how United Way operates on a higher level.  It was that higher level of operation, that got me interested in volunteering at United Way when I moved back to Boise.”  
What do you mean by ‘higher level’? 
“As a nonprofit, United Way of Treasure Valley operates on a higher level, a systemic level, by using data from the ALICE report to provide community analysis on complex social situations.  United Way drives initiatives helping to create collaboration amongst direct service providers to effect change systemically.  That is a whole new level, a higher level.”
What is the ALICE Report? 
ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.  “The ALICE report helps to identify the struggles facing employed individuals who can’t make ends meet.  Data is then used to stimulate meaningful discussion, attract new community partners, and ultimately inform collaborative strategies for positive change within communities. 
What community issue addressed in the ALICE report is closest to your heart? 
Affordable housing.  “The sad truth is, we don’t all prosper in prosperous times.  As I talk to colleagues across America, real estate agents in larger communities are telling me that they have lost all hope on the fight against homelessness, but Boise doesn’t have to be that way.”
“During one of my visits to a United Way funded partner, I watched as a success story walked through the door just to say thank you.”  The community member that had been helped had previously been homeless and lost custody of her children.  “What happened when a collaborative approach was used, is nothing short of amazing.  That individual is now housed, gainfully employed, and had all her children in attendance at her college graduation.” 
Why United Way? 
In Idaho, nearly a quarter of a million households – 40 percent – could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation in 2016.  “From a business and economic perspective - it is the most thoughtful process to philanthropic giving.  Instead of a shotgun approach, it is a laser approach backed by data to make the most efficient use of charitable dollars, helping to make meaningful, systemic changes to the status quo.  I’m making it my mission to advocate for affordable housing in our community, especially for ALICE.”