United Way awards $270,000 to local nonprofits

July 13, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Over the last few decades, the cost of living has outpaced the growth of household income. As a result, many local families are borrowing heavily and making hard decisions just to make ends meet.

Without adequate, stable, and affordable housing and food, these families often deal with poor health, home life disruptions, relationship conflicts, frequent moves, school changes, and job losses. Housing and food insecurity are particularly harmful to children’s development and future success.

Improving household and financial stability leads to greater job stability, improved academic performance, better health, and a more prosperous community for all.

That’s why United Way of Washington County is focusing local efforts on improving family-sustaining employment and financial and household stability.

In June, a panel of 13 community volunteers evaluated applications for financial stability program funding. The volunteers interviewed agency representatives and arrived at a consensus, allocating $270,000 to eight local programs, including two programs that are new to United Way:

Project SEARCH – Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin

This transition and career training program provides opportunities for adults with disabilities. The evidence-based workplace immersion program takes place in a host business, combining classroom instruction with hands-on career exploration. The program focuses on individuals 18-35 years of age.

Independent Living Services – Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington County Workforce Development

This new initiative will assist young adults aging out of foster care or other residential facilities. The program will help these individuals become self-sufficient by providing training on key independent living topics, including housing, employment, education, transportation, health/well-being, and interpersonal relationships.

Each program will receive United Way funding through 2020, contingent on successful year-end reviews. Every year, United Way of Washington County accepts applications under one of their three focus areas: Education, Financial Stability, and Health. Next year, applications will be accepted for health-related programs.

“United Way knows that financial stability is one of the cornerstones for a good life,” said Kristin Brandner, Executive Director. “When families aren’t stable, our community suffers. That’s why these programs are so important. Thank you to all the generous donors, advocates, and volunteers who make this possible. Your gift is changing lives!”

2018-2020 United Way Funded Financial Stability Programs

  • Disaster Services – American Red Cross
  • Bicultural Workforce Development – Casa Guadalupe Education Center
  • Budget & Counseling Services – Consumer Credit Counseling Services
  • Project SEARCH – Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin
  • Homeless Services – Family Promise of Washington County
  • Food Distribution – Full Shelf Food Pantry
  • Opening Doors – Friends, Inc.
  • Independent Living – Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington County Workforce Development

In addition to funding these programs, United Way of Washington County is helping implement a new program for high school students called Inspire Washington County.

Inspire Washington County is an innovative cross-sector partnership that unites educators and employers to address career- and life-ready skills gaps, establish a talent pipeline for local businesses, and build awareness of career and employment opportunities in Washington County.

The Inspire program will integrate with software currently being used at local high schools in order to connect students with local business partners that offer high-impact career-based learning opportunities.

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