Being able to meet basic needs like safe housing, adequate food, and healthcare enables individuals and families to move from day-to-day existence toward the capacity to look to the future. Such a future could hold a steady job, a place to call their own - less time spent on the almost impossible decisions of a warm coat for a child, filling a prescription, something nutritious for supper.
In our communities, 43 percent of households struggle with these types of decisions every day.
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1 These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.
In 2008, United Way Worldwide launched a 10-year initiative to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018. It’s an ambitious goal, but by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve it.
We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.
How You Can Help
To reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parent involvement; literacy volunteers in the classroom; mentors for disadvantaged students; business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Volunteer to help.
Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or an addiction, United Ways are working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.
Since 2008, we’ve been working to achieve our bold, 10-year goal: to increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors by 2018.
Achieving our goal requires us all to become more aware of health risks and the potential effects they have on ourselves and others, starting from before birth. Working to change policies and practices, such as extending health care coverage, will enable more people to live healthier lives.
- More than 33% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. That’s 25 million kids and teenagers.
- Children with health coverage are better prepared to learn in school and succeed in life.1
- The number of Americans without health insurance has increased steadily since the beginning of the century, now totaling about 47 million. More than 80% are working families.2
- 8.7 million children live without health insurance – more than the total number enrolled in the first and second grades in U.S. public schools.3
Community Health Resources - This list is provided for your convenience. We do not guarentee its completeness or accuracy.
1Institute of Medicine. From Neurons to Neighborhood: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2000.)
2Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates from the March Current Population Survey, 2007 Supplement.
3Compiled by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), University of Minnesota School of Public Health, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey 2007.
As many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and education and currently, 40 million Americans are working in low-paying jobs without basic health and retirement benefits. For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way is here to help.
In 2008, United Way initiated an ambitious 10-year plan to cut in half the number of lower-income families who are financially unstable. With your help, we believe that by 2018 we can help 1.9 million working families get on the road to economic independence.
To address the obstacles that prevent hard working families from getting ahead financially, we launched the Financial Stability Partnership™, an initiative that promotes community-change strategies to help families meet their basic needs, while gaining the financial capability to plan for, and accomplish, their long-term financial goals.
Over 300 United Ways and their local community partners are engaged in activities and initiatives to help build the financial stability of families in their communities.
How You Can Help
Volunteers make United Ways’ tax assistance and financial education programs possible. We need your help, even if you don’t have an accounting background. Volunteer to help.