Advocacy to create powerful change

Our civic promise

At United Way for Greater Austin, we work hand-in-hand with our coalitions and communities to influence public policy across various governmental levels. Amplifying the voices of those most impacted by our mission is crucial for nurturing a community environment where everyone can thrive in dignity and security. Those voices ensure that opportunity and equity can be part of our civic promise to each other and our collective home’s long-term liveability and vibrancy.

We use bold advocacy to create powerful change in Central Texas, meeting the immediate needs of today while building a brighter future for tomorrow.

Local early childhood education advocates celebrated policy and budgetary wins with Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes and her staff at City Hall in November 2023.

Early Matters Greater Austin

Advocacy is intrinsic to advancing our mission. Take Early Matters Greater Austin, for example. Formed by United Way and E3 Alliance in 2018, Early Matters Greater Austin unites the business community around the goal that local children enter Kindergarten prepared for school success.

Early Matters Greater Austin:

  • Promotes the Best Place for Working Parents® campaign, which recognizes research-backed, family-friendly policies that benefit both working parents and businesses’ bottom line.
  • Advocates and innovates so that parents can go to work every day assured their children are safe and receiving high-quality education – ultimately an investment into our future workforce.

Advocates from the Success By 6 Coalition, local parents and early childhood educators, nonprofit and corporate leaders, and United Way staff and Board members met with elected officials to advocate for high-quality early care and education at Early Childhood Rally Day during the 88th Texas Legislative Session in March 2023.

United Way team members advocated for our community priorities and shared the impact of our 2-1-1 Data Dashboard at United Way Day at the Texas Capitol in January 2023. They met with each member of the Travis and Williamson County delegations, including Representative Donna Howard.

3 Advocacy Wins


Our advocacy culminated in a meaningful win for local child care centers with the passing of a 100% property tax abatement for qualifying child care providers in November 2023. The rallying efforts led by our coalition leaders were a big reason Austin became the first jurisdiction in Texas to implement the abatement, reducing financial burdens for the local early care and education sector.


We worked with United Ways of Texas and other local United Ways from across the state to advocate for increased technology upgrades to our 2-1-1 system during the 88th Texas Legislative Session in 2023. Our collective advocacy resulted in a $3.2 million increase over the next two years to support call center operations and technology upgrades, which will improve the experience of hundreds of thousands of callers seeking help with food, utilities, health, and more.


We mobilized 120+ volunteers to advocate for early childhood education during the 88th Texas Legislative Session in 2023, resulting in a $74.2 million increase in funding for early childhood programs.

Big strides in expanding child care access for local families

Building on our nearly two decades of experience strengthening the local early childhood education sector, United Way recently formed the Affordable Childcare NOW! coalition to advance this initiative along with interested organizations, families, and individuals.

The ballot initiative would transform the early child care sector through sustainable funding by expanding access to quality programs for children and youth, supporting working families, and providing better pay to staff and resources for local children and youth.

United Way for Greater Austin CEO David C. Smith spoke at the Travis County Commissioner Court’s press conference in May 2024.

Change for the next generation starts with bold advocacy now.

That’s why we’re amplifying the voices of those most impacted by our mission for a near and long-term impact, building a Central Texas where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.