Tag: united way for greater austin

Now Accepting Proposals

United Way for Greater Austin seeks to award up to $90,000, divided evenly into three awards of $30,000, to three qualified community organizations to deliver effective programs and services that assist parents and children together, increasing their family stability and self-sufficiency. Since 1924, United Way for Greater Austin  has worked locally to build philanthropy and support programs that break the cycle of poverty. UWATX programs and activities are designed to jump start sustainable solutions for low-income families and drive collective change by aligning public and private support. Our programs work together to provide low-income families with the skills and resources they need to take an active role in their own success. Our community investments illuminate this commitment. UWATX’s funding priorities are centered on three interrelated focus areas: Education: Children and youth are happy, healthy, and prepared for success in school and in life. Income: Families have equitable access to economic and social opportunities. Health: Families in Central Texas are physically and mentally healthy. Within each focus area, UWATX partners with community stakeholders to identify proven strategies toward a common goal. Community investment grants represent a strategic opportunity to identify critical community partners and enhance and create active collaborations for the greatest impact. Our community investment grants are made possible by the financial contributions of thousands of community investors each year. UWATX is committed to serving as a strategic steward of these community dollars. UWATX anticipates three awards of $30,000 each under this RFP. Read the Request for Proposal and sign up for the informational session taking place on Sept. 16.

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2016 Early Care and Education Survey Results

Today, we’re proud to release the results of the 2016 Early Care and Education Survey – a look at trends across the early care field in our community and the only one of it’s kind in Central Texas. This year’s data shows more of the same positive trends we saw in 2014, and also similar challenges. Teacher education in early childhood varies widely depending on where you live Our data indicates that teacher education levels in early childhood education centers vary greatly between the regions of Travis County. 20% – 25% of East and South Austin center teachers have no early childhood education beyond high school. West, North, and Central Austin fair better with only 7-9% of teachers having no formal early childhood education training. Regional Differences in Early Childhood Education                         The survey also found that long-term teacher retention has decreased over the past two years.   Parent fees make up the bulk of funding for child care centers – including in low-income areas The survey found that centers, across nearly all regions in Travis County, depend on parent fees for the largest portion of their income. Centers in East, South and North Austin also rely on public subsidies for funding, with private donations and corporate subsidies playing a minor role for the regions as well.   Child Care Center Funding Sources                 This may be part of the reason why the cost […]

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Kerbey Lane Café Beautifies Open Door Preschool East

Did you know that the average annual cost of high quality early childhood care is nearly $10,000? Imagine a family that is already struggling to make ends meet faced with an additional expense of $9,734, the average cost of high quality childcare in Austin according to the Texas Workforce Board. Even for a family with two adults working full time at minimum wage, that’s a third of the family’s income for the year going to childcare instead of housing, food, utilities or other necessary expenses. Because of this high cost and the barrier it represents to students starting kindergarten, United Way for Greater Austin supports childcare centers serving low-income families with free or reduced tuition through the Success By 6 Center Project. The initiative currently works with 13 childcare centers, serving over 1,000 children in Austin. The Center Project works with these centers to help them meet state and national standards for quality early childhood education including training for teachers, leveraging in-kind and volunteer resources to improve facilities and providing data collection and analysis to improve individual outcomes for students. On Aug. 19, employees from all seven Kerbey Lane Café (KLC) locations joined Hands On Central Texas (HOCT) to beautify Open Door Preschool East – one of the longest running partner schools of the Center Project. KLC volunteers painted four classrooms, over half of the rooms serving students. While the KLC volunteers were not expert painters, HOCT staff provided a short training and in-depth project coordination to ensure volunteers felt comfortable and completed […]

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Volunteer Spotlight: Peggy Wilson, Texas Mutual Insurance Company

It’s that time of year again. The heat. Buying school clothes; buying school supplies. Preparing for the school year gets expensive quick. To prepare students (and parents) for the 2016-17 school year, volunteers from all over Austin came together at Webb Early College Prep Academy on Aug. 18 to assemble school supply kits, reorganize the school library, aid teachers in preparing their classrooms and landscape the flower beds around campus. One of the sponsors of our Aug. 18 Back to School Readiness Event at Webb was Texas Mutual Insurance Company. Texas Mutual has a very large and active volunteer base, one of which is their IT Senior Manager, Peggy Wilson. Peggy has been volunteering with UWATX for just over a year and she loves it. She explains, “The reactions to volunteering at UWATX are very positive – we love it.” Read our brief Q and A below to get to know Peggy and her experiences volunteering at UWATX. 1. What inspires you to volunteer? People say volunteering is unselfish, but I actually think it feels good to help others. In a way, it’s self-serving, as corny as it sounds. You get away from your own problems for a while when you focus on others. It’s also nice to learn about other people – whether they’re those you’re helping or those you’re working with. 2. What do you like to do in your spare time? I’m pretty simple – I like to spend time with my husband, Chris and my dog, Otis. […]

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February’s Face 2 Face Recap

The Austin Business Journal’s Face 2 Face speaker series creates a space for the exchange of ideas among Austin’s business community in a setting echoing TED Talks. It kicks off with a half-hour of breakfast and networking at 8:30 a.m., followed by a one-hour Q&A session with a featured guest and ABJ editor, Colin Pope. We are honored and delighted to be the 2015 Community Partner of the monthly series, which gives us the opportunity to share our work among the community’s business elite by highlighting various programs and partners each month.  February’s speaker was Co-CEO of Whole Foods, Walter Robb, who emphasized culture, quality and marketing as strategic points in the development of the Whole Foods brand. He also discussed the delicate balance of driving rapid growth while still maintaining ties to the community at local and global levels.  “Culture belongs on the balance sheet of the company.” – Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Robb shared his insights about building culture among employees and customers in order to ground the work and growth of Whole Foods in shared values that are broadly inclusive and clearly communicated. “Culture belongs on the balance sheet of the company,” Robb said. We agree–recent statistics show that more than half of millennials (the fastest growing group of employees) said a company’s involvement in philanthropic causes influenced whether or not they accepted a job in the past. We have seen firsthand the positive impact a philanthropic component can have on a company; just ask any of our generous business partners! The idea of […]

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Poverty Awareness Month

January is Poverty Awareness Month, and we have chosen to once again highlight one of the communities we serve—Dove Springs in southeast Austin. For the most part, the Dove Springs neighborhood has not changed significantly when you look at demographics data over the past three years with one key exception: poverty.  According to the most recent data, one in five adults in Dove Springs live in poverty, while more than a third of children in this community also live in poverty. This means about 12,000 in Dove Springs alone are living in poverty. And, unfortunately, these numbers are only increasing each year. 20% of adults in Dove Springs live in poverty   36% of children in Dove Springs live in poverty   10% of seniors in Dove Springs live in poverty From 2011 to 2013, the Dove Springs population grew by 7%, but the number of residents in this community living in poverty grew by 15%.  According to PovertyUSA, the number of Americans living in poverty today is higher now than in the last 50 years. As Austin continues to become more unaffordable, even for those living above the poverty level, the urgency of intervention and change becomes more crucial. The first step toward breaking the poverty cycle is promoting the understanding of poverty and its root causes. PovertyUSA produced an informative and interesting video that showcases how families living in poverty in the U.S. spend their money, and how easy it is to quickly fall behind while debt continues to […]

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What Does Affordability Mean In Austin?

It isn’t news to anyone who lives here—Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. With the daily influx of new patrons to the area, housing prices continue to skyrocket while availability of affordable housing rapidly shrinks. But what does “affordable” really mean? Government standards define housing as “affordable” if a family spends less than 30% of their income on rent. Austin has the highest average rent costs in the state, at about $1,050 for a two-bedroom apartment. The average rent for a two-bedroom in cities around the rest of Texas is about $867. However, one must look at more than housing costs to determine the affordability of a city. Childcare in Austin can cost up to $16,000 a year—that’s about the same price as a year of in-state tuition at the University of Texas. Considering the median household income in Austin is less than $60,000 a year, this means more than a fourth of a family’s income is spent on the care of just one child. That leaves little left for gas, groceries, healthcare, and all of life’s other necessary expenses. For example, let’s say one Austinite is working a job where they make minimum wage at $7.25 an hour. This person would have to work 111 hours (about three full-time jobs) a week just to pay for their two-bedroom apartment. 65% of Austin residents are dissatisfied with the cost of housing.  Voters passed a $65 million bond measure last year that aimed to create affordable housing options. However, most […]

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UWATX Staff Makes Austin Greater, One Meal at a Time

United Way for Greater Austin employees spend countless hours each and every day promoting our vision and mission – we inspire philanthropy within our community in order to break down barriers to economic opportunity and ensure that Greater Austin continues to thrive. We collaborate with community partners to ensure that every child is kindergarten-ready, tirelessly work to prepare students for success in high school, empower working-poor families and individuals with the knowledge and tools to become financially stable, and provide simple, one-call access to nonprofit and governmental resources for Central Texas. 330+ hours volunteered   700+ meals delivered In addition to their dedication within the walls of our office, many of our staff members also use personal time each week to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. This passionate team of volunteers loads up food prepared by Meals on Wheels and delivers it to the doors of some of Austin’s most vulnerable citizens every Wednesday. Over the past four years, we have volunteered more than 330 hours and delivered more than 700 meals! Rain or shine, our group never deviates from the weekly route, knowing that a handful of people depend on our dedication to meet their food needs. Our staff members have developed connections with the beneficiaries of this service, engaging in quick chats each week while delivering meals to these thankful recipients. “I volunteer for Meals on Wheels and More because I know that when I knock on the door and announce, ‘Meals on Wheels’, I instantly brighten someone’s day,” said Vanessa Hartman, director of […]

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Spotlight: Laura Olson

Join us in welcoming Laura Olson to the UWATX team as the Family Services Coordinator for Success by 6! Laura sat down with us to give us a bit of her background and share what she hopes to accomplish in her new role with United Way. What is your background, both in the community and professionally, prior to working with United Way?  I have lived in Austin for twenty years. I’ve been working in education since I graduated from Earlham College where I got my B.A. in Spanish. I was a high school Spanish teacher and grade school teacher for eight years prior to having my children. Most of those years were spent teaching at the Austin Waldorf School and working to bring a holistic, artistic learning experience to children. I am the mother of five children ranging in ages 2 ½ to 15. Having my own children opened my eyes to the challenges and joys of parenthood, and brought about a desire to support families with young children in their journeys. It became clear to me how critical pregnancy and the first few years of life are in the formation of a child’s health, as well as that of his/her family. Following the footsteps of my mother and grandmother (both early childhood professionals) and because of my own personal passion, I served as the Director of Blossom Family Center, a parent education and resource center. I then served as Regional Director for LifeWays North America, where I trained caregivers and parents in […]

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City Council Candidate Forums Recap

Success By 6 hosted eight Austin City Council candidate forums in settings all over Austin to learn more about the candidates’ views on issues affecting families with young children. More than 40 of the 78 candidates participated in the non-partisan, positive conversations, and dozens of community residents took the chance to ask questions and learn more about the aspiring civic leaders. “My faith in democracy soared as I participated in these forums. The candidates were thoughtful, warm, and well-informed – and they truly want to serve their communities. After the elections, I plan to stay in touch with not only the new council members, but also with the cadre of amazing candidates who didn’t win. It is inspiring to see and hear their passion about our beautiful city and the neighborhoods they live in. I wish I could vote for more than one!”   Sue Carpenter, VP, Success By 6. When Austinites head to the ballot box this fall, we will be making decisions that will dramatically shake up the leadership structure of our community. Not only will we be electing a new mayor, but our influential city council will have at least nine new members – with one representative for each of ten newly formed districts. The council makes crucial decisions about how our city is managed and how to spend our precious tax dollars. Our goal for the forums was to learn more about each candidate – many who have never run for office before – and to […]

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