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Success Story Written by: Amy Williamson, Financial Stability Program Officer

Coaches need coaching too
On June 6 and 7, thanks to support from Citi Community Development, our United Way hosted nationally-renowned financial coaching expert Saundra Davis of Sage Financial Solutions for a regional training event.

After we’ve flown a certain number of times in our lives, we tend to tune out the emergency instructions given by the flight attendants. Yes, yes, we think subconsciously – I already know that I need to put the oxygen mask on myself before I try to assist others.

But how many of us apply this advice in our own lives on the ground? This is an especially important issue for people working in helping professions. How can we help others tackle challenges and pursue their goals and dreams if we’re not fully doing that for ourselves?

United Way Hero Written by: Amy Williamson, Financial Stability Program Officer

Spotlight on VITA Coordinator, Diana Clay

Last year at about this time, I was thrilled that our United Way decided to take on the leadership role for Sacramento’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) coalition at the request of Community Link, which ran it for its first decade.

VITA is an amazing program that saves thousands of local low-income families lots of money by offering free filing by IRS-certified volunteers, and also helps them claim (collectively) millions of dollars through the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits. Households who file through VITA get average refunds of more than $2,000, and some get as much as $6,000. My job is to help people build financial stability, and that money goes a long way toward that end.

Sounds great, right? And it is. But while I was thrilled, I was also a bit daunted to say the least. VITA is a very complex endeavor and I knew we needed to bring in the right expertise. While I was immediately thinking about the fundraising I’d need to do, I got an invitation to last year’s tax season wrap-up and debrief at our local IRS office. It was there that Diana Clay introduced herself to me.

Post Written by: Stephanie M. Bray

We’re celebrating all we are thankful for in 2015
During this season of Thanksgiving, we have a lot to be thankful for!

During this season of Thanksgiving, we have a lot to be thankful for! Children at risk of falling behind in school are reading at grade-level. Low income families are becoming more financial stable. Hungry children in afterschool programs in low income communities are being fed. We could not do this work without the support of donors and volunteers like you.

We are especially thankful for those we are honoring this year for outstanding service and support of our United Way.

Blog Stephanie McLemore Bray Written by: Stephanie M. Bray
Stephanie McLemore Bray
President and CEO, United Way California Capital Region

Why do YOU give to United Way?
There a many reasons why giving to United Way is THE best way to help those in need.

For 25 years I have worked in the nonprofit community. During that time, I have seen many changes in how people give to support their favorite causes. When United Way was started in the late 1800s, it was a way for people to contribute to a community chest to help their neighbors. Through direct mail, online giving and now crowdfunding, people have more choices than ever when it comes to how they give to the charities they want to support. So, I am not surprised that people are wondering why give to United Way when I can give directly to my favorite charitable organization?

There a many reasons why giving to United Way is THE best way to help those in need.

  • When you give to United Way, you are helping to improve literacy rates for children at risk of dropping out of school, providing a safety net for foster youth who have no other resources, and you are helping to provide healthy, nutritious meals to children who often do not have enough to eat.
  • United Way connects donors to nonprofit organizations that would have a tough time doing it on their own. Most charitable organizations have under $100,000 in assets which means that they don’t have marketing budgets or even fundraising budgets. United Way provides them with a way to get in front of people to tell their story.
  • United Way makes it easy for donors to support local nonprofits. We ensure that those organizations are fiscally sound so that donors don’t have to and we enable donors to give small amounts over time that make a BIG impact in the community.
  • We help companies that want to give back to the community by matching them with nonprofits. Our annual Day of Caring is one example of how we help business leaders and their employees support their local communities. This year, more than 116 companies and groups participated in the day contributing more than 4,206 volunteer hours!

Why do YOU give to United Way?

Success Story Written by: Erica Lee, Health Education Council

Health Education Council and Young Leaders Society Ask Students to Rethink Their Drinks
In Sacramento County, 30 percent of children are considered overweight or obese.

Unless you’ve been reading this blog with your eyes closed lately, you likely already know about the outstanding work the Young Leader’s Society (YLS) has done to raise more than $25,000 to support United Way’s Hydration Station Initiative in the Robla School District. What you may not know is that in order to support the use of the hydration stations, United Way has teamed up with the Health Education Council to ask Robla students and their families to Rethink Your Drink.

Blog By Maihnia Lee
Practicing what we preach – Healthy Eating & Active Living

Practicing what we preach – Healthy Eating & Active Living

I had the pleasure of attending the HEAL Collaborative Promising Practices Exchange 2015. More than 100 agencies came together at the beautiful Falls Event Center in Elk Grove to discuss promising practices and celebrate the work surrounding health policies, programs, and services within low-income and high-need communities.

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My Day at the Grant High GEO Garden
Lauren Lee, Government Relations Manager

I have to admit, on my way to my volunteer activity for Young Leaders Society I was tired and almost cancelled at the last minute. My email inbox was full and I was behind on some projects. It would have been so easy to cancel. But then I reminded myself that would the easy way out and that I’ve never gone to a volunteer event that I’ve regretted. I always walk away with a sense of fulfillment and pride; a feeling that I helped make my community a better place. So I got out of the car and went to the Grant High Geo Garden with a (forced) smile on my face. 

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Let’s Play!
#PlayMatters

I can remember the thrill of swinging high in the air on the swing set at my local park when I was a kid. My friends and I would try to see who could swing the highest, then jump off the swing mid-air to see who could jump the furthest. It was freeing, it was exhilarating and let’s face it, it was FUN.

I can remember the fear, the good kind of fear, which would present itself the first time I did a flip on the uneven bars on the playground and how fun it was once I finally overcame my fears.