United Way is fighting to ensure all children get a strong start and are given a solid foundation for success in school and life. Research tells us that 90% of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life. That’s why United Way starts early by fighting to increase the number of children who enter school ready. This includes ensuring children experience supportive early learning environments, have access to high-quality pre-k programs, and parents and families have the tools to support their child’s early learning and development.
We also work to ensure children are successful in the early elementary grades, especially when it comes to reading at grade level. Early grade reading proficiency is an essential milestone for lifelong success. Research shows that children who read proficiently by third grade are more likely to graduate high school. Those benefits stack up over time. Students who graduate high school are better able to find jobs that pay a livable wage, live longer lives, stay out of the justice system and have children who also graduate on time.
Programs include the Books from Birth and Stop the Summer Slide: Literacy Day of Action. We also work with 16 partner programs to help students attain educational success from kindergarten to graduation.
Low birth weight. Childhood hunger. Alcohol and drug dependence. Post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. Our neighbors face health challenges every day that impact their daily lives, education and economic stability.
We fight so a person's zip code is never a deterrent to success. Health is not just about what we eat and how we exercise. It’s not only about access to healthy food and quality healthcare. Our fight for the health of our neighbors is about an approach that is holistic and supports individuals every step of the way so they can thrive.
We focus on lasting solutions that go beyond short-term charity. These are solutions that start now and continue for generations. That means bringing together employers, public health experts, economic mobility experts and other nonprofits to support the physical and mental health of every person.
Chronic unemployment. Financial illiteracy. Homelessness. We fight because one missed paycheck, one unexpected medical bill, one unforeseen event can mean financial crisis for many local individuals and families. Being able to pay all your bills, have enough money for groceries every week, save for the future might seem like small things. But for an individual or family in financial crisis, each step is one towards financial empowerment.
The whole community benefits when more working individuals and families are able to stop walking a financial tightrope and get on solid ground. That’s why we focus on lasting solutions that go beyond charity because financially stable people are more likely to have access to quality healthcare, provide a good education for their children, and contribute to their local economies.
United Way has five focuses within each impact area of education, health, and financial stability. Learn more here!