Category: Uncategorized

3 Ways To Live United During COVID-19

Now is the time to Live United. So many of us are facing economic, social, and health hardships caused by COVID-19, and it’s more important than ever for us to face those challenges together. And there are many ways you can Live United by helping individuals and families in our community who are struggling due to COVID-19 school closures, reduced work hours and more. Check out three ways you can give back below.    1. Give to the All Together ATX Fund.     We are partnering with Austin Community Foundation to bring relief to our community through the All Together ATX Fund. The fund will accept donations large and small from individuals, foundations, and companies and will provide critical services, like basic needs, health services, and childcare. Grant recipients will include 501(c)(3) organizations, units of government, or faith communities in Central Texas. All Together ATX will support nonprofits’ ability to address the impacts of COVID-19 and maintain delivery of services and bring much-needed relief to our community. Every dollar counts. Donate today.    2. Advocate for nonprofits and our community.    In these uncertain times, your voice is more important than ever. From essential workers to nonprofits, our community is being stretched beyond our wildest imagination and needs relief. Congress must support charitable organizations so we can continue to support our communities. Follow us on social media (@UnitedWayATX) and we will share timely opportunities with guidance from awesome advocates like United Ways of Texas, Texans Care for Children and more.  […]

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5 ways to practice self-care during quarantine 

In these uncertain times, it can be difficult and daunting to weed through the congested news cycle – but I have good news! There are endless ways we can stay connected and calm while we shelter in place. Check out these 5 ways to practice self-care while Austin is under a shelter in place order. I hope they are a small reminder that we are all in this together, even if we’re six feet apart.  1 – Give meditation a try Meditation is proven to reduce stress and anxiety and promote emotional health. It benefits our mind to be in tune with what our body is feeling, and meditation is designed to do just that. I like to close my eyes and listen to a guided meditation as a way to start my day – even just five minutes of mediation can make a difference for your day.  Pro tip: Check out these free resources from the Calm and Headspace apps.   2 – Take a social media break Sometimes boundaries look like taking a step back. Try creating guidelines for yourself about when and how much media you consume. I have been limiting my media intake by structuring my scrolling time to only a few times a day. By being more conscious about your media intake, you can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.  Pro tip: You don’t have to click on every link you receive about the Coronavirus in your group chat.  3 – Try a virtual hangout with […]

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Let’s do this, All Together ATX

Hi Friends, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and finding ways to stay connected in this unprecedented time. So many of us are facing economic, social, and health hardships caused by COVID-19, and it’s more important than ever for us to face those challenges together. The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting life as we know it. From school closures to layoffs, now more than ever people are in need of support. Local nonprofits are on the front lines, supporting local workers and those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve been watching the news and wondering, “What can I do to help?” I’m heartened by how many have reached out to ask the same question. That’s why, in an effort to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way for Greater Austin is partnering with Austin Community Foundation to create All Together ATX. Join us in lifting all Central Texans and the organizations that support them. Your donation will support people in the Greater Austin area with immediate needs including food insecurity, basic needs, medical needs, employment, and child care. 100% will stay local, and 100% will go to help those who need it most. This community-led philanthropic fund will provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations working with communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak. We will one day be on the other side of this. Right now, we hold the power to define who we’ll be on that day: More fractured and […]

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A Year at United Way for Greater Austin

The past 12 months have been full of fun events here at United Way ATX. As we are all social distancing through COVID-19, we can’t help but reflect on some of our favorite moments in the last year when we were together in person. And we can’t wait to be back together in person again soon! In the meantime, let’s relive some of those fun events.    March 2020 – Live United Volunteer Day This past Live United Volunteer Day, more than 25 volunteers helped support our community! Volunteers assembled 350 breastfeeding support kits, wrote 100 English and 30 Spanish cards of encouragement, and spread joy to 100s of new families. Learn more about upcoming volunteer opportunities here. February 2020 – Butter Half Mural Pop-Up with Texas Mutual and Kendra Scott This Valentine’s Day, we were feeling the love from two of our favorite partners, Texas Mutual Insurance Company and Kendra Scott. During a week-long celebration of Texas Mutual’s employee giving campaign, we brought our Butter Half mural to some of our “Butter Half”s. Texas Mutual employees purchased yummy baked goods from their Valentine’s Day bake sale and all the proceeds went to United Way to support our community. And Texas Mutual teamed up with Kendra Scott to have a pop-up show where employees could buy jewelry (just in time for Valentine’s Day) and 20% of the proceeds came back to United Way.  Learn more about becoming a corporate partner here. January 2020 – MLK Day of Service This MLK […]

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An update on how we’re responding to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting life as we know it. Join Austin Community Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin to provide critical services, like basic needs, health services, and childcare. Give now.  Dear Friends, I hope you and your family have everything you need right now, and that you’re healthy and well. The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything our community or world has experienced. It’s disrupting schools and employment and leaving more people in need of support than ever before. It’s also revealing how interconnected we are, and how much we need each other. For nearly 100 years, United Way for Greater Austin has been dedicated to those in our community who are suffering and creating opportunity for all people, children, and families. The work we’ve been doing all along has prepared us for this moment. Here are some of the things we’ve done just over the past week – things that seemed impossible, but that you made possible: Our 2-1-1 team is responding to increased calls for questions and help around COVID-19, and help in general. The Governor has said that 2-1-1 is THE place to go for information on COVID-19. People need to know where to go for food, information on testing, health services, and so many other needs. 2-1-1 is working around the clock to make sure callers in need are connected to accurate and up-to-date information. We’re working furiously to support child care providers. This ranges from coordinating with child care providers to assess their needs to mobilizing the business community in advocacy efforts to reallocating targeted grant funding to early childhood education partners facing […]

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United Way for Greater Austin Responds to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting life as we know it. Join Austin Community Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin to provide critical services, like basic needs, health services, and childcare. Give now.  Friends, Here at United Way for Greater Austin, health and well-being are a top priority. With day-by-day and sometimes hour-by-hour updates related to COVID-19, let’s take a few minutes to build community – albeit virtually – together. Whether you’re working from home like our United Way team or seeing events canceled from your calendar, everything can feel a little uncertain. Now is an opportunity for us to Live United, and there are ways for us to Live United without coming together in person.  Connection with friends, family, and community builds resilience. We need each other and now is an opportunity to create new ways to connect even while we isolate ourselves physically from large gatherings. I encourage you to read something every day that reminds you of some of the infinite ways we are connected and stay in touch with your family, friends, and colleagues to share your experience as we all navigate this time together. Here are a few reminders we shared with our United Way team based on recommendations from public health officials: Take steps to protect yourself. Here are some helpful tips.  Stay informed. The CDC is updating their site with the latest information. Care for your mental health. In addition to taking care of our physical health, it’s important to take care of […]

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A new way to navigate the social service system

It’s a very exciting day at United Way for Greater Austin! Today we are launching a new initiative that seeks to change the way we navigate the social service sector and you’re in luck – you get to learn about this exciting new system straight from the source. Introducing Gyllian Garvey, Navigation Center Community Integration Director and the driving force behind ConnectATX.  I spent the past four years as a Child Life Specialist, educating children and families about new diagnoses and experiences that come along with being hospitalized. In this role, I found myself discovering an immense need in our city to connect children and their families to support services and programs at a time of hurt, struggle, and financial burden. A Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) assessment during a quick visit to the Emergency Department often uncovered that the family did not have enough food to get through the evening. A new childhood cancer diagnosis has an ongoing list of challenges and changes the family will be faced with, but lack of transportation to get to weekly clinic and chemotherapy appointments was often an unnecessary barrier to the child receiving the best treatment possible.  I kept thinking… providing social workers, child life specialists, and case managers with a local online social services tool will allow a quicker and seamless way to connect families to the resources they need most, like emergency food and medical transportation.   My experiences alone are enough to say that there is a tremendous need for […]

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Encouraging Kids to Love, Dream and Think BIG with Pre-K Partnerships

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!” Helping all kids in the Greater Austin area go more places is what we do at United Way ATX through our work with the Success By 6 (SX6) Coalition. Ensuring all kids are happy, healthy, and ready to succeed at school and beyond is the top priority, and we know that access to books and a high-quality education help us get more kids there. Through our Pre-K Partnerships program, a Success By 6/AISD collaboration, we partner with child development centers in the Austin community to deliver high-quality pre-K and provide partnership centers with resources that help them improve and sustain quality services for children. This partnership is flourishing, and exceeding our first-year expectations…and a local acclaimed children’s book author took notice. Kat Kronenberg is the best-selling author of the Love Big trilogy, inspiring kids to dream, think, and love BIG to reach their full potential. She knows this BIG goal can’t be achieved alone, so we are honored that she reached out to partner with United Way in sharing her books, message, and heart at two of our Pre-K Partnership sites. “For the new year, one of my resolutions is to help bridge the gap for kids that tend to be left behind and make books relevant and exciting for them….I have helped in different cities over the years, and […]

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5 podcasts United Way ATX is listening to

One of my favorite things about working here at United Way ATX: I’m surrounded by people who love learning. The team is entrepreneurial, constantly looking at new research findings and channeling that learning into impactful programs that fight poverty. The learning we’re doing takes a lot of forms… sometimes as 50+ page research papers, other times as engaging podcasts. In fact, podcasts are so popular here in this building that we even have a Slack channel dedicated to sharing good ones. (Random aside: This Slack channel was named with a typo – #podcats – so a rogue feline makes its way into the channel periodically. As a lover of all animals AND podcasts, I’m delighted by this.) There’s a lot of good learning happening through podcasts, and I want to share some of that with you. Here are 5 podcasts recently recommended by United Way ATX team members on #podcats related to our work fighting poverty. Happy listening! 1. Hidden Brain Zipcode Destiny: The Persistent Power of Place and Education 52 minutes This episode digs into the research of Harvard economist Raj Chetty. Chetty uncovered some shocking data about how much your early years impact your entire life. From your Kindergarten teacher to your access to nutritious food to the neighborhood you grow up in, your experiences in those early years have a big influence on your lifelong outcomes. Here at United Way ATX, we believe that your zip code shouldn’t determine your opportunity. That’s why we focus on education, […]

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OMG, BOOKS!

Did you know that the first 2,000 days of every person’s life are foundational? Studies show that a child’s experiences during those early years literally build the architecture of their brain. Making the most of every child’s 2,000-day journey from birth to Kindergarten is essential, and we know that all families can use support along the way to do this. Research proves that having at least 20 age-appropriate books in the home can improve a child’s educational success, and the Success By 6 ATX Coalition (SX6) is making bold moves to provide those 20-books to all families in ATX! United Ways of Texas recently helped us make headway on this goal by granting United Way ATX with an OMG Book Award! Together, with SX6 Coalition partner BookSpring we distributed 16,899 books to thousands of families in Austin/Travis County utilizing this grant! “Ninety percent of brain development happens within the 2,000 days from birth to Kindergarten, so an early childhood full of rich experiences is essential for happy, healthy children who are ready to succeed in school and in life.”  – Cathy McHorse, VP of Success By 6.  Today in Austin 34,000 children under six in Travis County live in households with low income, and 61% of those children do not enter Kindergarten ready for school. In 2019 our coalition launched version three of a strategic plan aimed at slashing that statistic. With our coalitions bold goal to ensure that all children in Austin/Travis County enter Kindergarten ready to succeed we […]

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