$13.5 Million (Yes, Million) invested in Greater Austin Children and Families: Big Wins from the American Rescue Plan

Here at United Way for Greater Austin, we’re on a mission to bring people, ideas, and resources together to fight poverty in our community. United with community leaders and partners, we’re leading the charge to create sustainable and lasting solutions to break the cycle of poverty. 

Advocacy is critical, not just to further the impact of United Way’s work, but to create lasting systemic change. It takes all of us — using our collective voice — to advocate for a Greater Austin that works for everyone. This is why we are so excited to share and celebrate with you a few major funding wins from the American Rescue Plan. 

What is the American Rescue Plan? 

The American Rescue Plan (ARPA) is a $1.5 trillion federal economic package designed to address the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is being allocated to cities, counties, and states to directly support their recovery efforts. The City of Austin received $195.8. million in funding, and Travis County received $247.1 million. 

A collective investment of $13.5 million, from the City of Austin ($11MM) and Travis County ($2.5MM), will be made to specifically strengthen our local education, health, and workforce systems. These funding decisions were driven by testimony and recommendations put forth by United Way and you, our supporters and coalition partners. Thank you!

This significant one-time investment of federal dollars will not only drive Greater Austin’s post COVID-19 economic recovery, but help address some of the root causes of poverty in our community. We are so thankful to the City and County officials for their investment in systemic change that will create more opportunity for local children and families!

Big wins for our community 

This $13.5MM will grow and scale existing programs, as well as implement new initiatives for a stronger and more equitable Greater Austin. This funding will help us get closer to reaching the following community-wide goals: 

In partnership with the 2-Gen Coalition, we are working to ensure that families with young children are financially stable. ARPA funding will advance this goal by: 

  • Piloting a workforce development program aimed at young parents to support their middle-skill development and provide them with a basic stipend and free child care while they participate in the program

In partnership with the Austin/Travis County Success by 6 Coalition, we are working to ensure that all children enter Kindergarten happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in school and beyond. ARPA funding will advance this goal by: 

  • Providing additional child care funding to address gaps faced by families due to changes in employment status
  • Sustaining and scaling innovative infrastructure to increase access to affordable quality care to meet the needs of all families
  • Planning and implementation of solutions to address identified gaps and to strengthen the child care system
  • Stabilizing the child care workforce because quality child care is dependent on a quality workforce
  • Stabilizing programs that support families with young children outside of full-time child care
  • Providing free nurse home visits to 2,000 new families with a newborn, generally three weeks post-delivery — focusing on screening, education, parent wellbeing, and other important healthy family dynamics

In partnership with the Greater Austin Reading Coalition, we are working to ensure that children are reading on grade-level by the 4th grade, a critical time when children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” ARPA funding will advance this goal by: 

  • Improving quality child care for schoolage children through intentional assessment and site development of facilities 
  • Deploying literacy tutors in order to mitigate learning loss and improve school outcomes for students

This is indeed a significant moment to celebrate, but we also recognize that this is one-time funding. And while this funding will go a long way in strengthening Greater Austin, we must continue to work, United, until everyone in our community has the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

Stand, United, with us and:  
  1. Send a personal thank you to your City Council Member and your Travis County Commissioner
  2. Learn more about how you can use your voice to advocate for change
  3. Make a donation to United Way in support of this work

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