United Way Kicks Off Success By 6 Program; Greiner to Chair Organizing Effort

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: October 14, 1993 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has begun a community-wide effort to aid the early childhood development of all children in Erie County.

University at Buffalo President William R. Greiner has been named chairman of a leadership council that will plan and implement the program, called Success by 6.

Success by 6 is not designed to create new programs or agencies, but to coordinate and help develop efforts already under way. Its goal is to raise the community's awareness of children's issues and the barriers that can deprive children of a healthy early childhood, and serve as a resource for information on the status of children, financial opportunities and the progress and status of other groups in the community, state and nationwide.

The creation of the Success by 6 program and Greiner's appointment to head the leadership council were announced today (Thursday, Oct. 14) by Pamela Davis Heilman, chair of the United Way board of directors, at the Western New York Grantmakers Association's 10th annual Conference on Philanthropy.

The conference, held at the Center for Tomorrow on the UB North (Amherst) Campus, was devoted entirely to the issue of early childhood development. Patricia Hoven, president of the Honeywell Foundation, delivered the keynote address on the Success by 6 program in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis program, begun by the United Way of Minneapolis Area in 1988 and spearheaded by James Renier, chief executive of Honeywell, Inc., has served as a model for Success by 6 programs in more than 50 communities across the country.

The Success by 6/Early Childhood Development Initiative is part of the United Way of America's overall effort to address the needs of children and families at risk.

The Success by 6 program is a community-wide, collaborative effort of business, government, labor, education and health and human services organizations focused on overcoming the barriers to early childhood development for all children.

Early childhood development is a process that begins at conception and continues through age 6. It is during these years that children develop the physical, social, emotional, intellectual and imaginative skills needed for a lifetime of growth and achievement.

Barriers to early childhood development include low birthweight and family stress caused by drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, unemployment, poverty and inadequate family support systems.

The three major components of Success by 6 are advocacy, access to services and awareness.

In announcing Greiner's appointment to head the leadership council, Heilman said: "The United Way's board of directors is delighted that this very important community leader will take on the challenge of solving the problems facing young children, and would be willing to bring the resources of the university to bear on this very important issue."

"It is both a great challenge and a great privilege to be asked to chair the leadership council for Erie County's Success by 6 initiative," Greiner said. "I am also proud to bring the University at Buffalo into this effort. Universities are all about the future and future leadership, so we have a special responsibility to help develop our future leaders. We also have a broad array of human and material resources to offer to this initiative.

"Success by 6 could and should be one of the most important things to happen to Erie County families in a very long time," he said.

"In our county -- especially in the disadvantaged, distressed areas of Buffalo -- we have some of the highest rates of teen-age pregnancy and infant mortality in the state. We have more than 20,000 children under the age of 6 living in poverty. These kids may never make it to a job, or to high school, or even to age 7," he said.

"These are our community's own children," Greiner added. "Their problems are our problems. We as a community must do something serious and immediate to take care of them."