Blog

Meeting families where they are, virtually

Even before COVID-19 we knew that all families could use support at the birth of a child, and some things never change. Now more than ever families may be experiencing heightened stress, anxiety, and other obstacles when they are bringing a new child into their home. Babies don’t come with an instruction manual. That’s why Family Connects Texas offers a FREE home visit from a registered nurse for families with a newborn. Before the pandemic, our nurses would come to your family’s home 3-weeks postpartum and offer in depth support. Now, our nurses meet you virtually, to help your family safely in today’s socially distanced world. During your 2-hour video chat, nurses check on mom, baby, and the whole family. In light of COVID-19, Family Connects was able to pivot their model to meet families where they are – virtually. We are so proud of our team for finding innovative ways to reimagine what high quality care and education in our community looks like. Families are still receiving the same great service, at a safe social distance during COVID-19. Staci Bishopp is a local first-time mom who has been weathering birth and postpartum during the pandemic, and she is thankful for the support Family Connects was able to provide her.  Staci, her partner Tim, and their baby Finn all received a virtual visit from a Family Connects nurse earlier this summer. She first learned about Family Connects Texas from her providers at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, and signed […]

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JE Dunn Makes Sweet Briar Even Sweeter

JE Dunn Construction has been a close partner to United Way for Greater Austin since 2007. Last year, they ran their 11th annual employee giving campaign — and more than 30 team members stepped up to donate over $20,000 to support our Greater Austin community. But our collaboration isn’t just about raising money. JE Dunn is committed to showing up for our community through volunteer projects, too. They are deploying their skilled volunteers to our Pre-K Partnerships child development centers across Austin to complete much-needed infrastructure improvements. In late August, JE Dunn volunteers completed a two-day volunteer project at Sweet Briar Child Development Center. In the sweltering August heat, JE Dunn volunteers rolled up their sleeves and: -Removed a dead tree and buried tire -Moved the storage shed away from the main building to prevent additional water damage to both buildings -Improved the main walkway that staff, parents, and children use to walk into the school each day -Reconstructed the drainage system near the playground area to prevent any runoff issues -And more! Chris Szeliga, Sr. Vice President at JE Dunn, shared why this partnership with United Way for Greater Austin means so much to their company and team – especially now: “In these uncertain times, it’s crucial that organizations and individuals remain committed and diligent in the support of their local communities. JE Dunn Construction and our employees are proud to serve the Austin community by and through United Way. We are honored to affiliate with, humbled to partner […]

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Inspiring and empowering: Meet the 2020 Women United Executive Committee

Women United is a diverse, vibrant donor network supporting United Way for Greater Austin. Members are committed to creating a powerful, female-driven philanthropic force to improve early childhood education in Greater Austin. Women United members support United Way’s early childhood education initiatives, part of a community-wide collaboration called Success By 6. Our Women United members are champions for change and innovation in our community, and are committed to helping our youngest Austinites reach their full potential. We couldn’t do this work without our Executive Committee, and we think everyone should meet these incredible women and learn about what excites them in their work. Laura Hernandez Holmes, Political Consultant | Women United Executive Committee co-chair “I am most excited about introducing friends and colleagues to the work United Way does for our community. Whether it’s the expanded intake at 2-1-1 they have handled with grace or the way they stepped up to create All Together ATX to provide much-needed support to those in need during the pandemic, I am proud of the work they do for Austin.” Michele Scott, Square Move Realty | Women United Executive Committee co-chair “One of the things that excites me most about being part of United Way’s work is seeing firsthand the positive outcomes of supporting families in the Greater Austin area. It has been wonderful to witness the humanity of volunteers coming together for a common good, and for such a meaningful purpose – specifically, to support our children.” Maria Aguiluz, Pink Cactus Productions “When […]

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We Love Our H-E-B!

This blog was written by Director of Corporate Relations Erica Abbenante On August 3rd, our incredible community partner H-E-B officially launched its 2020 United Way employee giving campaign with almost 20,000 employees (Partners!) across 59 locations in the Central Texas area. Kicking off the festivities for the first time was Cathy Harm, recently named Regional Vice President for H-E-B and our brand new United Way ATX Board of Directors member! Cathy took on her new role in early 2020, and not long after settling in, we welcomed her to our Board of Directors. We’re thrilled to have her leadership! H-E-B and United Way have been close community partners for over 20 years. Since 2016, H-E-B Partners have consistently raised more than $1 Million every year for the Greater Austin community—last year’s record-setting campaign raised more than $1.4 Million! It’s not an understatement to say that H-E-B’s continued support and commitment to their communities has helped us to positively impact thousands of lives. When COVID-19 hit our community earlier this spring, H-E-B responded quickly and powerfully, working around the clock to make sure Central Texans had safe access to food and supplies while managing an unimaginably complex supply chain and public health puzzle. Not only did they focus on keeping their stores stocked and safe—they also quickly launched their “Texans Helping Texans” program to help seniors get supplies delivered to their door, supporting local restaurants by selling their food in stores, and donating millions to organizations providing relief. In June, we […]

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Silicon Labs: Magnifying community good

Austin-based Silicon Labs has always had a deep commitment to supporting our local community. In 2019, Silicon Labs team members volunteered more than 3,500 hours. And every year, Silicon Labs gives back 1% of their profits to charitable organizations. When COVID-19 hit Central Texas, Silicon Labs stepped up in a big way with a significant donation to All Together ATX, the COVID-19 relief fund we created with our friends at Austin Community Foundation to support Central Texans through the pandemic. Hear from Silicon Labs CMO Megan Lueders, as she talks about why this donation means so much to SIlicon Labs and how together Silicon Labs and United Way ATX are “magnifying and multiplying community good.” And our partnership didn’t stop there. That donation to All Together ATX is the first stepping stone toward more collaboration between Silicon Labs and United Way ATX. Just last week, United Way ATX hosted a virtual volunteering event for Silicon Labs team members in support of All Together ATX grantee Central Texas Food Bank. At the event, Silicon Labs team members: Learned about the need in our community due to COVID-19. For more than 25 years, United Way ATX has run the 2-1-1 “call for help” line where people can get support related to food, housing, transportation, health, and more. Over the past few months, our 2-1-1 call specialists have been answering 4x our typical call volume. One of the biggest needs in our community: Food. Learned about how All Together ATX grantee Central Texas […]

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Meet our new Board members

Here at United Way ATX, we’re convinced that we have the best Board in town. Each and every Board member brings their passion, expertise, and heart to our fight against poverty — at every Board meeting and every day in between. We’re thrilled to welcome five new members to our Board of Directors. They are all incredible humans and leaders in our community, and make our Board even stronger. Cathy Harm, Regional Vice President Central Texas at H-E-B _______________________________________________________________________ Jehmu Greene, Barbara’s Legacy | First generation American | Native Austinite _______________________________________________________________________ Allison Dwyer, Women United Executive Committee member | Success By 6 volunteer “I am excited to join the Board because I believe in the work United Way ATX does in our city and state to advocate for, assist, and educate our most vulnerable residents, their children, AND the community at large. My personal passion is ignited around their work to ensure that every child has a fair chance from the start in the classroom, rather than falling behind before Kindergarten due to his or her zip code.” _______________________________________________________________________ Yvette Ruiz, Vice President of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase _______________________________________________________________________ Pat Dorsey, Publisher at the Austin American-Statesman _______________________________________________________________________ We’re also thrilled to welcome back three returning Board members: Kathleen Farlow, Managing Partner at Deloitte; Bobby Jenkins, Owner at ABC Home & Commercial Services; and Heather Ladage, Publisher at Austin Business Journal. With these members, our Board becomes more diverse in race, gender, lived experience, and expertise. We’re proud of this […]

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All Together ATX: Announcing $2.2 Million to 70 Local Nonprofits

We are excited to award $2.2 Million to 70 Austin-area nonprofits working to support communities experiencing economic and health-related hardships caused by COVID-19 in Central Texas. This funding comes from All Together ATX, the COVID-19 relief fund we created in partnership with our friends at Austin Community Foundation. The nonprofits receiving grants are working to address domestic violence and child abuse, digital equity, mental health, aging populations and utility assistance.The grants range in size from $70,000 to $5,000, and will be distributed electronically by August 11. Meet the grantees here. Data consistently shows that Black and Hispanic residents in Central Texas are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 compared to their white neighbors. According to Austin Public Health, Hispanics make up 52% of confirmed cases in Travis County. Similarly, the Black community comprises 10% of hospitalizations and 9% of deaths in Travis County, but are less than 8% of the population.  To ensure the communities most impacted by COVID-19 are supported and funded, equity was a guiding principle in the All Together ATX grantmaking process. The intent of this round of funding was to enhance and increase existing services to individuals of historically under-resourced communities in the five-county Central Texas region (Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson).  All Together ATX distributed an initial round of funding in April 2020. During that phase we awarded grants totalling $1.8 Million to 97 nonprofits. Funding from All Together ATX has helped dozens of Central Texas nonprofits meet a high demand for services and support […]

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Family Leadership Council: Your story matters

At United Way for Greater Austin, we bring people, ideas, and resources together to fight poverty. We know that real change happens when we Live United and we value the lived experience and extensive expertise of parents & caregivers. One of the ways we make this happen is through our Family Leadership Council led by Paola Silvestre Porras, Director of Family Pathways at United Way ATX. The Family Leadership Council aims to create a pipeline for parents with lived experience to become community leaders and serve on commission boards, city council, and more. It is important for parents to be part of the decision-making process that affects them directly. The Family Leadership Council is designed to help these parents be agents of change in their own communities.  One of these parents from the inaugural cohort of the Family Leadership Council is Amina Makamba. Immigrating from the Congo in 2016, Amina gave birth to her triplet daughters three months early, the very next day after arriving in Austin, Texas.  “I came here in December of 2016. When I got to Austin, the next day I had the triplets. One of my girls was one pound when she was born and stayed in the hospital for five months,” Amina said. “When my kids were born I didn’t have any family here, so I had to stay in the shelter and work to go through the [social service system].” Parents are nominated to participate in the Family Leadership Council by our Community Investment […]

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Embodying grace: A Tribute to Jacquie Porter

Written by// Sue Carpenter, Chief Programs Officer Over the weekend, I learned about the passing of Jacquie Porter, Austin’s beloved early learning leader. This week has been a profoundly sad one, but I can’t help but reflect on the many wonderful experiences that I – and everyone in the Austin early education community – shared with this extraordinary colleague and friend. I first met Jacquie over a decade ago, when she was the Principal of AISD’s Lucy Read PreK Center. Even though her focus was on building and growing an exemplary early learning model for the district, she immediately stepped into a leadership role for the broader community coalition focused on school readiness. Having Jacquie at the table meant everything. If I could sum her up in one word (impossible!) – it would be “grace.” She was incredibly kind, thoughtful, and unstinting in the amount of time and counsel she was prepared to give to make our community better for young children and families. Very few people are both visionary and practical, but Jacquie dreamed of what could be and figured out the steps needed to make the vision a reality. One of my first conversations with her was about how the district could partner with community-based child care centers to deliver high-quality pre-K. She listened, asked questions, and then created plans to put this into action. Several pilot projects followed until the model was truly functioning, but she persisted across years despite all the challenges. Today, because of her […]

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Keeping the movement going together, even when we’re apart

At United Way ATX we are committed to doing the hard work, internally and in our community, of confronting racism. Our mission is to bring together people, ideas and resources to fight poverty in our community, and we we can most effectively fight poverty when we stand up for racial equity. Internally, we are 18 months into a deep dive on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and have been doing hard, introspective work on our shortcomings as an organization and finding innovative and inclusive solutions to continue moving forward in an open and equitable way. During this time, our team has been committed to transformation and growth, to keep learning and unlearning and to create safe spaces for our team to thrive.  Since transitioning to working in the virtual space we’ve enjoyed staying connected on our DEI goals through resource sharing. #BlackLivesMatter to us, every single day, and our team is committed to the movement, not the moment. Three members of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee have volunteered to share some of their favorite resources that have made an impact on them. _______________________________________________________________________ Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez | Corporate Volunteer Manager, United Way for Greater Austin Resource: In Bold Company, a community “Let’s be honest, the past few months haven’t been easy. Whether we are aware of it or not, systemic racism is something we live with every day, and as a brown woman it has been heartbreaking to see what is happening to the Black community both right now and […]

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