Society for the Blind Receives $15K From Whitmire Family Foundation

Seniors with vision loss in the Sacramento region will have greater access to tools for independence, thanks to a $15,000 grant from M&M Whitmire Family Foundation in Roseville to Sacramento-based nonprofit Society for the Blind. The grant will help fund Society for the Blind’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people 55 and older with alternative, non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform day-to-day tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase their independence.

“As the senior population continues to grow rapidly in Sacramento, it is imperative that we provide services that help them stay as independent as possible,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “When seniors begin to lose vision, they are not only three times more likely to fall and experience injury, they often feel profound loneliness. This grant from the M&M Whitmire Family Foundation helps us ensure they have a support system so they can feel hope and possibility.”

The Senior IMPACT Project includes an eight-day retreat offered monthly at Society for the Blind that gives seniors an immersion experience where they learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice alternative techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join in discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities.

For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources. The Senior IMPACT Project also includes monthly peer support groups for English and Spanish speakers and workshops throughout the year.

For more than 60 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 that included the Lions Clubs of America 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 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyForTheBlind.org.

The M&M Whitmire Family Foundation’s purpose is to assist children in need and senior care within the Sacramento area. For more information, call (916) 660-0573.

Society for the Blind Expands Onsite Retail Store Through New Partnership

Sacramento region residents with vision loss will have greater access to low-vision and blindness technology and products thanks to a new partnership between Sacramento nonprofit Society for the Blind and North State Assistive Technology in Chico that began Feb. 1. Through the partnership, Society for the Blind’s onsite retail store at 1238 S Street in Sacramento is now open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and will include weekend and evening appointments. The store, now called North State Assistive Technology at Society for the Blind, offers an expanded collection of assistive technology products with better pricing, in-home delivery and set-up, training and online shopping. For more information, visit SocietyForTheBlind.org/Store.

“This partnership ensures a one-of-a-kind retail store for our region that continues to offer products and devices for people with vision loss while also expanding to provide even better service to the many Sacramento region residents who are learning how to achieve fulfilling lives with vision loss,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind.

The expanded store features products and devices for people with low vision and those with no functional vision, including canes, talking clocks and calculators, kitchen products, and various video imaging and optical reader devices.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to bring more products and services to people living with low vision and blindness throughout all of Northern California,” said Cory Hanosh, owner, North State Assistive Technology.

For more than 60 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 that included the Lions Clubs of America 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 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyForTheBlind.org.

North State Assistive Technology is an industry leader and statewide resource for products, technology assessments and training on devices for people living with vision loss. For more information, visit NorthStateAT.com.

Free Tax Help Across Sacramento Region Through United Way

VITA volunteer helps a local resident file her taxes through United Way-led programs

Local households throughout the Sacramento region that earned $54,000 or less in 2017 can receive free tax help in person through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) effort led by United Way California Capital Region with support from Citi Community Development. The program will kick off at the first Super Saturday event on Jan. 27 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. For more Super Saturday events and weekday sites available during tax season, call (916) 498-1000 or visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/FreeTaxPrep. Sacramento residents can call 2-1-1.

“We want to make sure more Sacramento-area households are financially healthy, and that starts with not spending unnecessary money on tax preparation and making sure they receive all of the refunds to which they are entitled,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO.

Through VITA, the national IRS program that offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns, local IRS-certified volunteers will help Sacramento-region households claim tax credits, including federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. This year, more households are eligible to earn up to $6,500 in federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits, including those who are self-employed. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, however if they do file, they can claim the state and federal credits for which they are eligible. Those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed until Feb. 27.

“We want to encourage people to plan ahead for this delay instead of using refund advance products that can end up being very costly in the long run,” Bray said. “And don’t pay a preparer if you qualify for free VITA services. You won’t receive your refund sooner.”

Local households that made $66,000 or less in 2017 can file state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provides households with free tax help they can trust so they can maximize refunds and credits. As with VITA, the site helps people save an average of $200 in preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address, income forms and Adjusted Gross Income from 2017.

Funding support from Citi Community Development will enable United Way California Capital Region to increase capacity and reach of the local VITA program to meet additional need and demand over the next two years. The funding will help expand the number of sites offering free tax preparation and increase the number of volunteer tax preparers.

“Nearly 20 percent of households in the Sacramento region are living on low incomes, and nearly half lack the savings to sustain an unexpected shock to income,” said Vicki Joseph, Northern California market manager for Citi Community Development. “By expanding access to free tax preparation services, United Way is enabling more families in need to benefit from this vital tax credit and help build their financial resiliency.”

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2018 free tax preparation programs include U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union and SMUD. For a list of collaborating partners, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these free tax preparation programs as part of its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, the group harnesses Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all. For more information: CitiCommunityDevelopment.com, @Citi on Twitter, YouTube.com/Citi, http://Blog.Citi.com, Facebook.com/Citi and LinkedIn.com/company/citi.

 

 

Sacramento Life Center Baby Basket Drive Raises Most Funds Ever

The Sacramento Life Center’s fourth annual Baby Basket Drive for new moms raised the most funds of all four years, totaling $13,746, which will buy 275 baskets in 2018. The drive is held each December to kickstart the 500 baby baskets needed so that every Sacramento Life Center patient who gives birth in the coming year can receive a basket of needed items, including formula, diapers, newborn clothes, pacifiers and more.  Last year’s drive raised $8,470, which bought 170 baskets.

Donations will be accepted throughout 2018 and can be made online at www.saclife.org by writing Baby Basket Drive in the message box on the donation page. Gifts can be made in any increment, but a donation of $50 buys one basket.

“We were thrilled at how many people stepped up to be a baby’s first Santa this holiday season by donating to our Baby Basket Drive,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Many of our patients come in scared that they might be pregnant, and it’s our job to provide them with a warm, caring support system and resources that will sustain them long after the baby comes. These baskets give new parents a boost of confidence along with much needed supplies.”

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 two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. 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.

Society for the Blind Wraps Up National Fitness Challenge, Finishes 7th

More than 30 kids and adults with vision loss across the Sacramento region came together in November to learn Paralympic sports at Society for the Blind in Sacramento. The all-day event was the grand finale to Society for the Blind’s participation in the National Fitness Challenge sponsored by the United States Association of Blind Athletes and Anthem Foundation. The Paralympic event included clinics in rowing, golf, judo and goalball, as well as lunch and presentations by athletes leading the clinics.

“This was a really exciting day as we had kids as young as 10 and seniors up to age 85 learning favorite Paralympic sports and discovering ways to stay active and competitive with vision loss,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “This was such a fun way to wrap up our hard work in the National Fitness Challenge.”

Society for the Blind finished seventh in the challenge out of 13 groups across the nation – and one of only three in California – that competed in the United States Association of Blind Athletes’ and Anthem Blue Cross Foundation’s fifth annual National Fitness Challenge. Society for the Blind and its competitors provided more than 300 blind and visually impaired youth and adults with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives. Other California participants were Junior Blind in Los Angeles and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Bay Area.

When the National Fitness Challenge kicked off in Sacramento this past spring, participants who signed up with Society for the Blind had a number of physically challenging activities to look forward to. In efforts to increase participants’ levels and step counts, staff at Society for the Blind worked with dance instructors, personal trainers, judo instructors and more. In addition to raising their overall physical activity, participants became more aware of opportunities in their community.

For more than 60 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 that included the Lions Clubs of America 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 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation: www.SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind with a mission to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information: www.usaba.org, www.twitter.com/USABA or on Facebook as United States Association of Blind Athletes.

In addition to grant funding, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation will provide volunteers at events across the state during the nine-month program. Local employees will have the opportunity to meet participants and help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges.

®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. For more information: www.twitter.com/AskAnthem, www.twitter.com/AnthemBC_News or www.facebook.com/AskAnthem.

Be a Baby’s First Santa: Donate to Sacramento Life Center’s Baby Basket Drive

Local residents are invited to be a baby’s first Santa as Sacramento Life Center holds its annual Baby Basket Drive for local women and teens spending the holidays preparing to become new moms in the coming year. The drive runs through Dec. 31 so the Sacramento Life Center can provide a basket of needed items to every patient who gives birth in 2018. Donations can be made online at www.saclife.org. Gifts can be made in any increment, but a donation of $50 buys one basket, which includes formula, diapers, newborn clothes, pacifiers and more.

“One of the most overwhelming feelings is learning that you’re pregnant and fearing you won’t have the resources to care for your vulnerable baby,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Sometimes something as simple as a gift of diapers and newborn clothes can give expecting mothers the confidence that they have a support system to help raise their child. Gifts to our Baby Basket Drive give expecting mothers proof that they will always have a family here at the Sacramento Life Center and cheerleaders out in the community rooting for their family.”

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 two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. 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.

Holiday Stockings Needed for Formerly Homeless Women and Kids

Bring smiles to formerly homeless women and children this holiday season by contributing to Women’s Empowerment’s annual Holiday Stocking Drive. The group is seeking 250 unstuffed stockings and specific fillers for local infants and toddlers, children, teens and adult women.

“The women and children in our program have known the coldest, loneliest holiday seasons. The community’s simple gift of stockings brings immeasurable joy along with warm winter accessories as they celebrate their first holiday season in a home they can call their own,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment.

For the list of items needed, visit www.womens-empowerment.org. Those interested also can donate $35 to have a volunteer elf fill a stocking or donate $15 Target gift cards. Items are needed by Dec. 6 and can be dropped off at 1590 North A Street, Sacramento.

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 who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,457 homeless women and their 3,500 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 81 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation, visit www.womens-empowerment.org.

Sacramento Life Center Gala to Raise Funds for Low-Income Pregnant Women

More than 650 local residents will celebrate the Sacramento Life Center’s free medical care, resources and education for pregnant women and teens at the organization’s annual gala on Nov. 4. The event will begin at 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in Sacramento and will include a gourmet dinner, auction packages, raffle baskets, stories of people who have received help from the Sacramento Life Center this year, and guest speaker and author Melissa Ohden. For tickets: www.saclife.org.

“This gala is our largest fundraiser of the year and helps us continue to expand our reach and services to ensure low-income women and teens who are pregnant have the resources and support system they need to become amazing mothers to healthy babies,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center.

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 two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy testing, STI testing, ultrasounds, patient advocacy for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. 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 Receives $31K from U.S. Bank

United Way California Capital Region recently received a $31,000 grant from U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program to help fund United Way’s Square One Project. The project is the local United Way’s 20-year promise to end poverty by significantly increasing the number of students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond.

“Our Square One Project is about bringing the community together to make it possible for kids to succeed in adulthood,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We are honored that U.S. Bank Foundation has recognized this important work through its Community Possible program and provided the funds to make it happen.”

Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

“At U.S. Bank, we are focused on being a good corporate citizen and closing the gap between people and opportunity in local communities across the country,” said Pamela Maxwell, vice president of corporate social responsibility at U.S. Bank. “We invest our time, resources and passion in economic development by supporting efforts to create stable jobs, better homes and vibrant communities. On behalf of all of our employees in the region, we are so proud to partner with United Way California Capital Region to help fund the Square One Project.”

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. Philanthropic support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate giving program reached $54.2 million in 2016. Visit www.usbank.com/community.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, with $464 billion in assets as of June 30, 2017, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,088 banking offices in 25 states and 4,826 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com

Sacramento Singers and Artists Raise $13,000 for Women’s Empowerment

Photo by Manny Chavez Photography

More than 230 people raised $13,000 at Cabaret on K, sponsored by Capital Public Radio, which benefited Sacramento homeless women and children at local nonprofit Women’s Empowerment. Hosted in September in the newly opened basement at Capitol Plaza Ballrooms on K Street, the night featured performances of cabaret and jazz favorites with a mix of classical and musical theatre pieces. Artwork from local artists was on display and for sale, with 50 percent of the proceeds going directly to Women’s Empowerment. Funds raised will help women as they break the cycle of homelessness and build a brighter future for their families.

“Our Cabaret on K fundraiser was a great success,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Thanks to our singers, performers, donors, volunteers and our thriving local arts scene, we raised more than $12,000 to fund our mission of ending homelessness for good. It was a truly transformative night.”

Participating musicians included Carrie Hennessey, Omari Tau, Jen Reason, Sarah Fitch and Capital Public Radio’s Kevin Doherty. Artists Michele Knight, Whitney Lofrano, Art Street’s Angela Tannehill and Wide Open Walls muralist Norm Ayles sold pieces of art throughout the evening. Well-known local artist David Garibaldi also was in attendance.

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 who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,457 homeless women and their 3,500 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 81 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation, visit www.womens-empowerment.org.