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United Way and Waitt Institute Partner Against Violence

Sioux City, IA, June 5, 2008 – The United Way of Siouxland and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention announced today the beginning a three year partnership to prevent violence in Siouxland, starting with the unveiling of their new public education campaign.

The partnership began in 2007 with a $150,000 grant from the Waitt Family Foundation, the parent organization of the Waitt Institute.  Ted Waitt, chairman and founder of the foundation, directed the funds to be used to enhance the existing efforts of the Waitt Institute and other community based organizations working on primary violence prevention.

United Way community impact teams will assist in the distribution of the funds, which will go primarily to the public education and awareness campaign, and to school based violence prevention curriculum.

Tim Stiles of United Way, said, “We’ve enjoyed a long history of relationships with the Waitt Foundation on collaborations that have impacted our community from early childhood education, to scholarships. This collaboration’s goal is to truly change the culture of our community to prevent all forms of violence.”

Cindy Waitt, President of the Waitt Institute, said, “Tim Stiles and I have had many conversations over the years about a partnership in our four year research project.  Both United Way and Waitt Institute want to make a measurable difference, and it always made sense to work with collaborating community partners.

The Institute’s four year research project has four goals. They are: Increase the number of adults who talk to youth about violence being wrong, increase the number of youth who think violence and bullying are wrong, decrease the number of violent incidents in school, and increase the number of youth who take action against violence and bullying.  The results of the research will be available in 2011.

United Way and the Institute, along with the Institute’s national partner, The Family Violence Prevention Fund, will roll out this year’s campaign, called “Role Model”.  The campaign was created   jointly by the Waitt Institute staff and the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

For the past two years, the Institute has partnered with local media on two campaigns.  One was called “Father and Son” and was a national Ad Council spot in 2006.  A print and billboard campaign called “Awaiting Instructions”, seen in Siouxland for two years, has already yielded results. 

Waitt said, “ Research from Peter Hart and Associates showed a 14 point increase in the number of adults who talked to youth in Sioux City, as a result of the campaign.  What we know about successful advertising campaigns, is that they have to be consistent and long term.  We’re hoping we can continue to move the needle even further to change attitudes and behaviors concerning violence.  Having United Way and collaborating agencies can only enhance this project.”

The partnership will also include increasing the availability of school based violence prevention curriculum.  “With United Way, the Sioux City Community Schools, and the Institute working together, it is our hope that every school in Sioux City, from pre-kindergarten through high school, will have violence prevention curriculum available.”

Judy Stafford, Vice President of the Waitt Institute, will represent the Institute at the United Way Violence Prevention Community Impact team. Stafford said, “We are excited to partner with United Way in our Violence Prevention efforts in Siouxland.  Our public education project highlights the importance of encouraging parents and adult mentors to teach our youth early and often that there is no place for violence."