Category: Uncategorized

Something Special Happens When We Live United

Something special happens when we Live United… when we come together and root for our team: The Greater Austin community. And that’s exactly what we did on the morning of August 28th at our Live United Breakfast. Our Board, team, donors, community partners, volunteers, advocates, and champions came together to celebrate our community impact with all the people who made it happen.  Here are just a few highlights from the Live United Breakfast that we’re especially excited about: 1. We published our 2018-2019 Community Impact Report. Last year, we impacted more than 47,000 children and families, invested more than $7 million directly into our community, and answered more than 390,000 calls for assistance. And so much more.   Read All About It 2. Keynote Speaker Andy Loughnane, President of Austin FC, reminded us what makes the Greater Austin community special and shared how he Lives United. Thank you to Kristin Marcum, President of Elizabeth Christian PR and United Way Board Member, for leading that conversation with Andy (pictured above). Five lucky attendees even won an Austin FC scarf. 3. We debuted our Live United video. Watch and be inspired.   4. Everyone there inspired us with their commitment to Live United. How will you Live United? Here are a few ways you can take that next step. Join a United Way donor network to get involved, stay connected and advocate for change. Give Now > Volunteer during United Way’s Fall Day of Caring. Sign Up > Encourage your business to […]

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Reward yourself (and others!) by volunteering with United Way ATX

Volunteering with United Way for Greater Austin is one of the most rewarding ways to do good in ATX. Throughout the year, we coordinate large volunteer days (Fall Day of Caring, Feast of Sharing, MLK Day of Service, Spring Day of Caring, and “Live United Days” are peppered throughout the year), but did you know that we also host smaller scale corporate volunteer days for our community partners? Even if you’re not from Austin! A few weeks ago, we hosted two different groups of volunteers at Open Door East. The volunteers were visiting Austin from all around the country. These groups wanted to take the opportunity to give back while they were here in Austin, and United Way ATX helped pair them with a community partner in need. One group of volunteers focused on the outside and play areas, and a few days later another group updated several of the classrooms, the kitchen, and the office. Both groups had a great time, and Open Door is pretty happy with the face-lift to their school! “I chose to volunteer at Open Door Preschool to – number 1, help the kids – but to understand what their needs are, and how we can give ourselves to make their transition and educational future a little easier. You know, we want them in a comfortable, encouraging environment that aids in their learning experience.” –Kim Stewart | Enerstar Electric Cooperative, Volunteer with United Way ATX Open Door Preschool received the following support on this project: […]

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Going Back to School? 2-1-1 is here to make it affordable and easy.

While back to school can be a very exciting time of year, it can also be a very trying time for many people in our community. We know that 1 in 5 children under 18 in Austin/Travis County experience food insecurity on a regular basis and that basic needs requests accounted for 54% of our total call volume at 2-1-1 in 2018. As families navigate back-to-school season, children not only need new clothes and medical check-ups, but families are additionally tasked with gathering a list of required supplies — making the cost of going back to school very unobtainable, very quickly. Thankfully, there are many programs and nonprofits geared towards helping families gather these supplies and offering these medical exams for free, and you can call 2-1-1- today for all the details. There are dozens of back-to-school events happening in our community, and there are a variety of benefits available to all families. Services that may be available at these FREE events include: -Free clothes for kids -Free school supplies -Free immunizations -Immunization records assistance -Sports physicals -Eye exams -Hearing screenings -Safety supplies (booster seats, etc.) -Food, fun, games and more! Events are happening now, and will be continue through the middle of August. For a list of events in your area, and what to expect and prepare for at each event call 2-1-1 today. When calling 2-1-1, be sure to ask about the upcoming 2019 Back to School event at Manos de Cristo that will support 2000 children over […]

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Meet the United Way Team: Wonde Will Wow You

At United Way ATX we value and celebrate all voices. From Board members to donors to team members to partner organizations to the children and families we work with, we strive for inclusivity where everyone has a place at the table and their voices can be heard. Today, we are excited to introduce you to one of our newest team members Wondemneh Pawlose. We would love to tell you a little bit about Wonde, but we think you’ll like it even better hearing from him. (You’ll love him as much as we do.) I come from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. I have seen the many faces of poverty growing up. People struggling to eat three meals every day, kids quitting school in order to financially contribute to their families, and sick people with the inability to seek medical treatment (where the clinic card itself costs more than their weekly budget) are realities lived by the few million residents of Addis Ababa. If you had told me in 2011 that poverty is rooted deep in various American cities and their inhabitants, I would have told you that you had lost your mind.  2011 was the year I have migrated to America, and I had no idea about the wealth disparity that exists within many American cities like Austin, TX. In my defense, I was taught to consider America as a land of milk and honey… a place where there is no space for poverty (if one chooses to […]

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The Secret to Success for ATX Business Leaders

What is the secret to success for an Austin business? Gay Gaddis, CEO of T3 and Ali Khataw, CEO of Encotech Engineering Consultants are sharing what helped their companies on the path to success, and leading a movement sparking change for businesses across the city. “We often get the question: ‘What’s the one thing about your business that keeps you up at night?’ For us, it’s how to keep talented team members at the company as they start their families. For over two decades we’ve been working to cultivate a family-friendly culture at T3 (and Encotech Engineering Consultants), while encouraging other business leaders to do the same.” -Gay Gaddis, founder and CEO of T3 The City is joining this family-friendly movement, too. Last month, Mayor Steve Adler joined us in launching the Early Matters Greater Austin (EMGA) Family-Friendly Workplace Initiative. The goal is to encourage local business leaders to survey their family-friendly workplace practices and commit to strengthening policies and practices that support families. Some guidance on what makes a family-friendly workplace has been established under the leadership of United Way for Greater Austin and E3 Alliance, who created a Family-Friendly Toolkit that outlines resources and recommendations both for employers and their employees. The suggestions in the toolkit can be applied to companies of all sizes, and offer a range of benefits that are easy to institute. “Life is just one virtuous circle — which includes work, family, and a person’s individual interests and pursuits. We believe at T3 that […]

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AVANCE-Austin Makes Austin Greater

Being a mom to three kids can be overwhelming at times, especially when one of your children needs some extra help and special attention. Such was the case for Catalina Sanchez. Catalina found herself in a bind when her youngest son Carlos began experiencing speech delays requiring therapy. Because he was having trouble communicating, Carlos began misbehaving. Over time, Catalina and Carlos’ frustrations mounted. Feeling stretched to her limit, Catalina turned to AVANCE-Austin for help. AVANCE was founded in 1973, and has been an Austin institution since 1998. The direct translation of AVANCE means to “advance” or “progress,” and that’s what the AVANCE-Austin team embodies. They meet families with low-income where they are. Families like Catalina’s. After meeting with Catalina and Carlos, the AVANCE-Austin team were able to identify that Catalina suffered from postpartum depression. She began group counseling while Carlos began speech therapy. After a few months of this support, Catalina is more equipped than ever to nurture Carlos’ needs, while also giving attention to her other two kids. Catalina’s interactions have become more intentional, and through her home visits from AVANCE-Austin she has shown incredible progress in working with her kids, including her new habit of reading to all of her children every evening for bonding and cognitive skill building. United Way for Greater Austin is proud to have played a supporting role in Catalina’s success. Funding from United Way ATX has helped to expand AVANCE-Austin’s capacity and quality for home visiting. What’s special about our partnership with […]

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Electronic Arts Gives Back Big

If you walked past our office on East MLK on May 23rd and heard “EA!” cheers, no need to be alarmed. That was just 300 amazing Electronic Arts (EA) employees working hard to make our campus and neighborhood beautiful. On May 23, more than 300 volunteers from Electronic Arts spread out across the Austin community at five volunteer spots completing more than 10 projects that had a BIG impact. As a part of their 2019 #EAGivesBack Day, EA employees partnered with United Way ATX to fight poverty through meaningful volunteer action. From building early childhood classroom kits to beautifying our Eastside neighborhood, EA employees brought energy and enthusiasm to every part of the volunteer day. “At EA, we give back because we have the wonderful opportunity to operate in 47 offices are 25 countries in the world. We can all get caught up in our day-to-day jobs of making games, but there is an entire population of people who surround us in these vibrant communities in which we operate for us to give back to,” Mala Singh, Chief People Officer at Electronic Arts, said. “Our gamers and their families give so much to us and it is important to give back to them in the ways that we can.” Mic drop. As an organization, EA is committed to giving back to their local communities all over the world and helping them thrive. And it’s mega inspiring. “We are so grateful for what [they have done]. Thank you so much,” David […]

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Get access to FREE food for kids this summer

“When school lets out for summer, millions of children lose access to school breakfast and lunch and are at risk of going hungry. Our summer meal programs work to make sure that doesn’t happen.” -USDA Food & Nutrition Service Did you know that 1 in 4 Austin, TX households are food insecure? Access to basic needs is a fundamental right, and United Way for Greater Austin is proud of the work our 2-1-1 Navigation team plays in ensuring that families have access to resources like nutritious, affordable food all year round. During the school year many families rely on the free breakfast and lunch program that is offered for qualifying families through the public school system. That benefit is not available when the school year ends, so funders and providers are coming together to ensure there is access to food available during these summer months. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is offered throughout the state of Texas. In the Greater Austin area our 2-1-1 Navigation team works hard to make sure families have accurate, up-to-date information on which locations in their area are offering food, and when. The SFSP program partners offer FREE food throughout the state to: · All children, 18 and under, no questions asked. · To individuals 19 years and older who have a mental or physical disability, and participate during the school year in a public or private non-profit school program. There are no other qualifications to receive the free meals. The program runs from […]

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Success By 6 Coalition Launches 2019-2023 “Success By 6” Strategic Plan

Every day, an average of 38 babies are born in the Austin area. The Success By 6 (SX6) Coalition is working to ensure that each of these 38 brand-new Texans has an equal opportunity to thrive. SX6 is a coalition of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, philanthropists, business leaders, and early childhood experts – working together on a community plan that reflects our collective wisdom and amplifies our collective voice.   “Success By 6 has child development at the heart of its mission,” Dr. Jennifer Duc, Assistant Clinical Professor, UT-Austin Pediatric Residency Program and Outpatient Pediatrician, CommUnityCare said. “Success By 6 knows that nurtured children and supported families create the foundation for strong, healthy, and successful communities.”     On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, the SX6 Coalition launched the next iteration of our community’s strategic plan and lay out their strategies and goals for the next 2,000 days. From 7:15 – 9 a.m. civic leaders, including Mayor Steve Adler, Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Council Member Alison Alter, early childhood education experts, policymakers and more gathered to celebrate the hard work and collaboration that went into creating the plan. Attendees heard a keynote from The University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken over breakfast at the University of Texas Club.   Why a 2,000-day journey? Because research has proven that the first five years of a child’s life strongly influence the rest. Ninety percent of brain development happens within the 2,000 days from birth to Kindergarten, […]

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David C. Smith Named Best CEO of 2018

Thursday, October 4 the Austin Business Journal announced David C. Smith as the Best CEO of 2018 in the nonprofit category as part of their 2018 Best CEO Awards. Austin Business Journal’s Best CEOs of 2018 are four leaders across sectors from technology to nonprofit categories. Winners were selected by a team of judges including previous Best CEOs. David had the opportunity to represent UWATX and encourage partnership & collaboration in a room filled with various CEOs, leaders, and guests from the business community. David Smith is now in his third year leading United Way for Greater Austin, although he has been working in the nonprofit space for more than 25 years leading organizations such as The Care Communities, the Hill Country Ride for AIDS and the Mamma Jamma Ride for Breast Cancer. Under Smith’s leadership, United Way has created and implemented the School Readiness Action Plan, a five-year strategic plan to turn the United Way into a convener that aligns efforts across the community behind big goals. Smith has also served on numerous boards including Austin Theater Alliance, Barton Springs Conservancy, E3 Alliance, Community Action Network and Conspirare. Prior to joining the United Way, Smith ran his own consulting firm, which is how he was named interim the executive director of The Thinkery children’s museum. He provides pro-bono board strategy sessions for organizations that need help creating or developing their own boards. For more information subscribe to the Austin Business Journal.

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