Building Strong, Equitable College Towns: Creating Successful United Way - University Partnerships

UPDATED: This event has been cancelled due to Coronavirus
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Hosted by United Way of Greater Charlottesville

UPDATE: This event has been cancelled due to Coronavirus.


Small towns with major universities are unique. The hometown university is typically the most significant entity in these communities: the largest employer, the economic driver, the town‘s national identity, and the home team that we all cheer for. In order to create lasting and meaningful systems change in a small college town, the local university must be an engaged partner, along with United Ways, corporations, local government, nonprofits, and more. Such partnerships must be beneficial not only to the community at large, but to the partners.

In order to create change in college towns, the university must be a primary partner in the work.

“United Ways/ College Towns” is a thought- leadership conference on building strong, equitable communities in America’s small college towns, using Charlottesville as a case study. Workshops, panel discussions, toolkits and more will provide best practices- and help create new best practices- for United Way professionals in college towns.


Offered in conjunction with the Tom Tom Summit & Festival, an annual event with more than 100 speakers and 20,000 attendees, “United Ways/ College Towns” is a thought- leadership conference on building strong, equitable communities in America’s smaller college towns, using post-2017 Charlottesville as a case study. “College Towns” is a three-day learning and networking opportunity for United Way professionals which includes an array of activities, including workshops, lectures, panel discussions, social/cultural/networking events, and attendance at the United Way of Greater Charlottesville’s 2020 “Community Table.” Participants can also attend other Tom Tom Summit events not part of the “College Towns” conference.


  • Strategies for creating effective partnerships with local universities- how United Ways can approach and engage the university
  • Identifying, understanding and solving equity issues in college towns
  • Creating equity in early education
  • Examining community redevelopment with an equity lens
  • Why and how to host a “Community Table” event in your community


  • Registration Fee: $700 (includes all conference activities and 3 nights’ lodging)
  • Check back soon for more information and to register. Or email us with your questions!