Category: 90th Anniversary

Zine Art to Hang in Austin City Hall as Part of The People’s Gallery 2015 Exhibition

United Way for Greater Austin is pleased to announce that a portion of the collection from STRUGGLE, The Other Faces of the Texas Economic Miracle will be on display at Austin City Hall as part of The People’s Gallery Exhibition. The exhibition opens on February 27, 2015 and will run until January 7, 2016.  The 11th annual People’s Gallery Exhibition features more than 100 artworks from Austin-area artists, galleries, museums, and arts organizations displayed throughout the first three floors of Austin City Hall, a highly-visible venue that hosts more than 200,000 visitors annually. “It is incredibly human to face challenges like living paycheck-to-paycheck, dealing with debt, or facing difficult choices with limited income.” STRUGGLE, The Other Faces of the Texas Economic Miracle, was selected from approximately 1,250 artwork entries from more than 300 applicants. The goal of this project is to show that struggle is not foreign–that it is incredibly human to face challenges like living paycheck to paycheck, dealing with debt, or facing difficult choices with limited income–and that we encounter people facing these challenges head-on in our everyday lives. This collection of custom portraiture was commissioned by UWATX in honor of our 90th anniversary. We worked with local photographer Matthew Rainwaters to capture some of the unexpected faces of poverty in Austin. “I wanted to illustrate the humanity in everyone without objectifying the working poor or holding them up as a spectacle,” Rainwaters said. Our hope is that these powerful portraits will start a dialogue in our community about […]

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Get to know your city

Austin is an amazing city to live and work in. We know because UWATX has been serving this city for 90 years.  We recently compiled a history of this wonderful community in our ‘United for 90 Years’ Timeline to celebrate the culture and growth of Greater Austin. If you’re looking for a fun summer activity, we’ve not turned the timeline into a map to help Austinites plan a scavenger hunt of our city’s history – including the FIRST headquarters of United Way for Greater Austin!      See an iconic Austin spot missing? Let us know in the comments! 

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9 local businesses making Austin greater

As part of our 90-day celebration of UWATX’s 90th anniversary, we’re working on 10 lists of 9 highlighting influential and impactful people in the Austin community. In the eighth part of our series, we bring you nine local businesses invested in giving back.  We’re a city that prides itself on our weirdness – and a big part of what makes Austin different is how much we love local business and how many businesses come from Austin. We’re a city that nurtures small businesses and attracts entrepreneurs – and we’re also a city that gives back. In that spirit, we are highlighting 9 businesses that are both homegrown in Austin and give back to our community.  1. Alt Creative Alt Creative is an interactive design agency that makes giving back a core part of their work – they blog about the importance of small business being philanthropic and even have a page on their site dedicated to their philanthropic impact. In 2013, they were a finalist for the AustinGives GeneroCity Awards.     2. Kerbey Lane (UWATX Partner) Besides making delicious pancakes, Kerbey Lane also makes our community better. The iconic Austin restaurant was founded in 1980 on the idea that food should be fresh and locally grown, and to this day, they continue to support local farms and producers. They also make time for employee volunteering projects through our Hands On Central Texas program, adopted local child care centers through our Success By 6 Center Project and are active in other community efforts. Kerbey Lane is truly a company committed to make Austin […]

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9 volunteers making Austin greater

As part of our 90-day celebration of UWATX’s 90th anniversary, we’re working on 10 lists of 9 highlighting influential and impactful people in the Austin community. In the seventh part of our series, we bring you nine volunteers changing Austin.  Austin is known for our volunteering spirit – nearly 30 percent of Austinites invest their time in making our community even better. We’re proud to work with thousands of these dedicated community members through our Hands On Central Texas program, Austin’s largest volunteer network. Approximately 1 in every 17 volunteers in Austin interacts with our program, so we thought we’d take a second to highlight a few of these truly outstanding volunteers.    1. Ryan Melendez, BB&T Ryan not only teaches families about banking and managing money in English and in Spanish, but also builds confidence in our families by showing their impact on the economy.  Ryan’s been a wonderful volunteer by teaching financial education and conducting outreach for UWATX’s Bank On Central Texas initiative.   2. Tom Wald, former Executive Director of Bike Austin Tom brought his cycling expertise to a group of Decker Middle School Volunteer Leaders who were passionate about securing a bike lane or sidewalk on the route to their campus. He helped the students understand safety laws and ultimately get in front of TXDOT to share their stories and letters of advocacy which helped to secure priority funding for a Decker sidewalk that will ensure a safe passage to and from school.   3. Jennifer Healy, Target Jennifer’s […]

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Nine young professionals making Austin greater

As part of our 90-day celebration of UWATX’s 90th anniversary, we’re working on 10 lists of 9 highlighting influential and impactful people in the Austin community. In the sixth part of our series, we bring you nine young professionals changing Austin.  Austin’s a city of entrepreneurs, innovators and philanthropists – and we’re a great city for young professionals, so it was difficult to determine who to highlight with so many talented Austinites. We chose to focus on individuals who made an impact on our community with a commitment to what makes Austin unique AND philanthropic efforts.    1. Dan Graham Dan Graham is founder and CEO of BuildASign.com. Dan has been named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Central Texas, a 2012 best CEO by the Austin Business Journal, and Austin Under 40’s 2012 Austinite of the Year. He is on the Board of Directors for United Way for Greater Austin, Caritas of Austin and the Austin Chamber of Commerce. He is a mentor through Capital Factory and Incubation Station.   2. Julie Fisher Julie Fisher is the Public Affairs and Community Relations Specialist at Samsung Austin Semiconductor. Julie is heavily involved with UWATX. She mentors students weekly, is an Employee Campaign Leader for Samsung’s Employee Campaign, and on the Young Leaders Society Founding Committee. Photo: UWATX photo of Julie volunteering at Decker Middle School.   3. Luke Martinez Luke Martinez is Senior Vice President; Process Design Consultant at Bank of America. Very involved with UWATX, Luke is […]

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“Working with a creative community to serve the Austin community”

We’ve been growing up alongside Austin for 90 years –  and what it means to struggle financially has changed drastically in that time. To tell that story, we teamed up with local creative forces Alex Hannaford, journalist, and Matt Rainwaters, photographer, to create “Struggle: The Other Faces of the Texas Economic Miracle” – a zine showcasing our friends and neighbors who challenge the expected narrative around the working poor. What made you interested in this project? “These are the people who work full-time, often two jobs, to put food on the table and pay their bills, but who still find themselves unable to sustain this.” Alex Hannaford, journalist Alex: I’ve written a fair bit about the marginalized in society – and so this was a natural fit. I also thought it was interesting that this project didn’t focus on the poorest members of society, but the ‘working poor’ – a segment of the population that is largely ignored. These are the people who work full-time, often two jobs, to put food on the table and pay their bills, but who still find themselves unable to sustain this. Matt: I was also interested in telling the story of the ‘working poor.’ Having just recently learned the joy of fatherhood, I also confronted the high cost of child care, how that affects your quality of life and so on – there was definitely an element of sympathy there. It also interested me because these are stories we don’t hear about poverty – […]

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My love affair with Austin’s aggressive optimism

As our organization celebrates 90 years of serving this community and growing up alongside Austin, I’ve been reflecting on what brought me to this area in the 1970s – and it’s striking to realize that the mix of optimism and creativity that drew me here all those years ago is still what fuels my work in social justice to this day.  While I had visited Austin all throughout my childhood (and skied over snakes every summer in Ink’s Lake), by young adulthood, I was traveling around the west coast in a minivan, drawn to the next great artistic adventure.  I went to California to live in a redwood forest and restore trees to an area that had been devastated by a sawmill. I moved to New Mexico to live in an adobe house and run a 2,000 acres farm for a stunt man. When I came back to Texas, it was for the soil and the trees – I bought 50 acres of land in Bastrop that I still live on today and started an organic farm.  Austin had the perfect combination for me: I could live in the country (which feeds my soul) and I could be near artists at the same time. More than anything, Austin had and still has this aggressive optimism that says “you can do anything – make it happen.”   Austin has this aggressive optimism that says “you can do anything – make it happen.”  So I did: I grew organic vegetables and sold them to what […]

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