Author: Morgan Messick

#RideUnited with 2-1-1 to Access Resources in ATX

Since the summer of 2012, Lyft has been giving a lift to patrons in need all around the country. Ride sharing and the “gig-economy” have become a very important staple in our society, and Lyft is ahead of the game when it comes to upping social impact in the communities it operates within. In 2018, Lyft partnered with United Ways in 12 markets around the United States, to perform a 6-month pilot test of making ride-share available for citizens in need, and Austin, TX was one of those lucky markets!    In 2017, the 2-1-1 network received more than 250,000 transportation requests from across the country, and on average 25% of these needs could not be met with existing resources (a heavily present issue in Austin, TX where we lack strong public transportation). That’s where Lyft came in. In an effort to address this need more effectively, United Ways around the country were able to provide 12,277 free Lyft rides over the 6-month pilot period. In Austin, TX alone our Navigation Center team were able to schedule more than 2,100 Lyft rides for local residents who were in need of rides to medical appointments, workforce-related services (like job training or interviews), or for any veteran service.   With such a highly successful pilot program, we are thrilled to continue our work with Lyft in connecting fellow Austinites to services they are in need of through the #RideUnited partnership. The program will be ongoing for large cities around the country, and […]

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Going Back to School? 2-1-1 is here to make it affordable and easy.

While back to school can be a very exciting time of year, it can also be a very trying time for many people in our community. We know that 1 in 5 children under 18 in Austin/Travis County experience food insecurity on a regular basis and that basic needs requests accounted for 54% of our total call volume at 2-1-1 in 2018. As families navigate back-to-school season, children not only need new clothes and medical check-ups, but families are additionally tasked with gathering a list of required supplies — making the cost of going back to school very unobtainable, very quickly. Thankfully, there are many programs and nonprofits geared towards helping families gather these supplies and offering these medical exams for free, and you can call 2-1-1- today for all the details. There are dozens of back-to-school events happening in our community, and there are a variety of benefits available to all families. Services that may be available at these FREE events include: -Free clothes for kids -Free school supplies -Free immunizations -Immunization records assistance -Sports physicals -Eye exams -Hearing screenings -Safety supplies (booster seats, etc.) -Food, fun, games and more! Events are happening now, and will be continue through the middle of August. For a list of events in your area, and what to expect and prepare for at each event call 2-1-1 today. When calling 2-1-1, be sure to ask about the upcoming 2019 Back to School event at Manos de Cristo that will support 2000 children over […]

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Mothers Day gifts that make a difference

Austin-area nonprofit unveils Mother’s Day gift that makes a difference People can honor the moms in their lives with a gift that supports early childhood initiatives in the community   Austin, Texas – This Mother’s Day, skip the flowers and chocolates. Donors can honor the moms in their lives with a gift that makes a difference. When people donate to United Way for Greater Austin, they will receive a beautiful Mother’s Day card to share with their honoree. Donors can pick from three card designs, each featuring artwork by children enrolled in early childhood programs supported by United Way in Austin. And, when donors give $100 or more, they will be entered to win a special giveaway – a $100 gift card to the new, hip restaurant, High Note. Donors can get involved by donating: $30: More Cherished than Chocolates $100: More Magical than Mimosas $250: More Fabulous than Flowers The best part? This is a Mother’s Day gift that gives twice. Donations will support United Way for Greater Austin’s work, including early childhood initiatives like Family Connects Texas. What is Family Connects Texas? United Way for Greater Austin provides families with the skills and resources they need to take an active role in their own success. As part of that mission, United Way for Greater Austin – in collaboration with Austin Public Health and St. David’s Foundation – has started offering free Registered Nurse home visits to families in Austin/Travis County with a newborn. The Family Connects model brings […]

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Expanded funding for 2-Gen based programs

United Way for Greater Austin announces $300,000 in funding to jump start expansion of support services for parents and children in Austin/Travis County AUSTIN, Texas – United Way for Greater Austin (United Way) announced today that it is providing $300,000 in funding designed to accelerate expansion of 2-Generation (2-Gen) family support efforts in Austin/Travis County in line with the Family Opportunity Roadmap: Austin/Travis County 2-Generation Strategic Plan 2019-2023. 2-Gen efforts include the development and promotion of services and programming that support both parents and their children together. United Way is also working to eliminate barriers families with low income often face in accessing those services. To create a community of change, United Way will award funding to six nonprofit organizations launching “turnkey” 2-Gen programs or services at a total of $300,000 over two years. In partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, United Way led a year-long strategic planning process that resulted in a comprehensive, community-supported roadmap for providing comprehensive, intergenerational support to entire families so they can break the cycle of poverty. Implementation of the Family Opportunity Roadmap began in January 2019, and these investments support immediate increases in the number of organizations serving families through a 2-Gen approach and the number of families receiving services in this manner. These new Community Investment Grant partners are: Austin Area Urban League. In partnership with Child Inc., the Austin Area Urban League will provide onsite childcare for parents participating in workforce training and job readiness programs. AVANCE. In partnership with […]

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Expanded High-Quality Pre-K Options for Families

United Way and Austin ISD Partner to Expand High-Quality Pre-K Options for Families United Way for Greater Austin and the Austin Independent School District are expanding an established collaboration to increase access to high-quality Pre-Kindergarten. Austin ISD trustees approved an innovative solution that will serve as a model in the state for how communities can make high-quality early education accessible to all families. Through Pre-K Partnerships (PKP) United Way will create a hub to manage partnerships between Austin ISD and high-quality child development centers (CDCs) to offer both three-hour Austin ISD Pre-K3 classes (program that serves children who turn 3) and full-day childcare in community settings. For working families – particularly those with low income – this will be a game changer that provides access to high-quality care and education in a location and on a schedule that is convenient for them. “Access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs is critical for all children to ensure students are on a trajectory for success in kindergarten and beyond,” said Austin ISD Director of Early Childhood Ami Cortes-Castillo. “We are happy to provide yet another option for our Austin ISD families.” The first five years are a critical period in a child’s life when more than 90 percent of brain development occurs. Children who enter Kindergarten school-ready are set on a path to success that predicts third-grade reading levels, high school graduation rates, and other critical life outcomes. Less than half the children in Austin and Travis County enter Kindergarten ready for school. […]

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United Way ATX helps launch the Success By 6 Coalition Strategic Plan

United Way for Greater Austin 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 have 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. On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 the SX6 Coalition will launch 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 will gather to celebrate the hard work and collaboration that went into creating the plan. Attendees will hear 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, so an early childhood full of rich experiences is essential for happy, healthy children who are ready to succeed in school and life. For the past seven years, SX6 has led this strategic plan [formerly […]

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The Secret to Success for ATX Business Leaders

What is the secret to success for an Austin business? Gay Gaddis, CEO of T3 and Ali Khataw, CEO of Encotech Engineering Consultants are sharing what helped their companies on the path to success, and leading a movement sparking change for businesses across the city. “We often get the question: ‘What’s the one thing about your business that keeps you up at night?’ For us, it’s how to keep talented team members at the company as they start their families. For over two decades we’ve been working to cultivate a family-friendly culture at T3 (and Encotech Engineering Consultants), while encouraging other business leaders to do the same.” -Gay Gaddis, founder and CEO of T3 The City is joining this family-friendly movement, too. Last month, Mayor Steve Adler joined us in launching the Early Matters Greater Austin (EMGA) Family-Friendly Workplace Initiative. The goal is to encourage local business leaders to survey their family-friendly workplace practices and commit to strengthening policies and practices that support families. Some guidance on what makes a family-friendly workplace has been established under the leadership of United Way for Greater Austin and E3 Alliance, who created a Family-Friendly Toolkit that outlines resources and recommendations both for employers and their employees. The suggestions in the toolkit can be applied to companies of all sizes, and offer a range of benefits that are easy to institute. “Life is just one virtuous circle — which includes work, family, and a person’s individual interests and pursuits. We believe at T3 that […]

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Get access to FREE food for kids this summer

“When school lets out for summer, millions of children lose access to school breakfast and lunch and are at risk of going hungry. Our summer meal programs work to make sure that doesn’t happen.” -USDA Food & Nutrition Service Did you know that 1 in 4 Austin, TX households are food insecure? Access to basic needs is a fundamental right, and United Way for Greater Austin is proud of the work our 2-1-1 Navigation team plays in ensuring that families have access to resources like nutritious, affordable food all year round. During the school year many families rely on the free breakfast and lunch program that is offered for qualifying families through the public school system. That benefit is not available when the school year ends, so funders and providers are coming together to ensure there is access to food available during these summer months. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is offered throughout the state of Texas. In the Greater Austin area our 2-1-1 Navigation team works hard to make sure families have accurate, up-to-date information on which locations in their area are offering food, and when. The SFSP program partners offer FREE food throughout the state to: · All children, 18 and under, no questions asked. · To individuals 19 years and older who have a mental or physical disability, and participate during the school year in a public or private non-profit school program. There are no other qualifications to receive the free meals. The program runs from […]

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