Category: Uncategorized

$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.  We believe active participation in policy is critical, not just to further the impact of our work, but to create lasting systemic change. 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 our coalition partners. 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. We are so thankful to the City and County officials for their investment in systemic change that will create more […]

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Meet Brandon Comisarenco: Giving Back to the City He Loves

Emerging Leaders is a group of tomorrow’s leaders supporting United Way for Greater Austin. Members have a passion for philanthropy, advocacy, volunteerism, and community. Through meaningful volunteer opportunities and networking events, members make connections with other local leaders who all believe that everyone deserves to enjoy the promise of Austin. Brandon Comisarenco is committed to ensuring that Greater Austin is a community that works for everyone. And as a member of the Emerging Leaders Executive Committee and a supporter of United Way for Greater Austin, he is helping to make that possible!  Learn more about why he joined United Way’s fight against poverty.  What is your favorite thing about living in Austin?  My favorite thing about living in Austin is how big of a city it’s gotten, but has still kept a small town feel. The people who live here truly make this city amazing. There’s a really strong sense of community in Austin. Everybody is so passionate about this city and are always looking for ways to improve it…It’s great to see a large portion of the population care so deeply about each other and doing everything they can to make sure this city is moving forward and progressing.  Why does United Way for Greater Austin’s mission to fight poverty resonate with you personally?  I’ve always had a passion and desire to help those around me. I think that starts with doing everything we can as a community to ensure equity and equality for as many people as possible. […]

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Silicon Labs: Magnifying community good

Austin-based Silicon Labs has always had a deep commitment to supporting our local community. In 2019, Silicon Labs team members volunteered more than 3,500 hours. And every year, Silicon Labs gives back 1% of their profits to charitable organizations. When COVID-19 hit Central Texas, Silicon Labs stepped up in a big way with a significant donation to All Together ATX, the COVID-19 relief fund we created with our friends at Austin Community Foundation to support Central Texans through the pandemic. Hear from Silicon Labs CMO Megan Lueders, as she talks about why this donation means so much to SIlicon Labs and how together Silicon Labs and United Way ATX are “magnifying and multiplying community good.” And our partnership didn’t stop there. That donation to All Together ATX is the first stepping stone toward more collaboration between Silicon Labs and United Way ATX. Just last week, United Way ATX hosted a virtual volunteering event for Silicon Labs team members in support of All Together ATX grantee Central Texas Food Bank. At the event, Silicon Labs team members: Learned about the need in our community due to COVID-19. For more than 25 years, United Way ATX has run the 2-1-1 “call for help” line where people can get support related to food, housing, transportation, health, and more. Over the past few months, our 2-1-1 call specialists have been answering 4x our typical call volume. One of the biggest needs in our community: Food. Learned about how All Together ATX grantee Central Texas […]

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Meet our new Board members

Here at United Way ATX, we’re convinced that we have the best Board in town. Each and every Board member brings their passion, expertise, and heart to our fight against poverty — at every Board meeting and every day in between. We’re thrilled to welcome five new members to our Board of Directors. They are all incredible humans and leaders in our community, and make our Board even stronger. Cathy Harm, Regional Vice President Central Texas at H-E-B _______________________________________________________________________ Jehmu Greene, Barbara’s Legacy | First generation American | Native Austinite _______________________________________________________________________ Allison Dwyer, Women United Executive Committee member | Success By 6 volunteer “I am excited to join the Board because I believe in the work United Way ATX does in our city and state to advocate for, assist, and educate our most vulnerable residents, their children, AND the community at large. My personal passion is ignited around their work to ensure that every child has a fair chance from the start in the classroom, rather than falling behind before Kindergarten due to his or her zip code.” _______________________________________________________________________ Yvette Ruiz, Vice President of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase _______________________________________________________________________ Pat Dorsey, Publisher at the Austin American-Statesman _______________________________________________________________________ We’re also thrilled to welcome back three returning Board members: Kathleen Farlow, Managing Partner at Deloitte; Bobby Jenkins, Owner at ABC Home & Commercial Services; and Heather Ladage, Publisher at Austin Business Journal. With these members, our Board becomes more diverse in race, gender, lived experience, and expertise. We’re proud of this […]

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All Together ATX: Announcing $2.2 Million to 70 Local Nonprofits

We are excited to award $2.2 Million to 70 Austin-area nonprofits working to support communities experiencing economic and health-related hardships caused by COVID-19 in Central Texas. This funding comes from All Together ATX, the COVID-19 relief fund we created in partnership with our friends at Austin Community Foundation. The nonprofits receiving grants are working to address domestic violence and child abuse, digital equity, mental health, aging populations, and utility assistance. The grants range in size from $70,000 to $5,000 and will be distributed electronically by August 11. Meet the grantees here. Data consistently shows that Black and Hispanic residents in Central Texas are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 compared to their white neighbors. According to Austin Public Health, Hispanics make up 52% of confirmed cases in Travis County. Similarly, the Black community comprises 10% of hospitalizations and 9% of deaths in Travis County but is less than 8% of the population.  To ensure the communities most impacted by COVID-19 are supported and funded, equity was a guiding principle in the All Together ATX grantmaking process. The intent of this round of funding was to enhance and increase existing services to individuals of historically under-resourced communities in the five-county Central Texas region (Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson).  All Together ATX distributed an initial round of funding in April 2020. During that phase, we awarded grants totaling $1.8 Million to 97 nonprofits. Funding from All Together ATX has helped dozens of Central Texas nonprofits meet the high demand for services and […]

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Embodying grace: A Tribute to Jacquie Porter

Written by// Sue Carpenter, Chief Programs Officer Over the weekend, I learned about the passing of Jacquie Porter, Austin’s beloved early learning leader. This week has been a profoundly sad one, but I can’t help but reflect on the many wonderful experiences that I – and everyone in the Austin early education community – shared with this extraordinary colleague and friend. I first met Jacquie over a decade ago, when she was the Principal of AISD’s Lucy Read PreK Center. Even though her focus was on building and growing an exemplary early learning model for the district, she immediately stepped into a leadership role for the broader community coalition focused on school readiness. Having Jacquie at the table meant everything. If I could sum her up in one word (impossible!) – it would be “grace.” She was incredibly kind, thoughtful, and unstinting in the amount of time and counsel she was prepared to give to make our community better for young children and families. Very few people are both visionary and practical, but Jacquie dreamed of what could be and figured out the steps needed to make the vision a reality. One of my first conversations with her was about how the district could partner with community-based child care centers to deliver high-quality pre-K. She listened, asked questions, and then created plans to put this into action. Several pilot projects followed until the model was truly functioning, but she persisted across years despite all the challenges. Today, because of her […]

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Texas Gas Service: Where philanthropy is a core component of culture

Carmen Luevanos, Community Relations Manager at Texas Gas Service, shares about how and why she is involved with United Way for Greater Austin with Corporate Account Manager, Chauncey LeGrand. Texas Gas Service has been partnering with United Way to end poverty in Austin for more than a decade. Last year alone nearly 300 employees raised more than $65,000. Texas Gas is a unique and impactful campaign because it is an organization that matches $1 for $1 when its employees donate to the United Way campaign each year – and we couldn’t be more grateful! Historically, the Texas Gas campaign lasts the entire month of October and they have various activities to raise money throughout the year with paired with fun social activities that include a chili cook-off, ice cream social, breakfast tacos, and more! Thank you Texas Gas Service, we couldn’t fight poverty without you! If you or your organization is interested in getting involved or starting a United Way giving campaign learn more here.

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United Way ATX + Race and Poverty

Hi friends, All of us at United Way for Greater Austin are grieving the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the thousands of other black Americans impacted by recent acts of racism and violence. This cancer in our society diminishes all of us. Poverty and racism are so interconnected, we can’t address one without the other. What we can do is speak up, double down on our mission to fight poverty, and support each other every step of the way. These issues are too important for us to do anything else. Every time this happens, we all keep thinking this will be the time that people wake up and change finally comes. Together, we can be that change! Everyone deserves to live in a society where they feel safe, protected, and respected. Each and every one of us plays a role in creating that more just and equitable future. On Friday, I was in a meeting with one of the most brilliant people I know, Akasha. He is a black man, and he said, “We are shaping the future.” It was a hopeful word we all desperately need right now. May it be so. Our work fighting poverty has been about equity all along. Now we are more committed than ever, and ask that you join your hand with ours and be our partner in building a community that works for everyone. We believe that our only hope to lift up all of us is to address the systems that perpetuate inequity. Thanks to your […]

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Meet Laura, a proud advocate dedicated to ending poverty in Austin

Women United educates, engages, and empowers women in Greater Austin. Each month 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. 1.    What do you love about Austin? I love our natural beauty. I love to see our community coming together to stand up against injustices and call out wrongdoing. I love seeing our community come together in peaceful protests and in support of those in need. I love feeling confident walking into any restaurant in this town and knowing you’re not going to be underdressed or overdressed, you’re going to fit in just as you are.     2.    How did you become involved with United Way for Greater Austin/Women United? When I first joined Mayor Adler’s administration, I attended the committee meetings the United Way convened focusing on the Pay For Success model for interventions supporting early childhood development and ending homelessness. I was impressed with the way they were able to gather many people and organizations focused on the same goal and help lead the group to get things done. I became more involved when a good friend, Kerry Tate, introduced me to David Smith, their new CEO. David has a passion and enthusiasm about him that draws you to help him achieve big audacious goals for our community.   3.    As a Women United leader, […]

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We all have a part to play: Meet Emerging Leader Emily Gonzales

As an Emerging Leaders member, you’ll have opportunities to network and collaborate with a diverse group of influential business leaders all while making an impact. We are proud to celebrate young professionals as philanthropic leaders and are honored to have so many amazing individuals in our community — like Emily Gonzalez, an Emerging Leader, and amazing community advocate! What do you love most about Austin? The diverse and spirited people! Austin is overall a great environment for young professionals to thrive. The city offers a vibrant space to be creative and do good. As an Emerging Leaders Executive Committee member, what do you hope the group will accomplish in the next year? Our shared goal is to grow our membership and a positive influence throughout Austin. I believe mentorship opportunities with United Way partners such as Family Pathways are a great way to achieve a strong community impact. What has been your favorite volunteer project with United Way?  I’ve enjoyed all of our projects! I’d say my favorite has been the MLK Day of Service because it allowed me to meet other volunteers while getting some fresh air cleaning up East MLK Jr Blvd.

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