Active Referral Network

What is ARN?

The Active Referral Network (ARN) is a collaboration of organizations — education and training providers, financial institutions, housing organizations, child care educators, faith-based organizations, agencies that provide emergency food and shelter — that coordinate services to help people reach financial stability. Partners work together to actively refer clients to each other’s services. They also assist their clients to enroll and successfully complete the multiple services needed to reach their goals.


  • Develop active referral partnerships with organizations in the community to help clients enroll and succeed in partner programs to reach financial independence.
  • Serve as an Affinity Group that increases the professional development for front-line staff at community-based organizations.
  • Develop a “Community of Practice” in helping families navigate the resources to reach financial stability.


  • Improve people’s financial wellbeing as they increase income, save and build assets.
  • Improve access to services so more people can navigate the resources needed to reach financial independence.
  • Improve program performance as clients will be supported by complimentary services to succeed.
  • Leverage United Way’s Smart Referral software to enhance partnerships, ensure referrals lead to services, and track outcomes through the Economic Mobility Continuum.


Monthly meetings include networking opportunities and thematic Panel Presentations on community services. Participants share information on existing services, eligibility requirements, and ways to make referrals.

For meeting schedules, and Active Referral Network questions: 

Who Attends?

The Network is for front line staff, case managers, and program directors who want to learn how to actively refer their clients to services in the community and build partnerships with organizations to leverage resources.

Smart Referral Software

The combined effect of the face-to-face meetings and the Smart Referral Software is twofold:  Network organizations spend more time programming and less time outreaching for clients.  Network beneficiaries increase access to the range up supports needed to achieve their goals.

Active Referral Network partners can find Smart Referral software resources here.

Smart Referral Mini-Grants

United Way Monterey County (UWMC) awards grants to selected local agencies to access the Smart Referral Network Software, developed and funded by UWMC, to better connect their clients to services. The software provides an online platform where service providers make referrals, determine if and when referrals lead to services, and measure outcomes. 

Mini-Grant Recipients
  • Central Coast Center Independent Living (CCCIL)
  • Alliance Career Training Solutions (ACTS)
  • Gathering for Women
  • Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE) Early Learning Program
  • Dorothy’s Place
  • High School Equivalency Program (HEP) at Hartnell College
  • North Monterey County School District Castro Plaza Family Resource Center
  • Eden Housing
  • Gonzales Adult School

Making A Difference Together

Chris Torre’s story reflects the power of collective impact and how a community working together can make a difference in a family’s life. Mr. Torre, a single father with three children, found himself homeless after a series of unfortunate events. As is often the case, homelessness was not the only problem. The family also experienced unemployment, lack of child care, and food and transportation barriers.

Chris Torre family

Several agencies within the Active Referral Network (ARN), a collaborative administered and managed by UWMC, helped the Torre family get back on their feet. As a first step, Mr. Torre was referred to a Prosperity Planner with Goodwill Central Coast, who helped him find shelter and employment. Meanwhile, Castro Plaza Family Resource Center worked with the North Monterey County Unified School District to arrange child care and access to transportation. The Housing Resource Center helped the family move to a new home and provided them with beds and furniture. Additionally, the children were given new school supplies from UWMC’s Stuff the Bus program.

“Along the way I have met some of the most humble people, who always went above and beyond their job descriptions. United Way Monterey County and Castroville Family Resource Center treated me and my kids like family. Thank you for all you guys do. I’ll forever be grateful” —Chris Torre

The Torre family is now in a permanent home and the children are attending school and thriving. They are grateful for the support provided by United Way and its partners and recognize the value of having a robust community network to rely on to ensure that they remain on their path to financial stability.