Tickets on Sale for United Way Brews and Brains Fundraiser

Local residents can enjoy independent craft brews and trivia in an urban Biergarten at United Way’s 7th annual Brews and Brains fundraiser on Oct. 14, hosted by United Way’s Young Leaders Society and sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Tickets are on sale for the outdoor event at SacYard Community Tap House that also will include a raffle, commemorative pint glass, food and entertainment to raise funds for United Way’s work to create digital equity across the region. Tickets are expected to sell out. To purchase, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/YLS-Brews-Brains.

“Brews and Brains is one of the most anticipated trivia nights of the year,” said Eric Grabin, chair, United Way’s Young Leaders Society. “What can be better than trivia, brews and food while supporting the ongoing effort of United Way’s Digital Equity program and Young Leaders Society?”

United Way launched its three-year digital equity partnership with the City of Sacramento, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova and community nonprofits in July to close the local digital divide – unequal technology and internet access – that has expanded during the pandemic. Building on its pilot project with the City of Sacramento in fall 2020, United Way and its partners are working to address the issue of digital equity long-term both inside and beyond the city limits. The program will provide internet access for up to 1,000 households a year, refurbished desktop computers for up to 500 people per year and digital literacy training through online resources and classes.

With more than 24 million unconnected households nationwide, the digital divide disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 35 percent of adults who do not use broadband at home are older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority, and more likely to have a disability than those with a home connection. In Sacramento, there are neighborhoods where 25 percent of households have no internet access. To learn more, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Digital.

“The digital divide is not new, but it has expanded rapidly with the pandemic when so many parents began working from home and kids began learning remotely,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We need to address this issue immediately. We are grateful to United Way’s Young Leaders Society for recognizing that this is a critical program for achieving equity across the region, and for selecting this program for their fundraising work this year.”

United Way’s Young Leaders Society creates opportunities for young professionals who live or work in the California capital region to connect with peers and community leaders and give back through acts of service and volunteering. For more information or to join, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/YLS.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. With a mission to build stronger, healthier and more compassionate communities, the local United Way starts at square one: helping every family succeed so their community can too. Serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, the local United Way is working to meet its 20-year commitment to significantly reduce poverty in the region by building capacity in undervalued communities, creating meaningful partnerships, seeking equity in education and making social justice investments in families. For more information or to make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Make It Happen for Yolo County Receives $2.5K From Kelly Foundation

Make It Happen for Yolo County, a nonprofit serving youth in need ages 18-24, has received a grant of $2,500 from the Kelly Foundation in Sacramento to fully furnish homes for five Yolo County transition age youth, mostly foster youth, moving out on their own for the first time in 2021.

“All of the youth we serve struggle with lack of resources and support and often feel forgotten as they move out on their own, especially during the pandemic,” said Jan Judson, board president, Make It Happen for Yolo County. “The social workers we work with have told us they have clients living in essentially empty apartments, causing a negative impact on their mental and physical health. We are grateful to our community and partners like the Kelly Foundation for ensuring transition age youth in need feel cared for and have the resources to be successful first-time renters.”

Make It Happen for Yolo County works with county social workers and other organizations to help clients complete a wish list of desired household items, and directly coordinates with clients to select items at the group’s storage units. Thanks to donated furniture from the community, it costs an average of $500 to fully provide for one home, including furnishings and appliances for a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area, as well as cleaning supplies.

Make It Happen for Yolo County is a volunteer-run nonprofit providing transition age youth (ages 18-24), predominantly foster youth, in Yolo County with the furnishings, household goods and resources needed to move into their first apartments. The group receives furniture donations from the community and purchases new appliances and household items to help youth involved with the Yolo County child welfare, mental health and probation divisions, as well as the UC Davis Guardian Scholars program for students who have experienced foster care. Since its founding in 2014, Make It Happen for Yolo County has helped more than 100 Yolo County transition age youth. To make a financial or furniture donation, visit MIHYolo.org.

The Kelly Foundation makes grants to various charitable organizations in the community including, but not limited to, education institutions, hospitals, cultural activities and groups for the benefit of children. For more information, visit KellyFoundationSacramento.org.

Celebrate Women’s Empowerment’s 20th Anniversary

As Sacramento nonprofit Women’s Empowerment celebrates its 20th anniversary year empowering women and children experiencing homelessness, community members are invited to enjoy take-out meals from local restaurants on Sept. 30 at 6:30pm for the group’s virtual gala fundraiser. The event is sponsored in part by the Poswall Family Foundation and will include a 20th anniversary video featuring graduates from the past two decades, live auction and award presentation. The annual gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, raising a fifth of the group’s budget.

Anyone can watch the virtual gala at no cost but should RSVP to receive an early look at auction items. Those who purchase a VIP ticket for $200 will receive a meal for two from their choice of Alaro Craft Brewery, Mulvaney’s B&L or Matteo’s. Meals will include starters, entrées, dessert, and wine or cocktails to enjoy at home while streaming the gala online. Those who become host partners at $1,500 can host up to 10 people, receiving meals from the restaurants, as well as a snack platter, centerpiece and more. Community members also are needed to sponsor graduates at $100 so they can attend a backyard dinner the night of the gala to safely celebrate their success together. To purchase tickets, sponsor a graduate or RSVP, visit womens-empowerment.ejoinme.org/WEGala. Ticket and sponsorship sales close Sept. 13.

“This is a night to gather our incredible community that has made it possible for two decades of women and children to overcome homelessness in the face of daunting hurdles,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “As we move into our next decade of work, we carry with us a pandemic and housing crisis. We will need every resource possible to ensure we can continue as a community to support our graduates as they work to rise from homelessness amidst formidable circumstances. Community members who purchase gala tickets will help jumpstart our financial resources for the next decade.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment provides a nine-week employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness. Women’s Empowerment offers the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women experiencing homelessness and their children. Eighty-two percent of graduates secure a job or enroll in school. Despite the housing crisis, 75 percent regain a safe home for themselves and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,710 women and their 3,802 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through grants and private donations from the community. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

United Way Seeks School Supplies for Twin Rivers Public Housing Students

Local residents can help students in the Twin Rivers Public Housing Community, formerly known as Dos Rios, return to school this month equipped and empowered to succeed by purchasing school supplies from the Amazon wishlist set up by United Way California Capital Region and Urban Strategies, Inc. From scissors and calculators to paper and pens, supplies are needed by Aug. 27 and can be purchased by visiting YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

“After a school year unlike any other, we want to make sure Twin Rivers students are equipped and empowered to succeed when they head back to school this month,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “As part of United Way’s work to end poverty in our region, we must start by ensuring that every family and community has what it needs to succeed, and that includes making sure all children have the supplies to be successful in school.”

United Way and Urban Strategies have been partnering with the Twin Rivers Public Housing Community over the past year during the redevelopment to the new Mirasol Village. Urban Strategies was contracted by Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to provide family support services to residents during the redevelopment. United Way partnered with Urban Strategies to work closely with residents to build their capacity to lead and to advocate for their community and household. This partnership has resulted in tangible outcomes and results for families and youth. The school supply drive is the latest partnership with the Twin Rivers community.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. With a mission to build stronger, healthier and more compassionate communities, the local United Way starts at square one: helping every family succeed so their community can too. Serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, the local United Way is working to meet its 20-year commitment to significantly reduce poverty in the region by building capacity in undervalued communities, creating meaningful partnerships, seeking equity in education and making social justice investments in families. For more information or to make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Local Doctor to Run Castle Peak 100K to Support Sacramento Life Center

Local physician Dr. Timothy Phelan will run one of the most difficult trail races in the country, the Castle Peak 100K in Truckee, on Aug. 14 to raise funds for the Sacramento Life Center’s work to help low-income women improve their health during pregnancy. Phelan practices at Creekside OB/GYN of Folsom and has completed 50 competitive running events in the last 10 years, including 10 road marathons and 18 ultra-marathons. This is his third fundraiser for the Sacramento Life Center, raising more than $15,000 total in his previous 40K and 50K runs. Phelan hopes to raise $10,000 during the Castle Peak 100K. To make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

“Not all women have access to the support and resources they need for a healthy pregnancy and baby,” Phelan said. “The Sacramento Life Center offers a safe place for women to find the compassion and support they need to become a parent.”

The Castle Peak 100K is a mountain foot race covering more than 62 rugged miles. The race starts on the Pacific Crest in Truckee at the Donner Ski Ranch before ascending and descending more than 15,000 feet at an average elevation of 7,400 feet above sea level. The course travels roughly 95 percent of demanding single-track trails while journeying through some of the most dramatic scenery and vistas Tahoe has to offer.

Funds raised during Phelan’s run in the Castle Peak 100K will provide Sacramento Life Center’s pregnant moms with health education, as well as medical care, prenatal vitamins and more.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Phelan for his commitment to help our moms stay healthy during pregnancy, especially during these difficult times,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “The Sacramento Life Center is a central resource where women who are pregnant and in need can access everything they need to be healthy, successful mothers. We saw a sharp rise in need when the pandemic hit, so any gifts to Dr. Phelan’s fundraiser will make a big difference in the lives of pregnant women right here in Sacramento.”

The Sacramento Life Center’s mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and mobile clinic that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, patient advocacy for men and women, education and resource referrals. In 2018, the Sacramento Life Center achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, which ensures the group has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of high-quality health care. The nonprofit also offers a 24-hour hotline and program for women who have experienced pregnancy loss. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit www.svpclinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit www.saclife.org.

United Way Launches 3-Year Digital Equity Partnership

In a press conference today, United Way California Capital Region launched its three-year digital equity partnership with the City of Sacramento, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova and community nonprofits to close the local digital divide – unequal technology and internet access – that has expanded during the pandemic. Building on its pilot project with the City of Sacramento in fall 2020, United Way and its partners are working to address the issue of digital equity long-term both inside and beyond the city limits.

“The digital divide is not new, but it has expanded rapidly with the pandemic when so many parents began working from home and kids began learning remotely,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We need to address this issue immediately, and we need to be looking at how we can continue working toward digital equity long after the pandemic ends. This program is doing exactly that, and we are grateful to have so many community partners who recognize that this is a systemic issue and critical for achieving equity across the region.”

United Way is partnering with select community-based nonprofits to identify and triage households eligible for broadband assistance, computers and devices, and basic digital literacy. These selected nonprofits will work with digital champions – community residents with technological skills who speak multiple languages – to provide outreach and case management in targeted geographic areas. Other partners, including local school districts, will provide outreach and referrals. Community hub partners, such as social service providers, will provide outreach, direct assistance and basic digital literacy and will work with the digital champions.

“Closing the digital divide is crucial to ensuring that everyone in our region can access educational and economic opportunity,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “I’m proud that as a city, we have invested nearly $200 million over the past three years directly in community programs like these, working with dedicated partners like United Way, SMUD and our many nonprofits that work tirelessly to make Sacramento a more equitable place.”

With more than 24 million unconnected households nationwide, the digital divide disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 35 percent of adults who do not use broadband at home are older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority, and more likely to have a disability than those with a home connection. In Sacramento, there are neighborhoods where 25 percent of households have no internet access.

“SMUD’s goal is to improve the lives of our customers, and we’re doing that through innovative partnerships that serve those in greatest need,” said SMUD Director Gregg Fishman. “Our Sustainable Communities program is working throughout the region to provide equity and access to under-resourced communities so everyone has the same opportunity to thrive. Closing the digital divide will play a key role in uplifting our community.”

Eligible households can complete an initial screening application, and once approved, will be considered for a variety of services, including internet access for up to 2,000 households a year, refurbished desktop computers for up to 500 people per year and digital literacy training through online resources and classes. Through the program, households will receive a year of free internet access either through Comcast Digital Essential Services’ broadband or through an AT&T hot spot, with priority given to low-income households with children and senior citizens. Those in need of digital literacy will receive a list of online sites or may be referred to partner nonprofits with access to virtual or in-person classes. The program’s digital champions will provide basic digital literacy support including web forms, email set-up, internet research and access to resources. For eligibility requirements: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Digital or 211.

Over the course of three months in fall 2020, United Way’s pilot program with the City of Sacramento, which was spearheaded by Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby, distributed 949 laptops and 266 hotspots and trained 115 participants, creating the foundation for the broader partnership.

“Bridging the digital divide is a moral imperative,” said Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby. “Championing this effort during the pandemic has been an honor and has created a path forward to continuing the work of connecting our neighborhoods to affordable, fast, reliable access to the internet.”

The program is funded through City of Sacramento, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova and United Way California Capital Region. The portion of funding from United Way comes from the $10 million gift it received from renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in December 2020.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. With a mission to build stronger, healthier and more compassionate communities, the local United Way starts at square one: helping every family succeed so their community can too. Serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, the local United Way is working to meet its 20-year commitment to significantly reduce poverty in the region by building capacity in undervalued communities, creating meaningful partnerships, seeking equity in education and making social justice investments in families. For more information or to make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for almost 75 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies and sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit SMUD.org.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $10K From TEGNA Foundation

Women’s Empowerment recently received a $10,000 grant from TEGNA Foundation to help women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento find employment and a safe home for themselves and their children. TEGNA owns Sacramento television station ABC10 and recently featured Women’s Empowerment on its “Your California Life” segment as a grant recipient and provided gift bags for students in the most recent class.

“We are deeply honored that TEGNA chose to award us double the amount we requested because they believed so strongly in our work to empower women to overcome homelessness in Sacramento,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Community partners like the TEGNA Foundation are vital to the work we do.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment provides a full nine-week employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so all women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness. Women’s Empowerment offers the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women experiencing homelessness, and their children. Eighty-two percent of the graduates secure a job or enroll in school. Despite the housing crisis, 75 percent regain a safe home for themselves and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,710 women and their 3,802 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

“When we go through this process of identifying and awarding community grants, we try to discover and help organizations that typically don’t get much attention,” said Risa Omega, ABC10 president and general manager. “We’re thrilled that this led us to Women’s Empowerment and that we were able to provide them with a grant that can help them continue to fulfill the incredible role they play in our community.”

ABC10 is an Emmy-award winning multimedia company that provides news coverage and entertainment programs for residents in a 16-county area reaching across Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto, as well as in Sierra Nevada and foothill communities in California. ABC10 strives to represent each community and viewer it serves through empowering storytelling, impactful investigations and diverse voices. 

ABC10 is owned by TEGNA Media Inc., one of the most geographically diverse broadcasters in the U.S., with 66 television stations and two radio stations in 54 markets. Viewers can find breaking news, weather updates and much more on most platforms, including social media, the ABC10 mobile app, streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV, and at ABC10.com.

The TEGNA Foundation is a corporate foundation sponsored by TEGNA Inc. (NYSE: TGNA), an innovative media company that serves the greater good of our communities. Through its programs, TEGNA Foundation helps to improve lives in the communities served by TEGNA Inc., invests in the future of the media industry, encourages employee giving and contributes to a variety of charitable causes. For more information, visit TEGNAFoundation.org.

Yolo Groups Team Up with Make It Happen for Yolo County

The West Plainfield 4H Club and Discovery Christian Church in Davis recently worked with nonprofit Make It Happen for Yolo County to conduct service projects to help transition age youth in need, generally defined as ages 18-24 and predominantly foster youth, furnish their homes and become successful first-time renters. Discovery Christian Church sent a volunteer group of 10 in late May to deep clean and reorganize the four Make It Happen furniture storage units in Davis. Two weeks later, four members of West Plainfield 4H Club purchased and assembled furniture as a life skills project to donate to transition age youth.

“We can’t thank the West Plainfield 4H Club and Discovery Christian Church enough for their generosity of time and resources to help the amazing youth we serve,” said Jan Judson, board president, Make It Happen for Yolo County. “Partnerships like these not only are vital to the work we do, they also show our clients that there is a community that cares about them and their success in life.”

The West Plainfield 4H Club life skills component is designed to help teens explore and learn skills for when they become independent. For the project, the club members, who range in age from 10th-12th grades and live in Woodland and Davis, secured funding, shopped according to a budget and assembled the furniture. 

“Because 4H also focuses on giving back to the community, many projects like this one have a service element,” said Laura Warner, co-leader, West Plainfield 4H Club. “The fact that the activity served their peer group made it all the more meaningful.”

Volunteers with Discovery Christian Church helped prepare the storage units for the furniture donation from 4H by cleaning them from top to bottom and reorganizing the furniture and household goods already being stored in the units.

Make It Happen for Yolo County is a volunteer-run nonprofit providing transition age youth in Yolo County with the furnishings, household goods and resources needed to move into their first apartments. The group receives furniture donations from the community and purchases new appliances and household items to help youth involved with the Yolo County child welfare, mental health and probation divisions, as well as the UC Davis Guardian Scholars program. Since its founding in 2014, Make It Happen for Yolo County has helped more than 100 Yolo County transition age youth. To make a financial or furniture donation, visit mihyolo.org.

Society for the Blind Receives $15K From Union Bank

Society for the Blind recently received $15,000 from the MUFG Union Bank Foundation to provide alternative independent living and employment skills for youth and working-age adults with vision loss so they can continue their career paths or begin employment. The grant will fund the group’s employment services that include its core blindness skills program and its CareersPLUS program with tracks for youth and adults.

“Though unemployment skyrocketed during the pandemic, most people are surprised to hear that unemployment for people with vision loss has been a whopping 70 percent for decades,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “At Society for the Blind, we always say that people with vision loss can still do almost anything they want – they just have to adapt to do it another way. The same is true in the workplace. We are grateful to the MUFG Union Bank Foundation for helping us expand our employment training skills so we can raise the number of people with vision loss who are gainfully employed.”

Through its core blindness skills program, Society for the Blind offers orientation and mobility training to help people navigate with and without a white cane, computers and assistive technology training, Braille literacy, and alternative techniques for cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. Society for the Blind’s CareersPLUS program includes tracks for youth and adults, providing comprehensive, age-appropriate career readiness, career exploration activities, workshops and a mentor program for teens and young adults experiencing vision loss. Society for the Blind has been expanding its employment-readiness program for youth and working-age adults, even more rapidly when the pandemic hit and services became remote. In addition to its in-house programs, the group is now partnering with the Blind Institute of Technology in Colorado.

“Helping provide these adaptive skills greatly enhances the opportunities for success in career and life for these individuals,” said Ashley Abenoja-Bocek, MUFG Union Bank Foundation relationship manager for Northern California. “Additionally, this assists the business communities with developing qualified local talent to meet their growing needs.”

For 67 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for nearly 6,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

The MUFG Union Bank Foundation strives to builder stronger communities around the world in providing financial and volunteer resources and business expertise in the areas of affordable housing, community economic and youth development, social services and environmental stewardship. Initiatives include strengthening diversity, inclusion and social justice programs in many communities served.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $15K From Nationwide Foundation

Women’s Empowerment recently received a $15,000 grant from Nationwide Foundation to help women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento find employment and a safe home for themselves and their children. Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation are long-time partners of Women’s Empowerment, providing funding every year for the past 12 years.

“The Nationwide Foundation has been a steadfast and important partner in working to end family homelessness in Sacramento,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “This funding has allowed us to pivot our services over the years to meet the current challenges faced by women working to overcome homelessness. When the Great Recession hit, we created our paid job training programs to ensure our graduates would not fall back into homelessness. When the housing crisis intensified, we created our property management paid training program in a field that provides housing on the managed property. When the pandemic hit, we began creating new paid training programs in recession-resilient industries. Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation have always been by our side.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Women’s Empowerment provides a full eight-week employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so all women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness. Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women experiencing homelessness, and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,702 women and their 3,792 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To donate: Womens-Empowerment.org.