WASHINGTON — The United Way of America, alarmed at the nation's fraying safety net, will announce today that it will direct its giving toward 10-year goals that would cut in half the high school dropout rate and the number of working families struggling financially.
The nonprofit organization also wants to increase by one-third the number of youths and adults considered healthy.
The announcement, scheduled for its annual conference in Baltimore, comes as the organization releases a report detailing a precipitous decline in key education, personal finance and health indicators.
The report finds that one in four high school students does not graduate on time, one in four families do not earn enough to provide for their household, and two in three young people and adults lead unhealthy lives, including those who engage in such risky behaviors as drug use, binge drinking and unsafe sex.
"The country is at a crossroads right now," said Brian Gallagher, United Way's president and chief executive. "I've never felt a time in my career where there's this combination of enough pain, feeling of a lack of progress, feeling like we've stalled, combined with a next generation of leadership demanding change."