Blog

Meet Jamie, an Austinite with a passion for community

Women United educates, engages, and empowers women in Greater Austin. Each quarter we will spotlight and bring you a closer look into the lives of one of your fellow Women United Members. We are proud to celebrate women as philanthropic leaders and are honored to have so many amazing women in our community — like Jamie Bowers, a new Women United superstar! Q&A with Jamie Bowers| CEO, Bola Pizza What do you love about Austin? Good question! What do I not love about Austin? I grew up here so I’ve seen this city change rapidly and experienced the growing pains firsthand. I love how open and friendly we are. Austinites tend to hold open doors, smile and say hello.    How did you become involved with United Way for Greater Austin/Women United? I was lucky enough to meet Bill Butler [United Way ATX Sr. Corporate Account Manager] on a plane to a friend’s birthday in Tulum. We started talking about what we do and he explained to me how United Way’s programs impact our community. I was intrigued because I believe in supporting charitable causes that develop people along with being a source of information for basic needs and more complex issues like child care, counseling, access to continuing education. United Way has programs for all of those needs and other support organizations they direct people to if they don’t fit within the United Way programs. Having all the knowledge in one place has a serious impact for those in […]

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OMG, BOOKS!

Did you know that the first 2,000 days of every person’s life are foundational? Studies show that a child’s experiences during those early years literally build the architecture of their brain. Making the most of every child’s 2,000-day journey from birth to Kindergarten is essential, and we know that all families can use support along the way to do this. Research proves that having at least 20 age-appropriate books in the home can improve a child’s educational success, and the Success By 6 ATX Coalition (SX6) is making bold moves to provide those 20-books to all families in ATX! United Ways of Texas recently helped us make headway on this goal by granting United Way ATX with an OMG Book Award! Together, with SX6 Coalition partner BookSpring we distributed 16,899 books to thousands of families in Austin/Travis County utilizing this grant! “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 in life.”  – Cathy McHorse, VP of Success By 6.  Today in Austin 34,000 children under six in Travis County live in households with low income, and 61% of those children do not enter Kindergarten ready for school. In 2019 our coalition launched version three of a strategic plan aimed at slashing that statistic. With our coalitions bold goal to ensure that all children in Austin/Travis County enter Kindergarten ready to succeed we […]

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Celebrating 2-1-1 Day 2020: Meet dedicated members of the 2-1-1 team

For those of you who are familiar with 2-1-1, you know it is a powerful service. In Central Texas, 2-1-1 is leveraged by thousands of people stretching a 10-County region from Bastrop to Llano and beyond. Every day, people who work hard, but still struggle to make ends meet contact 2-1-1 to access free and confidential services for food, healthcare, transportation, and more.  Today, on National 2-1-1 Day, we are celebrating our fearless and dedicated staff. No matter the situation, the 2-1-1 team listens, identifies underlying problems, and connects people with resources and services in our community – but most importantly they exercise empathy. Keep reading to hear from three dedicated 2-1-1 team members about how working for this service has changed their lives.  For 11-year veteran Jessica Venson, Director of Client Services, amazement was her first impression of 2-1-1.  “The fact that my job was to listen to people’s stories, help them problem solve possible solutions and then also be able to provide them with a direction was unreal,” Jessica said. “It didn’t seem like this could actually be a real job…. a place where I could genuinely show my concern or care, and find ways to support others in my community.” After transitioning to the 2-1-1 team in August of 2019, 2-1-1 Call Specialist Cassie Gallardo said her eyes were opened to the depth of the need in Central Texas.  “Before I started working United Way ATX, I was a struggling mother and I contacted 2-1-1 for help,” […]

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Volunteering: It’s Good for YOU, Too

People volunteer for all kinds of reasons. Many people volunteer because they want to make a difference or help the less fortunate. And it’s easy to see how spending your time lending a helping hand and supporting a good cause positively impacts the community. But it turns out, volunteering may benefit you just as much. Over the past 15 years, research has demonstrated the power of volunteering. Volunteering has positive impacts for your overall health and well-being; people who volunteer regularly have improved cognitive function, better physical health, live longer, and have lower rates of depression. A Harvard Health paper noted that people who volunteer weekly benefit from what they call the “happiness effect” and report happiness levels comparable to a life-changing wage increase. And, the positive benefits don’t end there! There are professional benefits too. Volunteering provides valuable opportunities to build your communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills. According to this Deloitte report, all this experience pays off: People who volunteer are twice as likely to be “very satisfied” with their career progression. In fact, 92% of HR executives agree that contributing to a nonprofit can improve leadership skills. More and more, businesses are also reporting positive impacts of community engagement. Young professionals who volunteer through their company are more likely to be proud, loyal, and content with their place of work. Volunteering is a win-win. Not only is it good for the community, it’s incredibly special to be able to take some time out of your regular schedule […]

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An Afternoon with Local Philanthropy Legend Earl Maxwell

-Ashley Haustein, Director of Marketing and Communications I recently had a chance to sit down with Earl Maxwell, CEO at St. David’s Foundation here in Austin, TX. We talked about Earl’s views on philanthropy, the partnership between our two organizations, and — as Earl prepares for retirement — his words of wisdom for the next generation of philanthropists. Q: What people and experiences shaped your views on philanthropy? Really it goes back to my grandparents. They were always giving back and helping people. Their philanthropy was confined to their church, family, and neighborhood. I remember they were always putting people up… they had a rollaway bed that people would sleep on as they were looking for a job. My mom was also really generous. She was a Registered Nurse, and she served as our neighborhood nurse. I grew up with this idea of giving back front and center. Right out of college, I went to go work for Deloitte. On the last day of my training, the local Partner Bob Cruikshank came in to talk with us. He talked about the importance of being involved in the community. I remember leaving that training thinking, “That’s the kind of CPA I want to become.” Q: St. David’s Foundation is “building the healthiest community in the world.” That’s awesome. Tell me a little bit about the challenges Austin faces in the arena of health and how St. David’s Foundation is working to address those challenges. Our community’s challenges in health are huge, […]

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Happy 1st Birthday Family Connects! (Day 1 of our Birthday Week)

Family Connects is a free, evidence-based nurse home visiting program for all families with newborns. We are thrilled to be celebrating the program’s 1st birthday in Austin/Travis County! The Family Connects Texas program (an arm of Family Connects International in Durham, NC) supports parents by linking nurses, community resources, and families. Our mission is to connect you with resources that nurture your whole family and support your child. It’s about planting seeds for the future. Together, we’re growing healthy babies! Want to know what a home visit looks like? Learn more about our amazing program at our website: https://www.familyconnectstexas.org/

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Happy 1st Birthday Family Connects! (Day 2 of our Birthday Week)

Family Connects is a free, evidence-based nurse home visiting program for all families with newborns. We are thrilled to be celebrating the program’s 1st birthday in Austin/Travis County! The Family Connects Texas program (an arm of Family Connects International in Durham, NC) supports parents by linking nurses, community resources, and families. Our mission is to connect you with resources that nurture your whole family and support your child. It’s about planting seeds for the future. Together, we’re growing healthy babies! Want to know what a home visit looks like? Learn more about our amazing program at our website: https://www.familyconnectstexas.org/

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Happy 1st Birthday Family Connects! (Day 3 of our Birthday Week)

Family Connects is a free, evidence-based nurse home visiting program for all families with newborns. We are thrilled to be celebrating the program’s 1st birthday in Austin/Travis County! The Family Connects Texas program (an arm of Family Connects International in Durham, NC) supports parents by linking nurses, community resources, and families. Our mission is to connect you with resources that nurture your whole family and support your child. It’s about planting seeds for the future. Together, we’re growing healthy babies! Want to know what a home visit looks like? Learn more about our amazing program at our website: https://www.familyconnectstexas.org/

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