Newsroom

Early Matters Greater Austin advocacy win: Paid parental leave in Travis County

On May 3, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to offer Travis County employees eight weeks of paid parental leave! The resolution was sponsored by Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Precinct 1 Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion, and advocated for by the Early Matters Greater Austin Steering Committee.  Powered by United Way for Greater Austin and E3 Alliance, Early Matters Greater Austin (EMGA) is an alliance of current and retired business professionals focused on the critical relationship between access to high-quality early education and our State’s long-term economic success. A significant aspect of the group’s work — known as Best Place for Working Parents® — is advocating for family-friendly workplace practices that are research proven to benefit families and have a positive impact on a businesses’ profitability. The EMGA Steering Committee’s advocacy for Travis County expanding family-friendly policies for their 5,000+ employees, is an example of that work.  After the unanimous vote to implement paid parental leave, EMGA Steering Committee member Tom Hedrick spoke about the positive impact family-friendly policies have on families, businesses, and our larger economy.  Travis County is proving family-friendly is business-friendly  While family-friendly policies have a direct impact on working parents, local and national research proves that there is also a serious business case to being family-friendly: 83% of millennials would leave one job for another with stronger family-friendly supports Replacing an employee costs an employer six to nine months of that employee’s salary Over 60% of working parents said child care issues have […]

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10 age-appropriate books for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (and every month!)

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month, the Greater Austin Reading Coalition and Success By Six Coalition are excited to share 10 age-appropriate, children’s books that reflect the rich diversity of AAPI culture. These coalitions — convened by United Way for Greater Austin — work hard to make sure that all local children and families have access to books, especially books that illustrate the diversity of our community and that children can see themselves, their families, and their culture depicted in.  Many of the books listed below are available to check out at your local library or in audio form on YouTube!  Five books for babies to toddlers (ages 0-4) “Hot Pot Night!” by Vincent Chen  “I am Golden” by Eva Chen, Illustrated by Sophie Diao “Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao” by Kat Zhang, Illustrated by Charlene Chua  “My First Chinese New Year” by Karen Katz “Moana” by Disney Five books for young readers (ages 5-9)  “The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family” by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, Illustrated by Hatem Aly  “The Most Beautiful Thing” by Kao Kalia Yang, Illustrated by Khoa Le “Asian-Americans Who Inspire Us” by Analiza Quiroz Wolf with Michael Franco “Eyes that Kiss in the Corners” by Joanna Ho, Illustrated by Dung Ho “Ohana Means Family” by Ilima Loomis, Illustrated by Kenard Pak Ensuring that all kids are happy, healthy, and ready to succeed in school and beyond is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty in […]

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Join us for Blue Sunday

Blog by Bridget Tobin, Mission Advancement Intern, United Way for Greater Austin The Success By 6 Coalition is a community-wide collaboration of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, and experts – with a shared goal to ensure every child born in the Austin area receives the support and care they deserve during their essential first 2,000 days. United Way for Greater Austin is the convener of this work in Austin/Travis County. The Success By 6 Coalition is made up of community stakeholders collectively creating a future in which all children in our community enter Kindergarten healthy, happy, and ready to succeed in school and life. To prepare all our youngest Austinites for school readiness, we partner with nonprofits in the community to deliver impactful services through four focus areas: Healthy beginnings Supported families High-quality care & education Safe & stimulating communities Together with our partners, we are building a stronger foundation for Austin so all families can thrive. This year we are expanding our support of whole families by participating in Blue Sunday and raising awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Blue Sunday is a day in which faith communities join together in prayer for children experiencing abuse and neglect. Each year this day of prayer falls on the last Sunday in April, which is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year, Blue Sunday is April 24. Child abuse and neglect statistics in Travis County and Texas are heartbreaking: In 2021 in Travis County, There […]

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10 age-appropriate books for Black History Month (and every month!)

Did you know that having at least 20 age-appropriate books in the home can improve a child’s educational success? The Greater Austin Reading Coalition and Success By Six Coalition – convened by United Way for Greater Austin – work to make sure that all local children and families have access to books, especially books that illustrate the diversity of our community and that children can see themselves, their families, and their culture depicted in.  In honor of Black History Month, here are 10 age-appropriate books that reflect the Black experience, share stories about historical figures, and promote inclusivity. Many of these titles are available to check out at your local library or in audio form on YouTube. Looking for book recommendations for adults? Check out this list!  Five board books for babies to toddlers (ages 0-4) Baby Young, Gifted, and Black” by Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins “Dream Big, Little One” by Vashati Harrison “I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything!” by Alissa Holder and Zulekha Holder-Young; Illustrated by Nneka Myers “Please, Baby, Please” by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee; Illustrated by Kadir Nelson “B is for Baby” by Atinuke; Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank Five books for young readers (ages 5-9)  “The ABCs of Black History” by Rio Cortez; Illustrated by Lauren Semmer  “Little Leaders: Bold Black Women in History” by Vashti Harrison “Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry; Illustrated by Vashti Harrison “Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America” by Deborah Diesen; Illustrated […]

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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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Sponsor an early childhood education center!

This holiday season we’re inviting you to be a champion of cheer to spread a little extra joy! We’re bringing together our friends and neighbors to spread good tidings through special holiday care packages for our early childhood education centers – who have been resilient through the pandemic, caring for and teaching our youngest Austinites.  Will you  be a champion of cheer for our community by building care packages with us this holiday season?   Child development centers like Bright Beginnings and directors like Patsy make learning exciting for children and they are the reason we’re celebrating this year. The human spirit is resilient, and our child development centers continue to prepare our youngest Austinites for success!  Each holiday care package will include: 1 Yeti coffee mug Coffee shop gift card   3-5 children’s books Check out our volunteer website for all the details, including shopping lists, delivery details, and more! Want more information before signing up? See our FAQ. Have additional questions about this opportunity? Please email our volunteer team at Volunteer@uwatx.org. Happy holidays from the United Way team. We look forward to making the season brighter with you!  

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Announcing $21,000 to 4 Nonprofits: Supporting Children in Their First 2,000 Days of Life

This summer, United Way for Greater Austin awarded a total of $112,000 in one-time grant funding to 23 qualified community organizations delivering effective programs and services that advance the goals of the community coalitions we convene as part of our collective impact work to fight poverty.  Here at United Way for Greater Austin we’re working hard alongside our community partners to ensure that all children in Austin/Travis County enter Kindergarten happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in school and beyond. That’s why we lead the Austin/Travis-County Success By 6 Coalition (SX6), a community-wide collaboration of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, and experts – with a shared goal to ensure every child born in the Austin area receives the support and care they deserve during their essential first 2,000 days. To help advance this goal, United Way put out a call for proposals to fund programs and services that are advancing SX6’s goals with a focus on efforts that build capacity to deliver prenatal and postpartum health services that are culturally responsive and support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) women and infants, and elevate family voice as part of the planning and decision-making processes of community-based organizations serving children and families birth to age five.  We’re thrilled to announce that the following organizations were awarded mini-grants, up to $7,500, to support their programs and services that are supporting our littlest Austinites!  Culturally responsive prenatal and postpartum support  Catholic Charities of Texas: support the St. Gabriel’s […]

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$13.5 Million (Yes, Million) invested in Greater Austin Children and Families: Big Wins from the American Rescue Plan

Here at United Way for Greater Austin, we’re on a mission to bring people, ideas, and resources together to fight poverty in our community. United with community leaders and partners, we’re leading the charge to create sustainable and lasting solutions to break the cycle of poverty.  Advocacy is critical, not just to further the impact of United Way’s work, but to create lasting systemic change. It takes all of us — using our collective voice — to advocate for a Greater Austin that works for everyone. This is why we are so excited to share and celebrate with you a few major funding wins from the American Rescue Plan.  What is the American Rescue Plan?  The American Rescue Plan (ARPA) is a $1.5 trillion federal economic package designed to address the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is being allocated to cities, counties, and states to directly support their recovery efforts. The City of Austin received $195.8. million in funding, and Travis County received $247.1 million.  A collective investment of $13.5 million, from the City of Austin ($11MM) and Travis County ($2.5MM), will be made to specifically strengthen our local education, health, and workforce systems. These funding decisions were driven by testimony and recommendations put forth by United Way and you, our supporters and coalition partners. Thank you! This significant one-time investment of federal dollars will not only drive Greater Austin’s post COVID-19 economic recovery, but help address some of the root causes of poverty in our community. […]

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Read United: 10 age-appropriate books that reflect the LGBTQIA+ community

Did you know that having at least 20 age-appropriate books in the home can improve a child’s educational success? The Greater Austin Reading Coalition and Success By Six Coalition – convened by United Way for Greater Austin – want to make sure that all local children and families have access to books that illustrate a diversity of backgrounds and cultures. This June marks the 51st celebration of Pride Month — a month where we uplift, celebrate, and support the LGBTQIA+ community. United Way is excited to celebrate this month with all of our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors.  In honor of Pride Month, here are 10 age-appropriate books that reflect the LGBTQIA+ community to help raise awareness about different types of families, what it means to be LGBTQIA+, and promote inclusivity. Many of these titles are available to check out at your local library or in audio form on YouTube. Top 5 board books for babies to toddlers: (ages 0-4) 1.”Love Makes a Family” by Sophie Beer 2. “My Two Moms and Me” by Michael Joosten, illustrated by Izak Zenou 3. “Peanut Goes for the Gold”  Jonathan Van Ness, illustrated by Gillian Reid 4. “Baby’s First Words” by Christiane Engel 5. “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole   Top 5 books for young readers: (K- 4th) 1. “Julian is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love 2. “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas 3. “Pride: The Story of Harvey […]

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United Way Partners are Proving Family-Friendly is Business-Friendly with Early Matters Greater Austin

Powered by United Way for Greater Austin and E3 Alliance, Early Matters Greater Austin (EMGA) is an alliance of Austin business leaders focused on the critical relationship between access to high-quality early education and our State’s long-term economic success. EMGA’s work is part of the collective impact initiative led by United Way, the Austin/Travis County Success By 6 Coalition. Founded in 2018, Early Matters Greater Austin mobilizes and unites the business community around the goal that children in Greater Austin enter Kindergarten prepared for school success. EMGA also encourages Austin-area employers to adopt family-friendly policies because supportive workplace policies increase organization productivity and support the physical and emotional health of employees and their families. This pillar of the coalition’s work — known as Best Place for Working Parents™ — just concluded its 2021 open enrollment period in which 98 local businesses have been recognized as a 2021 Best Place for Working Parents™. Businesses qualified for the designation by taking a first-of-its-kind self-assessment highlighting the 10 family-friendly policies that have research-proven benefits to businesses’ bottom line, and scoring high enough to qualify. Each question in the self-assessment ties to one of the below policies, which positively impact employee attraction, retention, satisfaction, and productivity. You can find a full list of the 98 2021 Best Place for Working Parents™  businesses here. We are thrilled to see so many of our corporate partners on this list. Not only do they Live United, but are proving that family-friendly policies are business-friendly! Thank you for […]

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