Greater Austin is a resilient, innovative, philanthropic, creative and thriving community for all.
We inspire, lead and unite an eclectic community of philanthropists including individuals, nonprofits, business, and government to overcome barriers to economic opportunities and ensure Greater Austin continues to thrive.
United Way has been part of the fabric of Austin since 1924; nationally the organization celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012. Our local United Way Navigation Center received the first 2-1-1 call in the state over a decade ago, and early in 2012 the Navigation Center responded to its two millionth call.
Of course there have been shifting needs in Austin over the 88 years United Way has been here; and we have responded to these changes – while never veering from our original and steadfast mission of fighting poverty. United Way has relied on national and local research to adjust our work to achieve the greatest good. Several years ago after local research backed up a recommendation from United Way Worldwide, United Way for Greater Austin – managed entirely by local leadership, made a shift from funding basic needs to a model of community impact work. This work aims to address the root causes of poverty identified to be in the areas of financial stability, health and education.
Austin has one of the most robust Navigation Centers in the state and assists Central Texans in navigating the state, county and city healthcare systems. United Way has been working for over ten years on the issue of early childhood education and is leading the way in a county plan to achieve fundamental change. Youth and financial stability are comparatively newer programs and areas of expertise for United Way for Greater Austin; however, both are doing exciting work and showing early signs of measurable success.
United Way for Greater Austin has a dual mission set and driven by UWATX President Debbie Bresette of giving everyone in the Austin community the opportunity to be a philanthropist, and working to help families overcome barriers to economic opportunities.
United Way’s place in the community is rather unique in that we have close relationships both with partner companies in running over 400 Employee Campaigns – we are inside offices giving employees opportunities to be philanthropists in Austin, and nonprofit agencies that United Way funds and partners with in working toward their shared mission. This unique position allows United Way to convene government and non-governmental agencies, and businesses to tackle the big issues in the Greater Austin community.
United Way’s work in Austin encompasses focusing on community change by working to improve health and human service systems so that they work for everyone and addressing the causes of poverty and not the symptoms. To achieve this United Way for Greater Austin develops strategic programs focusing on research-based best practice and implementing programs where the system has failed or does not exist. To further our work we foster and fund innovative and creative solutions by outcome oriented, long-term partner agencies.
United Way for Greater Austin continues to articulate a vision and raise civic awareness for Austin’s poverty problem and needed solutions and motivates local influencers and leaders to resolve issues facing low-income families. This includes leading United Way corporate partners to expend resources and implement policies for the greater good, and sharing our expertise in this area, research and data with Central Texas leaders, the media, and partners.
In 2012 the United Way in Austin changed its name from United Way Capital Area to United Way for Greater Austin to better reflect its long-history and ties to the Austin community.