Author: Madyson Russell

Success By 6 Coalition Launches 2019-2023 “Success By 6” Strategic Plan

Every day, an average of 38 babies are born in the Austin area. The Success By 6 (SX6) Coalition is working to ensure that each of these 38 brand-new Texans has an equal opportunity to thrive. SX6 is a coalition of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, philanthropists, business leaders, and early childhood experts – working together on a community plan that reflects our collective wisdom and amplifies our collective voice.   “Success By 6 has child development at the heart of its mission,” Dr. Jennifer Duc, Assistant Clinical Professor, UT-Austin Pediatric Residency Program and Outpatient Pediatrician, CommUnityCare said. “Success By 6 knows that nurtured children and supported families create the foundation for strong, healthy, and successful communities.”     On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, the SX6 Coalition launched the next iteration of our community’s strategic plan and lay out their strategies and goals for the next 2,000 days. From 7:15 – 9 a.m. civic leaders, including Mayor Steve Adler, Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Council Member Kathie Tovo, early childhood education experts, policymakers and more gathered to celebrate the hard work and collaboration that went into creating the plan. Attendees heard a keynote from The University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken over breakfast at the University of Texas Club.   Why a 2,000-day journey? Because research has proven that the first five years of a child’s life strongly influence the rest. Ninety percent of brain development happens within the 2,000 days from birth to Kindergarten, […]

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NXP has the heart

Our amazing Corporate Partners play one of the most important roles in making our work possible. From donating their money to volunteering their time, the companies we work with demonstrate our shared belief that giving back is good business.    For nearly 30 years NXP Semiconductors has been the Presenting Sponsor for our annual Spring Day of Caring. United Way Spring Day of Caring is a community-wide service day that addresses critical needs at various partner organizations and nonprofits through meaningful volunteer action. Volunteers from across our city come together to get to know our community while sharing their time and talents and NXP helps make this possible.   Read below to hear straight from NXP’s heart and learn just how much they prioritize giving back to our community.   Q&A with Kristen Day, Community Relations & Inclusion at NXP Semiconductors   Q: Why is volunteering important to NXP? A: Volunteerism is a longstanding tradition with NXP because we understand the importance of giving back to the communities in which we live and work. NXP is committed to being a leader in corporate citizenship by partnering with community organizations that make a positive impact and promote employee volunteerism. NXP is also proud to offer our employees paid time off to volunteer at any company-sponsored event in the community.   Q: What inspires you to volunteer? A: I choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do.  We should all feel an obligation to […]

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More Than PBS Kids

If you’re anything like us you love our local PBS provider KLRU. Not only do they bring some of the best shows to the airwaves with BBC Masterpiece Theater (do y’all have any more of those Sherlock episodes available for us?!), but they provide us with countless hours of kids programming that focuses on academic and learning, and other learning initiatives to promote cognitive development through TV time. However, that is not all they do! Did you know that KLRU is at the forefront of Early Childhood Education work in our community? They lead programs such as Play to Learn, are strong partners in the Bright by Text initiative and they are a key player in our Success X 6 Coalition (SX6) work focusing on “School Readiness.” United Way for Greater Austin is thrilled to partner closely with them all these efforts, and to directly fund their efforts with their Early Childhood work in Austin/Travis County.   If you were lucky enough to grow up with PBS KIDS you know that their goals are to be non-commercial, educational media that offers safe, fun learning experiences. With new technology on the table, they have moved beyond TV to reach kids and families on other devices – on computers, mobile devices, streaming boxes (Roku & Apple TV), and even game consoles. Building awareness of these multi-media PBS extension platforms is one of KLRUs chief goals, along with sharing info on how to best use these educational assets.   KLRU works on introducing […]

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Incoming, United Way for Greater Austin Welcomes A New Class of Board Members

AUSTIN, Texas – 2019 is off to a great start for United Way for Greater Austin. United Way is excited to announce the addition of six new Board Members; Kristie Gonzales, Kristin Marcum, Scott Rust, Amy Simmons, Charles Thornburgh and Jeffrey Vernor. These six key community leaders will provide invaluable leadership with their wide variety of professional skills and set policies for United Way. “I am excited about the direction and future of United Way for Greater Austin and am honored to Chair the Board and welcome this incoming class of influential, local business leaders who have joined in United Way’s fight to end poverty. We are excited to continue to grow an engaged and active Board with a deep desire to provide families and individuals in need with the tools and resources needed to thrive.”  -Mason Ayer, CEO of Kerbey Lane Cafe & United Way for Greater Austin Board Chair Kristie Gonzales joined KVUE as President and General Manager, leading one of the top television stations in Central Texas. She manages a staff of more than 125 employees who produce 33 hours of award-winning live news and programming each week. Under her leadership, KVUE became the most-watched news station, winning five out of seven weekday news time periods among the coveted demographic of adults aged 25 to 54. Gonzales is also incredibly committed to her professional and personal communities, she is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and serves on the board of directors for the Greater Austin Chamber […]

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42 Percent Of Households In Austin Are Struggling To Pay Their Bills, Report Says

A new report says a third of households in Travis County struggle to make ends meet; in Austin, that number was higher, at 42 percent. Travis County’s cost of living was significantly higher than the statewide average, according to the analysis by United Way. The snapshot found it costs nearly $66,000 to raise a family of four in Travis County, compared to the statewide average of $53,000 a year. The study’s author, Stephanie Hoopes, says the study found an overall disparity in costs of living and wages across the state – despite low unemployment numbers in Texas. “In all these places, we’re finding a mismatch between that basic cost of living and what wages in that area pay,” she said. Hoopes says it’s the first time the study has been rolled out in Texas, and that it has given insight to 18 other states into the number of people under the federal poverty limit (FPL) – but also highlight the number of workers with low wages and little to no savings. Stephanie O’Banion, president and CEO of United Way Central Texas, says she hopes the study can increase and inform affordability-minded policy in the region. “[These people are] basically one kind of emergency away from falling into some sort of financial crisis that would cause them to not really be able to regain their sustainability and potentially just fall into poverty,” she said. In Travis County, the minimum income to meet basic needs for a family of four needs to be […]

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United Way for Greater Austin Hosts Film Screening of No Small Matter Documentary

AUSTIN, Texas – In a 2017 poll by the First Five Years Fund, more than 90 percent of Americans agree that our elected leaders should work together to make quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable to low- and middle-income families. But the simple truth is that making high quality early learning available to every American family actually has the power to solve so many of the challenges facing our country today, from poverty to mass incarceration to health disparities.   Tuesday, January 22, 2019, United Way for Greater Austin will facilitate a conversation around early childhood care and education by hosting a film screening on No Small Matter, the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for good in America today: early childhood education. The screening will be held at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar at 6:30 p.m. followed by an Early Learning Panel Discussion with key community leaders including Austin City Council Member Delia Garza.   United Way leads the Austin/Travis County’s collective impact efforts to improve access to high-quality early childhood education. As the leader and backbone organization of the Success By 6 initiative, United Way brings together a coalition of school, city and county officials, nonprofits and parents to improve the network of support systems for children. Together they’re ensuring our youngest community members start our life on an even playing field.   Through poignant stories and surprising humor, the film lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of […]

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Where Hope Takes Root

More than 70,000 children in Central Texas live in poverty and face challenges that stand in the way of learning, like hunger, trauma, homelessness, poverty and poor health. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. Community In Schools (CIS) sees potential in every student, and they are committed to helping students believe in their own ability to achieve.   CIS are experts at bringing communities together for students. They collaborate with school districts and schools, deliver resources, work with local businesses, social service agencies, healthcare providers and volunteers to support students and families in overcoming obstacles and roadblocks to success. Thanks to this collaborative network, our community is a better place for students in need. United Way for Greater Austin is proud to fund the ASPIRE program run by CIS, and we are thrilled to see the convening of different entities committed to creating bright futures for all our neighbors.   ASPIRE (Achieving Success through Parental Involvement, Reading and Education) breaks the cycle of illiteracy and poverty within families by providing comprehensive, integrated literacy services for the entire family. This dual-generation (or 2-Gen) program brings parents and children together for educational success. School Readiness is the result of a process that starts at birth and relies on the home environment and parental involvement to help them achieve Success by 6. ASPIRE serves families with children that are living in poverty in Travis County. Parents experiencing poverty face […]

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Baker Botts’ Austin Office To Support United Way for Greater Austin’s Family Connects Initiative

AUSTIN, September 6, 2018 – Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, is pleased to announce its Austin office is supporting United Way for Greater Austin’s Success By 6 program and its newest initiative, Family Connects. The three-week campaign, which includes a supply drive, e-pledges, and a Build-a-Bike activity, along with participating in UWATX’s Fall Day of Caring, begins on September 7th. Baker Botts is pairing up with United Way for Greater Austin to support the launch of Family Connects, an early childhood development program which provides support to new mothers in Austin and Travis County. Family Connects is a partnership between United Way for Greater Austin and the Austin Public Health Department to offer every family with a newborn at least one home visit from a registered nurse. “We are proud to join with the United Way for Greater Austin to help launch this exciting new initiative that will help new and expanding families flourish in Austin and Travis County,” said Mollie Duckworth, Partner-in-Charge of Baker Botts’ Austin office. “As a mother of two, I know how challenging the first few weeks at home with a new baby can be. Our support of UWATX and Family Connects will ensure that new parents throughout our community are matched with the resources they need to help navigate their children’s first year of life,” said Ms. Duckworth. About Baker Botts L.L.P. Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 725 lawyers practicing throughout a network of 14 offices around the globe. Based on our […]

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United Way for Greater Austin Announces Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

AUSTIN, Texas – It’s the season of New Year’s resolutions and at United Way for Greater Austin we are always looking for ways to give back to our community. In partnership with Keep Austin Beautiful, United Way invites the community to join us in cleaning up MLK Jr. Blvd. from I-35 to 183. The day will begin with a visit from Daniel Segura-Kelly, on behalf of newly elected City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison and State Representative Sheryl Cole, whose districts (1 and 46 respectively) include the entire stretch of road that we will be cleaning. Both elected officials’ platforms closely align with United Way’s own mission and values of ending poverty by providing families and individuals in need with the tools and resources to thrive.   WHO: United Way for Greater Austin, Keep Austin Beautiful, Daniel Segura-Kelly, State Representative Sheryl Cole   WHAT: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service   WHEN: Saturday, January 19 from 9-11 a.m.   WHERE: 2000 East MLK Jr. Blvd. Austin, TX, 78702   For more information visit: https://volunteer.uwatx.org/special-event/a0M1H00000VHhJAUA1 Have questions? Email Madyson Russell at madyson.russell@uwatx.org

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Travis Co. Residents Offered Free Lyft Rides To Enroll In Health Insurance

AUSTIN, Texas — With less than a month left to enroll in a health care plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, Central Health and United Way for Greater Austin have teamed up to ensure residents have a ride to and from enrollment sites in Travis County. • 2019 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1 to December 15 • Residents should call 211 to schedule a free appointment • Only Travis County residents are eligible for the free Lyft rides The 2019 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1 to December 15. Central Health wants to ensure residents have the help they need to get health insurance by offering free enrollment and transportation assistance. Residents can call United Way at 211 to schedule a free appointment with an enrollment counselor at a location closest to them from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. every Monday through Friday until December 14. When calling that number, people can also schedule a ride with local rides-haring company Lyft to and from their appointment. Central Health has agreed to reimburse United Way for the cost of the rides, but not to exceed $10,000. Only Travis County residents are eligible for the free Lyft rides. Bilingual enrollment specialists are available to assist Spanish-speaking residents. View the article in Spectrum News. 

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