Newsroom

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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Recognizing the best in philanthropy: Employee Campaign Awards 2013

Thanks to almost 400 companies and their employees in the Austin community, UWATX’s vision for Austin is one step closer to becoming a reality.  Last night, we celebrated and recognized those companies who excelled in building philanthropy in our community. Overall awards Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Awards Our Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy award is given to United Way for Greater Austin’s Top 3 campaigns, companies who make important investments with a commitment to making Austin Greater and where employees also give of their time, talent and treasure. Each of these companies implement United Way’s best practices, and do so in a way that represents “excellence” in all categories.  They represent the heart of philanthropy in Greater Austin and we are so honored to work with them everyday to lift up the working poor and ensure that every one of our community members has what they need to thrive. This year’s winners are H-E-B, 3M and Enterprise. Pictured, from left: Mark Hauerland and David Spencer, H-E-B, Russell Bridges, 3M, Eric Munoz and Nikki Mulvaney, Enterprise, and Bobby Jenkins, ABC Home & Commercial   Best Practices Award: Target The “Best Practices Award” recognizes the company that implements UWATX’s 3 Best Practices of engaging company leaders in Employee Campaign, providing opportunities for employees to learn about the impact of their gifts and experiencing community change through volunteer projects hosted by UWATX.  This year, our representatives were able to speak at every Target store and cover every employee shift to ensure that Target employees […]

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WLC rounds out another year of helping Austin children

The United Way Women’s Leadership Council just wrapped up another successful year – and the results speak for themselves: “Anytime a group of women leaders are focused on the social and economic challenges in Greater Austin; the focus brings results.” Kathleen Farlow, Managing Partner, Deloitte Austin The WLC is a powerful group of professional women who have a deep passion for helping Austin’s youngest and most vulnerable children. Through advocacy, volunteer efforts and donations, they make sure that Austin’s future is on the right track. This past year, the WLC members gave an astonishing $400K to support our most vulnerable community members. I have the privilege of supporting this inspiring group – but their own words speak to the value of this group much more powerfully that I could: A HUGE thank you to all of the dedicated women who have come together to support young children this year! Of course, the work is never done, so right now, the WLC is supporting the Steiner Serves effort that selected our Success By 6 (SB6) program as their May beneficiary and working on a book drive to help centers in our SB6 Center Project.  Learn more about the efforts of the WLC and the great women that lead this work.   Want to learn more? Tell us:  [pardot-form id=”6638″ title=”Email marketing – welcome series”]

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At 3M, WLC women are “true leaders”

Since 2003, the Women’s Leadership Council has worked to be “the most powerful female-driven philanthropic force in Central Texas” – and with more than 500 members investing in our community annually, it’s safe to say they’re delivering on that promise. At each of the 400+ companies that we work with locally, the WLC looks a bit different, adjusting to the culture and needs of that particular workplace.  Since it’s International Women’s Day, we wanted to find out what drives these incredibly giving women by talking to Judy Donigan, National Account Manager at 3M, about what’s working for them. The WLC group allows us to leverage the power of women and support efforts that are close to our heart.   – Michelle Diggs, 3M Marketing Manager & WLC Member JA Central Texas Board, Any Baby Can Advisory Board, Texas Civil Rights Division Commissioner What makes the WLC at 3M unique?  The WLC women at 3M are true leaders within our company.  They are successful in their different businesses and foster a sense of responsibility in giving back to our community.  Many of the women are board members of nonprofit organizations within the greater Austin area.  All of our members are committed to improving the lives of those with barriers to economic opportunity through our philanthropic efforts.    How many women are involved? Who has the WLC changed over time?  Twenty-four 3M women participate in activities with the Women’s Leadership Council. From my perspective, more 3M women are also taking additional leadership positions […]

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Research shows UWATX Play To Learn makes parents happy, helps children be school-ready

After an 18-month evaluation, we have firm numbers behind something we’ve been hearing for years: UWATX’s innovative Play To Learn initiative is changing lives – read the summary of results [PDF]. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhsCzogMYL4[/youtube] Play To Learn is a new, scalable early intervention program designed to bridge the critical gaps in learning among children. Like all our work, the project targets low-income from low-income neighborhoods in Austin and surrounding areas.  The project is a result of an extensive child assessment process and data mapping initiative in Austin’s low-income neighborhoods. Play To Learn: A course that teaches parents how to help their children become school ready while incorporating local resources and tablet technology. The Play To Learn project falls under UWATX’s Success By 6 program. Thanks to a $1-million grant from Samsung Austin Semiconductor, 212 families enrolled in Play To Learn from May 2012 to April 2013- and an astonishing 93 percent (198 families) completed the 8-week in-person sessions as well as the year-long library portion. The Samsung grant also funded an 18-month evaluation from a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin School of Human Ecology – the full research report shows  astonishing results [PDF]. “Play To Learn was found to be an effective, short-term program for helping young children develop learning skills, including media use, as well as encouraging parental involvement in learning,” said Sue Carpenter, Sr. Director of Success By 6. “The program provides evidence that technology, local resources and a high-quality curriculum can make a significant difference in the […]

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UWATX: What We Do

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPZTdJaMoiY[/youtube] United Way for Greater Austin has been in this community since 1924 – committed to making Austin greater by building philanthropy and running strategic programs. In the presentation above, Debbie Bresette, our president since 2009, breaks down how we do it: To build philanthropy, we run employee campaigns, giving everyone in our community who earns a paycheck the opportunity to give back. We also coordinate volunteer efforts because we believe giving your time is valuable as well, and we work  to inspire individual giving because we know we are all richer when we give back. Last year, we raised more than $16M for nonprofit organizations and coordinated nearly 100,000 hours of volunteering. Of that fundraising, donors entrusted $5.1M to our organization – and we put that giving to work for Greater Austin. In our strategic programs, se support young children through Success By 6, middle school students through Target Graduation and families through Financial Opportunity, and we provide an easy way to connect to services and resources through the Navigation Center. But we also know that it takes a village – for children to succeed, they need parent support, for families to thrive, they need quality education for their children. So our programs are structured to create wrap-around services. Our work is coordinated, knowing that supporting one student can be a key first step to improving the trajectory of a whole family. It’s also targeted in areas that have the highest needs, innovative (because we keep an eye on the landscape […]

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Philanthropic women make Austin greater

One of the most committed groups supporting UWATX is the UWATX Women’s Leadership Council, co-chaired by Jennifer Foster, Dell (who voices the presentation below), and Lauren Hammonds, Blackbaud. Their commitment to early childhood brought in $400K last year for our youngest and most vulnerable children. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD0Nnowtfn8[/youtube]   The WLC is a committed, diverse group of women who donate $1,200 annually, volunteer their time and spread the word about UWATX Success By 6, our work in early childhood. At UWATX, we focus on early childhood because the first few years are critical and, in our community, children are not getting off to the best start. Across Central Texas, only 50 percent of children are ready for school when they get there – and in low-income communities, that drops to 13 percent. UWATX makes a difference – 90 percent of children in our Success By 6 program are on-track to be ready for school. WLC members support Austin’s future, our youngest children, by giving back in flexible ways. At the same time, they can network with peers and connect to women in different industries and from different backgrounds. Last year, the WLC included 200 women representing 55 businesses. Besides giving $400,000 to support young children, advocacy spearheaded by UWATX Success By 6 and the WLC restored half a million dollars in City of Austin funding for young children.  Learn more about these philanthropic women and check out photos from their latest event.

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HOW TO: Highlight your philanthropy on LinkedIn

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30A7D0u1Tx0&feature=youtube_gdata[/youtube] LinkedIn now has 200M users, with 2 new users added every second. To help our donors, volunteers and partners showcase their good work on the professional social network, we put together this recorded webinar. Giving back and professional development Volunteers are 27% more likely to find a job after being out of work. Individuals can grow their networks, learn new skills and gain key connections by giving back. Volunteering could mean hands-on work for an organization or professional volunteering, like serving on a board or being engaged with a nonprofit group like Women’s Leadership Council or Employee Campaign Leaders.   LinkedIn background Started in 2003, LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks still being used. LinkedIn turned 10 on May 5, 2013. There are currently more than 200M users on LinkedIn. LinkedIn users tend to be affluent, educated and influential. LinkedIn launched the ability to list volunteer experiences in 2011. Only 1M members include their volunteer experience on their profiles, so this is an untapped opportunity. Of those who list their volunteer experience, 62 percent are millenials.   HOW TO: List your experience on your LinkedIn profile To add your volunteer experience, go to this edit page (you may be asked to sign in to LinkedIn). You can list three types of volunteer and cause information: Causes you care about – This is an opportunity to list topics or issues that you care about. LinkedIn has created the list of options. Click to check the box next to those causes you […]

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Giving back by lending your voice

Each year, decisions that elected officials make at the local, state and federal level impact millions of lives – particularly, those of vulnerable populations. At UWATX, we’ve worked to inspire our supporters to make sure their voices heard on issues like local funding for early childhood education, tax incentives for giving back and state employee’s ability to give back. Advocacy can mean anything from signing an online petition to putting your name down as a supporter for a bill at the Capitol, but we know that what matters most are individual conversations with law makers to help them understand how their choices affect their constituents. Robyn Eckermann, a member of the UWATX Women’s Leadership Council Executive Committee and Vice President, Strategic Planning at St. David’s HealthCare, shares her experience of joining UWATX to meet face-to-face with local officials during this year’s budget cycle to advocate for increased funding for early childhood. What advocacy visits did you attend this budget cycle? How was it different or similar to your expectations? For my first advocacy visit, we met with Sherri Fleming and Brook Son with the Travis County Health and Human Services Department.  I expected a rather formal, almost-debate structured format whereas the visit was actually quite informal.  Both were extremely gracious listeners – allowing Sue Carpenter to really hit her stride as she ran through our dashboard. Expecting a more formal environment, I equipped myself to be able to testify on behalf of childhood education.  I memorized all of our key asking points, […]

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Introducing Kathleen Farlow as new Campaign Co-Chair, celebrating a year of giving

The 2012 Employee Campaign season has just wrapped up, marking a successful year of giving from Austin businesses and their employees. To say thank you, UWATX is recognizing the companies that truly stood out in their giving, including three recipients for the 2012 Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award:   3M: 3M is a powerful supporter of UWATX- they came in second in raising dollars directly for UWATX programs and community impact. On top of that, 3M also touts the largest number of leadership givers and supported UWATX’s new brand with a generous donation of bus wraps that toured the city for months. 3M also matches every gift, stocks a large portion of our supply closet, gave in-kind donations to support UWATX’s rebranding efforts and consistently gives the largest corporate gift to UWATX in Austin! H-E-B: In the Greater Austin area, H-E-B employees make up the single largest source of employee giving support.  They run a fun, educational, and competitive UWATX campaign in each of their stores, and truly embody the best in corporate philanthropy. Their success grows from strong leadership:  From Charles Butt’s support of philanthropy, to Jeff Thomas’ personal investment of time and guidance, to store leaders championing the UWATX campaign across the region and individual employees who lead fellow Partners in giving back. Enterprise: Enterprise was the success story UWATX couldn’t stop talking about this year. Their campaign saw huge increases in total giving, giving to UWATX and a very high participation rate.  Enterprise stressed the value of […]

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