Ensure Strong Support
A healthy support system is critical for children to succeed in school. We are making sure kids have everything they need, from healthy meals and stable homes, to supportive adults and strong relationships.
Research shows that the ability to read at grade level by the end of third grade helps students master complex subjects in fourth grade and beyond. Today, four out of five low-income students and two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders have missed this important milestone.
Together we can change this.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is national and offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), California EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
Too many households in Sacramento – 14 percent – do not have a checking or savings account. Even among those households that do, a full 23 percent still also use predatory financial services such as payday loans and check cashing. This means they are paying way too much in fees just to access their own money.
United Way’s Women United raises funds to help foster youth prepare to be self-sufficient once they leave the foster care system. Through a special bank account called an Individual Development Account (IDA), for every dollar a foster youth saves, an additional dollar is placed into the account and can be used to purchase specific items such as transportation, education, computers, rent and health insurance. While saving, foster youth take financial literacy classes and learn how to build a savings account, comparison shop and budget.
Nearly 40 percent of households in our region live in liquid asset poverty, which means they do not have enough savings on hand to support oneself or their family at the poverty level for three months in the event of a job loss or other financial emergency.
Our Network works to increase the number of Sacramento region households that are asset-secure through innovative partnerships, programs and policies that reduce economic insecurity by building financial stability and success.
In January 2016, we launched a two-generation initiative to improve kids’ academic stability and achievement by helping at-risk households in the Robla School District to address housing and financial instability in both the short and long term. Our lead partner is Mutual Assistance Network, with support from Sacramento Self-Help Housing and Roberts Family Development Center.
In 2013, our United Way launched a Financial Coaching network of six organizations in our region that were seeking to help their constituents build long-term financial security.
Thanks to significant investments in 2016 from Citi Community Development and JPMorgan Chase, we recently grew the scale of our support for this work by creating a Financial Coaching Training and Certification initiative.