Press Releases

Williamson County: Mom and son hug and smile

Proven Program: Parenting Students Project

Parenting students work hard every day to pursue their goals, juggling caregiving, course work, and sometimes multiple jobs to build a better life for their families. Because of the obstacles they face, parenting students are nearly twice as likely to leave school for preventable reasons: lack of child care, conflicting course and work schedules, and even convenient transportation. Removing the barriers parenting students face helps them continue on education pathways to living wage employment, which changes their lives as well as their children’s lives. In fact, a $3,000 difference in parents’ income while a child is young leads to a 17% increase in that child’s future earnings. That’s why United Way for Greater Austin partners with Austin Community College to provide parenting students, ages 18-29, with incentives to accelerate their post-secondary education. Students in our program receive: $500 monthly stipend Peer networking/engagement Leadership and advocacy opportunities Academic counseling Child care scholarships Other wrap-around services “This program has been extremely helpful for my family and I. It allows me to focus all of my attention on nursing school and make sure I stay on track and graduate.” – Deja, program participant Our impact: From Fall 2021- Fall 2023 Supported families. The Parenting Students Project supported 76 students and 103 children. Academic success. 38% of students have earned a degree or certification as of the end of Spring 2023, with an additional 38% intending to continue in the program. Financial stability. The Parenting Students Project awarded each student an average of $2,038 […]

United Way's Navigation Center is here to help local families find free back-to-school resources in Greater Austin

21 free back-to-school resources in Greater Austin

The first day of school is just around the corner–for kids, it’s a time of excitement and anticipation as they embark on a new academic adventure, start a new grade level, and meet new friends and teachers. We know it can be stressful to make sure kids have everything they need for a successful year, which is why United Way’s Navigation Center is here to help local families find free back-to-school resources in Greater Austin.  To make it easy for families to access these back-to-school resources, we’ve compiled a calendar of school supplies giveaways and events happening throughout the month of August.  This year’s events range from free school supplies to resource fairs, free kids’ haircuts, and more. Some events have eligibility requirements or require registration to participate–be sure to read the guidelines for each program. View the calendar in Spanish. For more than 25 years, United Way for Greater Austin’s Navigation Center has helped people navigate the complex system of health and human services in Central Texas. Anyone can contact the Navigation Center by dialing 2-1-1. Know someone looking for assistance? Tell them to give us a call to get connected to resources in our community.

United Way for Greater Austin Awards $475,000 to 20 Williamson County Nonprofits

United Way for Greater Austin Awards $475,000 to 20 Williamson County Nonprofits

 United Way for Greater Austin awarded a total of $475,000 in strategic grant funding to 20 nonprofits in Williamson County. The recipients represent a diverse set of community leaders collectively serving more than 3,000 Williamson County residents in the areas of education, health, and financial stability. “We are grateful to every donor who makes these strategic investments in Williamson County possible,” said David C. Smith, CEO of United Way for Greater Austin. “Every dollar goes a long way to ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. United Way is proud to support and work with such outstanding partners, and we look forward to changing lives the only way we know how: United.” In January 2022, United Way for Greater Austin and United Way of Williamson County joined forces and merged into a regional organization supporting children, families, and individuals in Austin, Travis County, and Williamson County. This funding represents our continued investment in Williamson County. The grants will support strategic work in the areas of: Education (8 organizations) Health (7 organizations) Financial stability (5 organizations) View the full list of grant recipients. “United Way is proud to partner with these organizations to advance the powerful work they are currently doing, which impacts thousands of children, families, and individuals in our region,” said Amy Mizcles, Vice President of Williamson County at United Way for Greater Austin. As an organization committed to equity and inclusivity, United Way approached the grant selection process with these values in mind. In total, […]

Gathering for Good 2023: Bringing change to the table

Gathering for Good 2023: Bringing change to the table

What an inspiring afternoon! A sold-out crowd of over 300 people came out to Gathering for Good, hosted by Women United, to support United Way’s mission to break the cycle of poverty and support local children and families in our continued fight for equity. Thanks to the generous support of so many, we exceeded our fundraising goal of $150,000! Thank you to all of our supporters for being a part of this endeavor and bringing change to the table. Together with people like you, we are working toward helping everyone in our community thrive. Because we all know that it’s not about where you sit or what’s on your plate; it’s what you bring to the table that matters most. Special thanks to our amazing Co-Chairs Allison Dwyer and Tracy Fielder; Presenting Sponsor Google; Empower Sponsors Jeanmarie & Scott Rust and NI and St. David’s Foundation; and all of our generous sponsors.  We also want to recognize and thank our Gathering for Good artists Sarah Murrin and Umbreen Ahmad, and the women-owned business who supported this event: Blenders and Bowls, Bola Pizza, Consuela, DPET Hotel, Ester Gamez Jewelry, Gossamer, Joann’s Esthetics, Kendra Scott, Modern Beauty, Pink Cactus Productions, Robin Hancock Jewelry, Rowing Dock, SCW Interiors, Succulent Native, Susto Mezcal, Tiny Grocer, and Yoga Pod. As Board Member Cristina Guajardo said at the event, “With the help of United Way, I started seeing opportunities that your support helped create. Events like these give us the opportunity to come together and support […]

Kids sit around a stage and watch a performance

If You Give a Child a Book: A Book Days and Greater Austin Reading Coalition collaboration

Instilling a love of reading in kids is critical to ensuring more children are reading at or above their grade level–a core piece of United Way’s mission to break the cycle of poverty in our community. That’s why the Greater Austin Reading Coalition, powered by United Way, has partnered with Book Days, a local children’s literacy program, to host book tours for students at Title 1* schools.  Book Days’ mission is to encourage a love of reading in children by making reading exciting and bringing books to life. The program does this through theatrical performances and a variety of multi-sensory activities to engage and excite students. In partnership with the Greater Austin Reading Coalition, they launched their first tour across Austin ISD in February 2023.  The tour featured the beloved classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. In just three days, the program reached over 1,500 children at eight schools in Austin ISD. At each stop, children participated in a theatrical reading of the book by the mouse himself. Throughout the tour, students not only improved their reading skills, they grew their passion for books. This year, the Greater Austin Reading Coalition looks forward to partnering with Book Days for even more reading tours that build a culture of reading for fun and cultivate a love of books in children. The Greater Austin Reading Coalition is convened by United Way for Greater Austin as part of the organization’s collective impact work to fight poverty. Looking for […]

two men and two woman standing on stage with confetti

A Night United 2023: celebrating the dreams that inspire us

Wow, what a night! A sold-out crowd of nearly 400 people came out to A Night United to support our mission to break the cycle of poverty and help local children and families keep reaching for their dreams in our continued fight for equity. Thanks to the generous support of so many, we exceeded our fundraising goal of $500,000! A lot has changed since United Way opened its doors to the Greater Austin community nearly 100 years ago. Our world, our region, and even our skyline has changed. But we’ve never lost sight of the shared values that define us: hope, drive, success, and potential—even when systems keep too many from reaching as high as they could. As CEO David C. Smith said at A Night United, “Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors haven’t yet had the opportunity to realize their dreams. You are that foundation that allows them to dream bigger, beyond basic needs, to bigger goals that benefit all of us, all while ensuring their children start off knowing there are no limits, reaching for the stars. This is our dream at United Way, knowing when one of us wins, we all win. Now is the time for us to dream big together–imagine with us what we can create together.” We know that when we come together, we rise above. Hand in hand, we can ensure everyone can reach their full potential. Thank you for being a part of this endeavor.  Special thanks to our amazing co-chairs Judy […]

hands held together with the hashtag blue sunday

Join us for Blue Sunday

Blog by Bridget Tobin, Mission Advancement Intern, United Way for Greater Austin The Success By 6 Coalition is a network of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, and experts – with a shared goal to ensure every child enters Kindergarten happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in school and beyond. As part of our collective impact work to fight poverty, United Way for Greater Austin convenes a Success By 6 Coalition in both Travis and Williamson counties. To prepare all our youngest community members for school and beyond, we partner with local nonprofits to deliver impactful services in four focus areas: Healthy beginnings Supported families High-quality care & education Safe & stimulating communities Together with our partners, we are transforming our local early education system, so that children and their families can reach their full potential. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and for the past several years we’ve partnered with local faith communities for Blue Sunday, a day of prayer for children experiencing abuse and neglect. Each year Blue Sunday falls on the last Sunday in April, and this year, Blue Sunday is April 30. Child abuse and neglect statistics in Travis County and Texas have improved slightly since last year, but the reality is still heartbreaking: In 2022 in Travis County, there were: 973 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect under the age of 6; 175 children under the age of 6 removed from their homes; and At least 8 children who died […]

2-1-1 helping central texans

Helping Central Texans through 2-1-1: meet Chandler Foster

National 2-1-1 Day, celebrated on February 11, recognizes the more than 200 2-1-1 helplines located across the country.  For over 20 years, United Way for Greater Austin’s 2-1-1 helpline has connected thousands of Central Texans to local, statewide, and national resources for housing, food, health, child care, education, employment, transportation, counseling, disaster information, and more.  This week, we’re celebrating 2-1-1 Day by recognizing our incredible Navigation Specialists, who power this service and work around the clock to answer the call for members of our community. Just last year, our Navigation Specialists answered 254,387 requests for help in our region–that’s one call every two minutes. Chandler Foster is one of the 2-1-1 team members helping our neighbors navigate the complex system of health and human services in Central Texas.  “I do this work because I have been on the other side of needing assistance just to make it day by day,” Chandler said. “I know how much the information we provide can change lives. I am living proof.” Read more about why and how Chandler advances our mission to fight poverty with each and every call.  What brought you to United Way, and how long have you been on the team? I recently moved to Texas from Louisiana, where United Way was a major team player in some of the advocating I did for poverty and victims of domestic abuse. I knew that when I arrived in Texas, I wanted to continue to work with a dedicated and like-minded team. So […]

community members celebrate MLK jr. service week

MLK Jr. Service Week: Honoring the legacy of Dr. King

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every year is critical to our commitment to the fight for racial equity and creating a Greater Austin region that works for everyone. Last week, United Way for Greater Austin hosted a series of in-person community volunteer opportunities and an educational walking tour to honor Dr. King. On Monday, January 16, more than 100 volunteers at two different locations across Travis and Williamson counties rolled up their sleeves to clean up parks in our community, in honor of Dr. King’s powerful words, ‘What are you doing for others?’ Senator John Cornyn and Austin Mayor Kirk Watson attended the event in Austin and thanked volunteers for their time. On Friday, January 20, dozens of community members joined us on a guided tour, led by Harrison Eppright of Six Square: Austin’s Black Cultural District, to explore the Austin area that was originally created to segregate the Black community in 1928. Participants toured historic buildings and landmarks, and learned about the history of East Austin and how this neighborhood played a critical role in forming the city that we know today. See photos from the volunteer events and walking tour. “We thank you for volunteering to support United Way’s mission of bringing together people, ideas, and resources to fight poverty,” United Way CEO David C. Smith emphasized at the event. “When Dr. King said, ‘Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,’ he knew that we reach our highest potential as human […]

Williamson County: Mom and son hug and smile

One year since our merger: big wins in Williamson County

In January 2022, United Way for Greater Austin and United Way of Williamson County joined forces and merged. So much good has happened since then in our Greater Austin region. In the last year, United, we were able to make an even bigger impact for and with our neighbors in Williamson County.  Here are just a few things we accomplished in our first year as a newly merged organization. United, we awarded 36 grants to Williamson County nonprofits Thanks to the generous donations of thousands of community investors, we awarded $2.2 million to 68 local organizations, including 36 grants to Williamson County organizations focusing on education, health, and financial stability. We also celebrated with our partners at our first Nonprofit Partner Celebration! United, we launched new initiatives in Williamson County We launched several new initiatives in Williamson County, including: The Williamson County Success By 6 Coalition, to ensure all children in Williamson County enter Kindergarten happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in school and beyond Pre-K Partnerships, to expand access to high-quality pre-K and provide centers with resources to help improve and sustain quality services for children in Round Rock ISD Addressing Cancer Together, to save lives and reduce the economic burden of cancer on families and communities in Greater Austin Community Health Connect, to improve health outcomes and expand access to resources for local families United, we served our community by volunteering We mobilized hundreds of volunteers to come together and serve the community at various locations in Williamson […]