Newsroom

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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Spread Holiday Cheer

Blog contributions from Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez, United Way for Greater Austin | Corporate Volunteer Manager United Way for Greater Austin brings people, ideas, and resources together all year long, and this holiday season we’re inviting you to join us! We know we’ll all be home for the holidays this year, and we’d like to brighten as many homes as we possibly can this season. We’re bringing together our friends and neighbors to spread cheer and good tidings through special holiday care packages for families that participate in United Way programs. These families make the work we do better by participating in focus groups, guiding our strategic priorities, and reminding us that together we are stronger. Will you support your neighbors by building care packages with us this holiday season? You can support neighbors like Esmeralda. This young mother dedicates her time to helping us build a better social services ecosystem that is more accessible and equitable. In addition to her day job, she helps support the needs of other young parents in our community, improving economic mobility for generations to come. Families like Esmeralda’s are the reason we’re still celebrating this year. Despite unexpected hardships, the human spirit is resilient, and together we’re rebuilding an Austin that is a better place for all families, for community, and for genuine connection. Will you help bring joy to families like Esmeralda’s? Each holiday care package will include: 1 H-E-B gift card 3-5 children’s books 1 toy gift After you have signed up, our […]

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New Look, Same Good: Volunteering with United Way ATX

Blog contributions by Jordan Gutierrez-Ramirez, United Way for Greater Austin, Corporate Volunteer Manager In our world, a lot has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic….but some things will always be the same: like our commitment to help Austinintes connect with their community through volunteerism. Volunteering may look different now, but we’re still finding ways to engage. Despite the pandemic, United Way ATX continues to host volunteer opportunities in our community that bring us all together whether that means masking up, social distancing or logging in virtually. It’s a new look, but it’s the same good that you’re used to doing! We’ve reimagined volunteering, and that means we’ve taken most of our opportunities virtual. Our team has been hard at work crafting unique online events to build community connections, support our neighbors, and still do good. Over the past few months we’ve hosted successful virtual events focused on education, advocacy, and gratitude. Together with our volunteers and donors, we continue to help make a tangible difference that positively impacts our community! While virtual volunteerism is our “new normal” we are still thrilled to find safe ways for folks to volunteer in person when possible. Longtime corporate partner JE Dunn Construction went above and beyond this summer for one of their company-wide volunteer days. They deployed their skilled volunteers to one of our Pre-K Partnership centers for an impressive two-day infrastructure project. With JE Dunn’s expertise, we were able to execute a safe, in-person event at Sweet Briar Child Development […]

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JE Dunn Makes Sweet Briar Even Sweeter

JE Dunn Construction has been a close partner to United Way for Greater Austin since 2007. Last year, they ran their 11th annual employee giving campaign — and more than 30 team members stepped up to donate over $20,000 to support our Greater Austin community. But our collaboration isn’t just about raising money. JE Dunn is committed to showing up for our community through volunteer projects, too. They are deploying their skilled volunteers to our Pre-K Partnerships child development centers across Austin to complete much-needed infrastructure improvements. In late August, JE Dunn volunteers completed a two-day volunteer project at Sweet Briar Child Development Center. In the sweltering August heat, JE Dunn volunteers rolled up their sleeves and: -Removed a dead tree and buried tire -Moved the storage shed away from the main building to prevent additional water damage to both buildings -Improved the main walkway that staff, parents, and children use to walk into the school each day -Reconstructed the drainage system near the playground area to prevent any runoff issues -And more! Chris Szeliga, Sr. Vice President at JE Dunn, shared why this partnership with United Way for Greater Austin means so much to their company and team – especially now: “In these uncertain times, it’s crucial that organizations and individuals remain committed and diligent in the support of their local communities. JE Dunn Construction and our employees are proud to serve the Austin community by and through United Way. We are honored to affiliate with, humbled to partner […]

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Volunteering: It’s Good for YOU, Too

People volunteer for all kinds of reasons. Many people volunteer because they want to make a difference or help the less fortunate. And it’s easy to see how spending your time lending a helping hand and supporting a good cause positively impacts the community. But it turns out, volunteering may benefit you just as much. Over the past 15 years, research has demonstrated the power of volunteering. Volunteering has positive impacts for your overall health and well-being; people who volunteer regularly have improved cognitive function, better physical health, live longer, and have lower rates of depression. A Harvard Health paper noted that people who volunteer weekly benefit from what they call the “happiness effect” and report happiness levels comparable to a life-changing wage increase. And, the positive benefits don’t end there! There are professional benefits too. Volunteering provides valuable opportunities to build your communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills. According to this Deloitte report, all this experience pays off: People who volunteer are twice as likely to be “very satisfied” with their career progression. In fact, 92% of HR executives agree that contributing to a nonprofit can improve leadership skills. More and more, businesses are also reporting positive impacts of community engagement. Young professionals who volunteer through their company are more likely to be proud, loyal, and content with their place of work. Volunteering is a win-win. Not only is it good for the community, it’s incredibly special to be able to take some time out of your regular schedule […]

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Comcast Cares Day 2018: Comcast Celebrates One Year in Austin At Mainspring Schools

Sixty-eight Comcast team members showed up at Mainspring Schools’ bright and early last Saturday. Mainspring Schools is a long- term funded partner of United Way for Greater Austin and is among eight percent of centers in the U.S. accredited by the NAEYC, the nation’s most rigorous early childhood accrediting body.   “Comcast Cares Day is one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” Executive Director of XFINITY Home Wholesale, Tom Chmielewski said. “I have volunteered as the chair of an Austin nonprofit who has benefitted from the United Way’s support. I am proud that Comcast is a long time United Way supporter and want to support this great organization that does so much for our Austin community and neighbors.”   Representing different backgrounds, ethnicities and socio-economic levels, families come from all over Austin to attend Mainspring. Seventy-five percent of Mainspring students receive tuition subsidies. They believe diversity is crucial to developing self-aware, well-rounded children.   Comcast team members volunteered as a part of Comcast Cares day, a nation wide annual tradition of Comcast NBCUniversal. 2018 marked the 16th annual Comcast Cares Day and Mainspring was the first event located in Austin. On April 21, 2018, 100,000 volunteers worked to improve 1,000 project sites at community centers, schools, gardens, parks, beaches and more throughout the U.S. and in 20 other countries   “A day of service is such a small effort that can generate […]

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12 Ways To Fight Poverty This Holiday

The holidays are full of traditions from baking gingerbread cookies and drinking hot cocoa to curling up on the couch to enjoy a classic holiday movie. This time of year, for most of us, is accompanied by nostalgia and joy.   Unfortunately, many families in Austin are barely able to celebrate the holidays. At United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) we talk a lot about the two very different sides of Austin. Austin is the live music capital of the world, a rapidly expanding tech hub, one of the coolest places to live and yet, it’s also one of the most economically segregated cities in the country. Many parents in our community struggle to put food on the table each day and live paycheck-to-paycheck year round.   The holiday season often puts an undue burden on many Austin families. As you celebrate, we encourage you to spread your joy a little further, to your neighbors in need. Because giving back and is a part of our DNA at United Way, we hope that this blog will provide you with simple and meaningful ways to make fighting poverty easy and enjoyable this holiday season.   1. Donate to UWATX directly: The easiest way to fight to end poverty is by donating to UWATX this holiday season. All gifts are welcome.         2. Host a United Way Seasonal Drive Team up with co-workers or family members to help gather items to help families in need. Click the link for […]

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The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and One of our Own

Hands On Central Texas (HOCT) at United Way for Greater Austin coordinates corporate volunteer activities as team-building projects and each year they help hundreds of businesses engage their employees in community-changing volunteerism. On Saturday, Sept. 24., the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation teamed up with HOCT to give back at their annual Coke Scholars Service Summit. The Coke Scholars Service Summit is an opportunity for Scholars to gather from different parts of the country to build strong relationships, adventure in a new city, and continue to be inspired about community change. Austin’s Zavala Elementary School, where Coke Scholar Tim McCallum attended in 1991, was chosen as the volunteer project venue for the 2016 Summit. View photos from the Summit here. In attendance was Madison Springgate, who in addition to being a Coke Scholar, is also one of our very own Campaign Associates. Madison was chosen as a Coke Scholar in high school and said, “I was thrilled to be a part of the project at Zavala, from the Scholar perspective, as well as part of the United Way staff.” To get to know more about the Coke Scholars program and the impact it had on Madison, read the brief Q and A below.   What does it mean for you to be a Coke Scholar? When looking at my personal journey, specifically when it comes to my passion for community impact work, much of it goes back to my experience as a Coke Scholar. Though I was very involved with volunteering and philanthropy in […]

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All Hands on Deck at Fall Day of Caring

Each fall, United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) welcomes corporate volunteer teams and individuals from the community to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism through a one day service extravaganza called Fall Day of Caring (FDOC). This year’s Fall Day of Caring  presented by NXP Semiconductors was held on Sept. 23 and brought close to 800 volunteers to over 30 volunteer projects at nonprofits and schools all over Austin. Volunteers cleaned out gardens, prepped materials for teachers, built play structures and much more. UWATX believes that anyone can be a philanthropist by giving their time to make their community stronger, smarter, safer, and more beautiful for everyone. Through events like Fall Day of Caring, we invite everyone to be a part of making Austin greater! FDOC wouldn’t be possible without our amazing sponsors: Austin Coca-Cola, Broadway Bank, JE Dunn, Kerbey Lane Café and NXP Semiconductors. These companies empower not only their own employees, but hundreds of other Central Texans to give their time to causes they’re passionate about at FDOC projects. In addition to sponsoring the event, each of these companies send their own workers– from executives to entry level employees – out to work together to accomplish huge projects for nonprofits in need of a little help. JE Dunn volunteers utilized their construction expertise to make the playground at Trinity Child Development Center safer by building a raised deck over a frequently flooded area on the playground. Trinity CDC, part of UWATX’s Center Project initiative, provides high quality early child education […]

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Volunteer Spotlight: Beth Tracy, IBM

United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) and IBM have a deep partnership, and much of this is accredited to Beth Tracy, IBM Manager of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs. Beth has been making Austin Greater with UWATX since 2002. She served on the Hands on Central Texas Advisory Board for two years from 2004-06 guiding the team to inspire, mobilize and equip volunteers to create sustainable change in the Austin community. Nikki Krueger, Director of Community Engagement and Youth Development at United Way for Greater Austin, explains,“When I entered the world of community and volunteer engagement, Beth was one of the first people I met through the Hands On Central Texas Advisory Council. She is a model for corporate community engagement and she never shies away from a leadership role. She is an incredible advocate and friend.” Beth also served on the Success By 6 Leadership Council as Vice Chair from 2010-11 and Chair from 2012-14 leading the team towards innovative and sustainable solutions for Austin’s youngest residents. Sue Carpenter, Vice President of Success By 6 adds, “Beth has been a long-time, highly valued SB6 volunteer leader, culminating in a term as chair of the SB6 Leadership Council. Her calm, professional style set the tone for effective and productive meetings and her understanding of appropriate volunteer leadership roles allowed her to mentor experienced and rookie advisory board members. Beth listens carefully and seeks understanding before giving advice or guidance, and her insightful questions often helped me reach better decisions over the years. […]

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