Happy New Year from United Way
CEO Stephanie Bray's look forward to 2019

Blog Stephanie McLemore Bray
January 2019 Blog

Happy New Year! 

Our United Way is excited for 2019. While we can certainly look back and celebrate our accomplishments, we look forward to new opportunities to make a difference for children and families through our Square One Project. 

This month marks National Poverty in America Awareness Month by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD.) They remind us that more than 37 million Americans live in poverty; 13 million of them are children. Yet, according to the CCHD, a recent Gallup poll found that only 5% of Americans believe poverty and homelessness are important problems for the country. 

Our United Way is proud of our commitment to end poverty, starting at school. We are also grateful to you, our donors and volunteers, for joining us in this fight. 

We are steadfast in our belief that access to education beyond high school can help break the cycle of poverty. We remain committed to the long game: we know that the investments we are making today through our partnership with the Robla School District will yield returns well into the future. Most of the students in that school district will be the first in their families to continue their education after high school. Whether they pursue a four-year-degree or vocational-technical training, those students are getting the support they need so that they are well-prepared no matter what path they choose.

This should matter to all of us who live in this region, especially potential employers who will need a future workforce to start or grow their businesses. 

Looking ahead, we will be expanding our Square One Project in this region so that more students and families will benefit from our partnership with nonprofit organizations, government, and businesses to provide access to opportunities for everyone to thrive. Our plans for 2019 include:

  • Partnering with more school districts to provide literacy support for students struggling to read at grade level.
  • Convening our first ever Foster Youth Summit to create a plan for increasing the number of foster youth who graduate from high school and go on to some form of higher education.
  • Partnering with the City of Sacramento to create financial empowerment centers as a service for all city residents who want to learn how to reduce their debt, increase their savings, improve their credit scores, and save for the future.
  • Increasing access to summer learning opportunities through our summer meal program so that students not only receive a healthy meal during a time when food insecurity is highest, but they also get the support they need to stay on track, avoiding the “summer slide.”
  • Ensuring that kids in the Robla School District can start an education savings account to fund their dream of continuing beyond high school to college or career training. 

As I have said time and again, we cannot do this work alone. No one sector can. It also takes an army of donors and volunteers. That’s why in 2019, we will need your continued support.

So, as we recognize National Poverty in America Awareness Month, our United Way is doubling down on our commitment to reducing poverty in our region and we hope you will stay the course with us.