Executive Summary

United Way of Greater St. Louis’ service area covers a population of more than 3 million people in two states with both rural and urban areas. Recognizing that each community faces unique challenges, the research team focused on understanding the distinct needs of each individual county. A total of 24 areas of need were identified within United Way’s five impact areas. Using a process that reviewed all data, priority needs for each county were identified. The table below provides a comprehensive overview of each county’s top priority needs, followed by an analysis of the most common needs across the entire St. Louis region.

Top Seven Needs Selected as #1

Value represents the number of times a need was selected as the #1 need in the county.


Housing Security


Access to Healthcare
Community Building


Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse


Child Welfare
Disaster Preparedness & Response

Top Ten Needs

NeedTop Five Need
3Housing Security9x
4Built Environment8x
5Access to Healthcare8x
6Community Building7x
7Child Welfare7x
8K-12 Education and Out-of-School Time7x
9Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse6x
10Justice System3x
11Aging and Senior Support3x

Top Funded Needs

1K-12 Education and Out-of-School Time$302M
2Early Childhood Education$151M
3Food Security$136M
4Housing Security$99M
6Services for Individuals with Disabilities$43M
7Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse$33M
8Community Building$33M
9Post-Secondary Education$29M
10Physical Health$28M

Community Partnerships


Partnerships Working on
Strengthening Communities


Total Number of Partnerships in the United Way Service Area


Partnerships Working on Improving Health


Partnerships Working on
Fostering Learning


Partnerships Working on Basic Needs


Partnerships Working on Financial Stability

Looking Forward

Our goal in completing this Needs Assessment was to gain a better understanding of what services and resources are most needed to help every person in the St. Louis region be successful and thrive. In doing so, we recognize the vital role United Way plays in supporting our region’s safety net of services through basic needs, education, health, financial stability and strong communities. We will continue to do this by making strategic investments, improving access to resources, promoting systems change and strengthening capacity.

Behind each need is a person, working to live their best life. And we’re here to support them, to ensure the safety net is there to catch them should they fall.