Tag: financial stability

Philanthropy As Easy As 1-2-3!

Each year, we adopt a new campaign theme to inspire employees to give a little bit out of each paycheck to change their community. We at UWATX believe anyone can be a philanthropist–but the word “philanthropy” can sound overwhelming. We recruited some of Austin’s finest philanthropists–elementary school children–to show you just how easy philanthropy can be in this year’s campaign: “Philanthropy Easy as 1-2-3”. We were excited to once again work with Kathy Horn and her collective, Hunt, Gather, as well as local Austin photographer, Annie Ray. Local comedian Mac Blake spoke with these young philanthropists about how they help others and what giving back means to them. The videos highlight what philanthropy means at the most basic level, why we need philanthropy in our community and more. If you want a good laugh, check out all the videos here. We featured three UWATX service recipients in this year’s campaign, who can tell you in their own words what United Way and philanthropy means to them. Katrina and Aracelli Chapman UWATX gives Katrina invaluable peace of mind and support. A single mother and unable to work because of a disability, Katrina has looked to United Way for financial and emotional support since before the birth of her now three-year-old daughter, Aracelli, Now, she’s turning again to United Way’s Success By 6 program to make sure Aracelli is developmentally where she needs to be when she starts school. Ashley and Owen Trimpey Raising up the community, one family at a time. Through Play To Learn, […]

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CommunityTHRIVE Offers Spanish Courses

Just a few months ago, United Way for Greater Austin announced the launch of a new initiative within our Financial Stability work called CommunityTHRIVE. CommunityTHRIVE provides financial education classes, coaching and community resources in partnership with the City of Austin Neighborhood Centers and Goodwill. Paola Silvestre-Leveck is Goodwill’s new financial literacy trainer for the CommunityTHRIVE program at the Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center. Thanks to Paola and continued collaboration between UWATX and Goodwill, we are excited to now be able to offer these important classes to Spanish speakers in addition to the already existing English classes. Paola earned her Business Administration degree and previously worked in investment for several years. Before her time at Goodwill, she worked as a legal assistant and business plan consultant for an immigration law firm in Austin. She has worked at Goodwill for three months and has already taught roughly 40 financial classes. Each week at various Goodwill locations, she teaches eight classes and in addition, she works with UWATX to provide three classes for the CommunityTHRIVE program and two for the City of Austin. “People usually have a lot of misconceptions regarding credit reports and credit scores, so majority of the questions surround those two topics,” Paola said. “The challenges are to not only convey financial information, but ensure that the topics are not confusing and that the client does not feel bored throughout the training.” The CommunityTHRIVE classes cover budgeting, savings, credit and financial recovery. In addition, Paola created specific modules that fulfill specific client […]

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April is Financial Literacy Month

What does financial literacy mean to you? Is it knowing how to do your taxes, budgeting well enough to have extra spending money each month, paying off your loans in a certain time or simply having a bank account? There are many free resources available online on a wide range of financial topics; all you need to do is take the time to look and educate yourself. UWATX has many resources available on our own website including: Bank Locator Tool Answer a few questions to find the perfect bank or credit union for you, complete with locations to help you get started. Financial Toolkits Our toolkit contains tips and worksheets on the following topics: Filing taxes How to repair your credit and manage debt Everything you need to know before you take out a loan How to open a bank account and set up direct deposit Financial Classes Locator Check out free upcoming financial classes near you to improve your skills. Additionally, check out these other great resources to meet your financial literacy goals: 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy 360 Degrees of Financial literacy is a national volunteer effort from America’s Certified Public Accountants to help residents understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. It focuses on financial education as a lifelong endeavor and contains tips dependent on your current situation, whether you’re a college student, young couple, divorced, etc. They have a huge range of topics covered from caring for aging parents, investing basics, sudden wealth, saving for […]

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UWATX Launches CommunityTHRIVE

United Way for Greater Austin recently launched a new initiative within our Financial Stability work called CommunityTHRIVE. CommunityTHRIVE provides financial education classes, coaching and community resources in partnership with the City of Austin Neighborhood Centers and Goodwill. Connie is an engaged community member at the Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center who participated in the first CommunityTHRIVE class series we just wrapped up. She also volunteers at R-Z food distributions and serves on the advisory board at the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center next door, advocating for programs and trips for her peers. She is a recent retiree adjusting to living on a fixed income, adding new financial difficulties to her life. CommunityTHRIVE is a four class series on budgets, debt, credit and saving open to community members at the City of Austin’s Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center. Participants are also supported with one-0n-one financial coaching and incentives from the food bank for participation. In partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, we are able to offer participants completing the CommunityTHRIVE classes a “food scholarship.” Participants earn a certificate in class which they can redeem for an extra basket of fresh food at several local pantries. We asked Connie about her experience in the CommunityTHRIVE classes. What was your experience like with CommunityTHRIVE? What did you learn? “It was a positive experience overall. It gave me a lot of validation. I got lots of tips on how what I’m doing could work better.” Connie really liked the handouts she received in the class, including sample budget sheets, how […]

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Get Tax Prep Help for FREE

It’s the beginning of that time of the year again — tax season. Filing your taxes is not always a fun, but no need to worry, there are tax prep and filling services for qualifying (if you make less than $50,000 a year) individuals and families, available at no cost. United Way for Greater Austin’s vision is to create a thriving community for all, so with the help of Foundation Communities, we have complied a list of FREE tax preparation and filing services around town that can help make filing your taxes less stressful: South Austin Community Financial Center – 2600 West Stassney Lane, Austin, TX 78745 (corner of Stassney and West Gate) – 1st floor. Services available January 14th through April 18th. IDEA Allan – 1701 Vargas Road, Austin, TX 78741. Services available January 26th through April 18th. East Austin Lifeworks East Office – 835 N. Pleasant Valley Rd., Austin, TX 78702 – 1st floor. Services available January 19th through April 18th. Round Rock Round Rock Public Library – 216 E. Main Street, Round Rock, TX 78664 – Computer Lab. Services available January 20th through April 18th. North Austin Community Financial Center – 5900 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX, 78752. Services available January 16th through April 18th. Asian American Resource Center – 8401 Cameron Road, Austin, TX, 78754. Services available January 27th through April 18th. How to schedule an appointment? You will soon be able to schedule an appointment for tax preparation – stay updated by visiting the Foundation Communities tax prep page. […]

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UWATX 2015 Impact on Community

Check out what United Way for Greater Austin was able to do for our community this year, all because of YOU–our donors, volunteers, supporters and funders. We could not have done any of this important work without your support, and we are so grateful to have compassionate, generous donors like you making this possible for thousands of struggling families and individuals in our city. Just think–your donation is giving a child living in poverty the chance to be the next great doctor, mayor or perhaps even the person that will solve the Austin traffic crisis. Your investment in UWATX is an investment in the future of our great city. Thank you once again for your support, and let’s work together to make Austin even greater in 2016!

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Two-Generation Pilot Project Shows ESL As Biggest Need

Ascend is a policy program of The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization that aims to pass on economic security and educational success from one generation to another. They emphasize a two-generation approach in every thing they do, meaning that they want to create opportunities for both the parent and child living in disadvantaged situations. UWATX received a grant from The Aspen Institute Ascend Fund in order to develop and test a two-gen pilot project of our own. United Way for Greater Austin engaged two researchers from the University of Texas’s Ray Marshall Center to measure impact through an evaluation that used multiple methodologies, including participant focus groups, individual interviews, surveys and pre- and post-skill tests. At the onset of the pilot, UWATX met with community partners to discuss project strategies to test an adult education care model for parents with children already engaged in high-quality early education. With Austin Independent School District (AISD) and Uphaus Early Childhood Center, UWATX developed an outreach plan to reach potential participants. After several weeks of dedicated outreach, UWATX reached over 100 parents and learned some valuable lessons. Over half of respondents cited English as their primary need and interest. Those who were interested, qualified and eligible for job training had diverse interests, making it difficult to form a cohort. At the same time, UWATX learned most of the job training families had reliable transportation and could access the existing training centers, while the Spanish-speaking families struggled with isolation. All of this […]

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Decker Students Learn About Financial Stability with Chase Volunteers

Getting students thinking about making financial decisions at such a young age can be a challenge, but having knowledgeable and friendly volunteers makes it much easier! “Camp Raven” is UWATX’s free summer enrichment program at Decker Middle School, where each week students learn about an issue affecting their community and complete related educational activities with volunteers. Last week, seven Chase volunteers dedicated a total of 27 hours of their time at Camp Raven, where they led financial literacy games and activities for the campers. “ I chose to spend the most on food and healthcare because taking good care of my children is the most important thing to me.” — Kevin, 7th grade student There were two exercises that the children and volunteers participated in, a market simulation exercise and a budgeting exercise. The market simulation exercise was completed using food items such as fruit snacks, mints and juice that had different values. The students were divided into assigned groups and were classified as either buyers or sellers. Sellers had to come up with a price and strategy on how to sell their “products” for the greatest amount of dollars and create ads with the product information. The buyers group made transactions using fake money based on what the advertised prices were. Following the activity, students discussed what they learned in regards to their money making decisions. The budgeting activity taught the children how to budget their candy “money” by allocating them into realistic categories. Each student based their budgeting decisions on the idea […]

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Easy Ways to Save Money During the Summer

With Austin being America’s fastest-growing city, this means more energy consumption occurs, which is why it is crucial that we all work to minimize our household energy usage during the hot summer months. Many of us come home from a long day and immediately lower the thermostat without thinking of the consequences this might have on our bills and environment. Summer can be a very expensive time of the year. According to Austin Energy, air conditioning represents up to 70% of the average home’s summer electricity bill. Air conditioning may be the largest slice of the electricity bill pie, but other components like energy-powered light fixtures and heat-powered appliances, such as washers and dryers, are also important to consider when thinking about your summertime energy consumption and bills. On average, a U.S. household spends $5,550 a year on energy—this is a serious concern considering 21% of Austinites have incomes below $25,000 a year. Knowing how to be energy-efficient not only helps the environment and economy, but will also help save you money. Here are some simple tips to help you save this summer:  78 Is the Magic Number Turning off your thermostat during the summer forces your air conditioning unit to work long and hard when you return. When you are home, you should set your thermostat to 78 degrees. According to Austin Energy, your bill increase by 3 to 4% for each degree lower than 78. If you have a programmable thermostat, you have a bit more flexibility and can store and repeat multiple daily settings, which […]

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