United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) selected 26 Austin nonprofit agencies to be awarded a total of $1.466 million in grants to fund early childhood education and 2-Generation (2-Gen) programming as part of their 2018-2021 Community Investment Grants (CIG).
United Way creates a community of support by partnering with critical community stakeholders. UWATX convenes this community of stakeholders to identify proven strategies and invest in high-quality, data-driven programs. CIG’s seek to amplify the collective impact of organizations already providing critical services to Austin’s youngest, most vulnerable children and their families.
2018-2021 CIG funded partners include:
The path to poverty starts at an early age. Children living in low-income households do not have access to the same opportunities as their more advantaged peers and when parents struggle to access social and economic opportunities, breaking the cycle of generational seems unimaginable.
“It means so much to the Mainspring kids, families and staff that you lead this effort in Central Texas and allow this mission to flourish.” Mainspring Schools Executive Director, Jason Gindele said. “As I’ve said before, I have the utmost admiration for the partnership between our organizations and I’m thrilled that we can work together in this capacity.”
In Travis County, 42 percent of all children under six years of age are living in low-income families. That’s almost 40,000 children who wake up each morning in homes where economic insecurity can force families to choose between paying their ever-rising rent or purchasing groceries. Households where higher education and job training can feel out of reach for parents struggling to provide for their families.
“The entire team at Jeremiah Program is excited to be selected as a Community Partner with the UWATX in the 2-Gen work occurring in Austin,” Jeremiah Program Family Services Manager, Valerie Eubert said. “The support from the UWATX is essential to the ongoing work of transforming lives two generations at a time.”
UWATX focuses funding in two priority areas:
- Success By 6 – Early Childhood Development: Ninety percent of all brain development occurs before age five, and children who enter kindergarten school ready are set on a path for success tied to third-grade reading, high school graduation and future job prospects. United Way leads a community coalition aligned with the School Readiness Action Plan that seeks to ensure all in our community children are happy, health and set up for success in school and life. Success By 6 CIG investments support organizations achieving outcomes in this action plan.
- 2-Gen – Wrap-Around Family Support: Many families in our community struggle to get by, and low-income families experience a complex network of challenges that hamper their ability to get ahead. 2-Gen CIGs address two generations in each family by supporting programs that bridge this complex network and collaborate to provide families with equitable access to economic and social opportunities. This year the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is supporting United Way’s leadership in the creation of a 2-Gen strategic plan for Greater Austin and has committed additional funds to these CIG awards.
With these two areas, UWATX amplifies community resources that can address holistic family needs and fight the root causes of poverty.
Selecting and Awarding CIGs:
From January to March, a group of 40 reviewers evaluated agency proposals for alignment with UWATX strategic priorities for community impact and organizational capacity. Reviewers came from diverse backgrounds with equally diverse ties to UWATX. Differing perspectives, backgrounds and ties to the community are an important aspect of the review process, ensuring that proposals are given diverse consideration.
“Participating in the review process made me feel tied to my community in a way I did not before,” CIG Reviewer, Cale Reeves said. “I learned about a number of programs that do an enormous amount of good, and I am happy that I was able to participate and help.”
These grants are made possible by the contributions of thousands of community investors through United Way employee giving campaigns each year, and many volunteer reviewers also gave through their company campaign.