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More than 140 volunteers come together for Summer Day of Caring

On Friday, June 3, over 140 volunteers at 12 different locations across Travis and Williamson counties rolled up their sleeves at United Way for Greater Austin’s Summer Day of Caring, a community-wide volunteer event. Volunteers worked on a range of projects, from cleaning up local parks to painting jungle gyms at child development centers to gardening at local nonprofits – and more!  “These Days of Caring are so important. It connects us with each other, it connects us with the community, and it connects us with the truth that when one of us suffers we all suffer, and when one of us celebrates we all celebrate,” said United Way for Greater Austin CEO David C. Smith while at a volunteer location in Leander (pictured below).  “Volunteering with United Way makes a difference,” shared Terry Cook, Commissioner of Precinct 1 in Williamson County. Terry and her team volunteer every year, and choose to support United Way for Greater Austin because “the tasks chosen by United Way are very impactful.”  Events like Summer Day of Caring are a crucial part of United Way’s mission to fight poverty. Volunteering makes a direct impact on our community in a powerful way. Community events like these aren’t possible without the help of our amazing volunteers and sponsors. A big thank you to H-E-B, JPMorgan Chase, QuikTrip, Superior HealthPlan, and Texas Gas Service for their support in making Summer Day of Caring a success!   Check out the full photo album for Summer Day of Caring here. […]

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A Night United 2022: A celebration of our community’s collective resilience

Thank you to everyone who attended our fourth annual “A Night United” event! A sold-out crowd of over 300 people came out to advance our mission to fight poverty and make a difference in the lives of local children and families. It was a magical evening filled with community, celebration, and togetherness.   The past two years have called on our entire community to be more resilient than ever, and it was truly a pleasure to be with all of you to reflect and honor that collective resilience. Thank you for making this “A Night United” the most successful one yet! Every dollar raised will help families break the cycle of poverty and thrive.  Special thanks to our amazing co-chairs Yvette Ruiz & Ken Krumhansl and Sarah & Joseph Schick; Board Chair Malini Rajput; Mayor Steve Adler; Presenting Sponsor Texas Mutual Insurance Company; Uniting Level Sponsors ABC Home & Commercial Services, Deloitte, Independence Title, and Judy & Patrick Cantilo; Convening and Partner Sponsors; and all of our table hosts.  As CEO David C. Smith said, “Poverty is unjust, it’s cruel, and is the result of inequitable systems. Far too many of us are making hard decisions no family should have to make: ‘Do I pay my rent, or get my car fixed so I can get to work?’ Thanks to your support, together we are proving what is possible to ensure families can thrive long term!” Our collective generosity, love, and compassion will transform the inequitable systems that prevent our beloved […]

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Honor Dr. MLK Jr.’s life and legacy with us

Join us Monday, January 17 as we continue our annual tradition of gathering with our neighbors in service and learning to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King believed in the power of individuals to strengthen communities and achieve common goals, and all of us here at United Way do too. That’s what our mission – bringing people, ideas, and resources together to fight poverty in our community – is all about.  For our 2022 MLK Jr. Day of Service, we invite you to join us for one or several socially-distanced activities, all of which carry on Dr. King’s legacy of anti-racism, justice, and equity.   Learn: Take our self-guided walking tour. Walk through part of the area of Austin that was originally created to segregate Black Austinites in 1928, and reflect on how walking played a critical role in the Civil Rights Era.   Give: Donate books to the “I Am Brave” book drive. We’re partnering with Brave Communities to provide reading material to young people from  vaccine-hesitant populations, and bring awareness of the importance of diverse representation and storytelling in books.   Advocate: Advocacy is volunteerism, and we encourage you to use your voice to enact change in 2022. The Texas Primary Election is March 1. Voter education impacts voter turnout, so take some time today to make sure that you and your loved ones are registered to vote.   Volunteer: Get outside this MLK Jr. Day with the Austin Parks Foundation. Check out […]

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Free December holiday meals and events in Greater Austin

Every holiday season, United Way’s Navigation Center helps local families access free or low-cost meals and holiday events across the Greater Austin area. To make it easy for community members to find these seasonal events, we’ve compiled a calendar of meals and celebrations happening throughout the month of December.  From drive-thru light trails and gift giveaways for kids, to holiday festivities with Santa Claus, each event is open to the public. Check it out below! Know someone looking for assistance with food, transportation, housing, or other resources? Tell them to give us a call at 2-1-1 to get connected to help in our community. 2-1-1 is free and available 24/7.

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Family Resource Fair: A family-friendly event offering free books, rent assistance, and more

The pandemic put a long pause on in-person events, attributing to fewer families receiving the resources they need for their little ones. These in-person events allow parents to feel heard and supported, ultimately encouraging engagement in their child’s development.  With vaccine rates rising, and in-person learning back in place, United Way and Austin ISD partnered to bring back the Family Resource Fair for a second time. On Saturday, November 13, the Family Resource Fair took place at Uphaus Early Childhood Center in south Austin. Families in the surrounding area were invited to an outdoor event offering resources like ECE/ESL registration, rent assistance programs, parenting groups, career services, camps, and more.  A special thank you to our partners for coming out and supporting families and children.  Have questions about participating in the next Family Resource Fair? Contact Martina Santesteban at Martina.Santesteban@uwatx.org.

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Greater Austin Reading Coalition hosts book fair for kids in Austin

Last month, dozens of elementary school students in Austin lined up to receive books at the Greater Austin Reading Coalition’s second book fair, giving  local children access to diverse stories they can see themselves in. Thanks to a donation of over 1,000 books, 100 breakfast bags, and fitness equipment from KPMG, the coalition partnered with the Extend-A-Care YMCA program to host a book fair for the community, distributing these gifts to 32 students in Austin. Kids at the after-school event picked out four to five books featuring a range of characters and stories written in both English and Spanish, and participated in reading circles led by three KPMG volunteers. “To see the delight on the children’s faces as they select their books, and to hear the conversations that they have with their peers about what the books might be about warms my heart,” said Michelle Hutson-Crawford, Director of K-12 Education at United Way for Greater Austin. “In this heavily saturated digital and social world, it’s good to know that books are still winning in 2021! We hope this act of kindness and community engagement inspires others to step forward in partnership with the Greater Austin Reading Coalition.” Only three in 10 kids from low-income households are reading on grade level by 4th grade, a crucial point in children’s development that can impact their future academic and career outcomes. The Greater Austin Reading Coalition, convened by United Way, is working to change that by giving children access to culturally relevant books […]

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Fall Day of Caring: A Bookspring, Enterprise, and Onnit Collaboration

COVID-19 has impacted all of us, including young kids. As the reality of the pandemic set in, and schools closed abruptly to keep students and their families safe — many students were navigating the challenges of remote learning for several months. It’s no surprise that education professionals have witnessed a stall in reading skills among young students since the pandemic began in early 2020. That is why, this year, our annual Fall Day of Caring took form as a book extravaganza! On Thursday, September 30, the Greater Austin Reading Coalition , convened by United Way, partnered with BookSpring to distribute 5,000 books to local community organizations supporting families with children ages 5-12.  Special thanks to our partners at Enterprise and Onnit who volunteered their time and effort to distribute all of the books throughout the region! At United Way, our mission is to fight poverty, and we know that reading is a crucial skill to help future generations win. Currently, only 30% of children from families with low income are reading at grade level by 4th grade. Our goal is that all children in Greater Austin reach that level. By increasing access to quality out-of-school learning opportunities, culturally relevant books, and building a community culture of reading, we can move the needle on grade-level reading rates in our community and create greater opportunity for local children and families. We’re honored to get 5,000 more books into the hands of young readers. Thank you to our partners, Bookspring, Enterprise, and Onnit, for […]

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A Night United 2021: Truly a night to remember

Wow, what a night! With moving stories, inspiring levels of generosity, and a sweet dance party,  A Night United was truly a night to remember. More than 500 Austinites attended, and despite not being together in the same room, it felt like a community-wide, intimate dinner party. All of us on the United Way team left the event feeling immensely grateful for our essential heroes and inspired to continue the fight against poverty here in Greater Austin. We hope everyone who attended did too! Missed the event? You can catch up on all the fun below!  Together, we surpassed our goal and raised $250,000 to create greater opportunity for children and families in our community! You can join us in the movement to build a better Austin from the ground up by making a gift here.  Thank you to our amazing co-chairs Nahid & Ali Khataw and Natalee & Charles Thornburgh; Board Chair Malini Rajput; Cornerstone Sponsor Texas Mutual Insurance Company; Jeremiah Bentley; and our three Austin essential heroes Patsy Harnage, Arnoldo Longoria, and Kathryn Treviño. Your investment in our community is inspiring, and the definition of what it means to Live United. Special thanks to our 38 dinner party hosts for generously hosting a virtual table, inviting their friends and colleagues to join and give. As David C. Smith, United Way for Greater Austin CEO, said at the event: “When Nelson Mandela moved from his prison cell to the Presidency of South Africa, he shared these words of hope […]

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A Night United 2021: Building a Better Austin Together

  If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that a system with a weak foundation will break under pressure. No matter how beautiful it looks from the outside; a structure must be built with good bones from the very beginning in order to endure. It’s time to take a closer look at where we started before we can keep building. This is why the theme for our third annual A Night United event is building a better Austin together. United we can work to strengthen the solid foundation upon which better systems are built. This year, we are committed to reimagining a stronger Austin that serves everyone, built on racial justice and equity for all.  Click here to save the date for the third annual A Night United on Friday, February 26.     All proceeds will build opportunity for Austin children and families in our continued fight for equity.

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Honor MLK Jr.’s life and legacy with us

MLK Jr. Day of Service celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy through service. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Jr. Day is one of only two federal holidays designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.  Historical and systemic racism drive racial inequities in our country, and in our own community. We partner with you in building a Greater Austin that works for everyone. Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King is central to United Way for Greater Austin’s community volunteerism because it helps us reconnect with our mission to fight poverty in our community, and reminds us that together we can enact the change we want to see. While this year looks different from our previous community gatherings, we invite you to join us for a socially distanced celebration, and a virtual gathering full of reflection and motivation on how to carry on Dr. King’s legacy of anti-racism, justice, and equity. We have opportunities for individuals, families, and groups of friends. MLK Jr. Day of Service Monday, January 18, 2021 Socially distanced: Park at the United Way ATX office and follow our pre-mapped 3.3 mile round-trip self-guided tour of historical landmarks celebrating Black culture on the East Side. Virtual: Celebrate the life of Dr. King by viewing Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, engaging in discussion around his life and legacy, and taking a […]

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