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.

United Way Launches Literacy Effort, Needs Big Day of Giving Donations

United Way California Capital Region is launching a new literacy effort called STARS that pairs volunteers online with local kids learning to read. With the recent launch of the program, United Way California Capital Region will be raising funds for STARS on May 6, Big Day of Giving. Local residents are invited to participate by donating at various giving levels and sharing photos of themselves reading on social media.

“We know that if kids aren’t reading at grade level by fourth grade, they will have a hard time keeping up across multiple subjects for years to come,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Big Day of Giving is a great opportunity for community members to help local kids succeed in school and career and ultimately in life.”  

Though the STARS curriculum is funded by Union Pacific’s Community Ties, Big Day of Giving donations will help fund other costs of the program, including volunteer recruitment, background checks and supplies. To make a donation on Big Day of Giving or schedule a gift ahead of time starting April 22, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Big-Day-Giving. Participants also are invited to upload a photo reading a favorite book on social media using hashtags #BDOG2021 and #STARSLiteracy, and challenge friends to participate.

United Way’s STARS program already has paired nearly two dozen volunteers with children at Robla School District and CHOC housing sites in Yolo County to provide online tutoring through the platform Book Nook so kids struggling with literacy can reach grade level reading. Each student has already received an average of eight hours of tutoring and reading practice. The program will continue through the rest of the school year and will include a summer curriculum for children at the housing sites. United Way plans to expand STARS to additional schools in the fall and is in need of virtual volunteers year-round. For more information about STARS and to sign up to volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/STARS-0.

The local United Way has been helping children improve literacy for more than four years, most recently through its AARP Experience Corps program that paired retirees with children in schools before the pandemic hit.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way Announces First Wave of Community Funding From MacKenzie Scott Donation

United Way California Capital Region has approved a first wave of funding totaling $500,000 from the $10 million gift received in December from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The first wave of funding will help individuals and families in the region gain social and financial capital, support United Way’s digital equity work across the capital region, empower Sacramento residents to have a voice in a local redevelopment project and provide COVID-19 relief funding in Yolo County.

“We knew this gift from MacKenzie Scott would be a game-changer for our community, and I’m thrilled that we are able to begin distributing this much needed funding,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This first wave of funding will go a long way toward reaching the goals of our Square One Project that is working to provide family support and stability so kids can stay on track in school and graduate from high school prepared for success.”

$200,000 of the funding will go toward United Way’s Capital Region Independence Initiative that is providing direct investment in local individuals and families to amplify their financial and social capital. The initiative aims to address inequities in the region, increasing average monthly income, decreasing subsidies, improving children’s grades, increasing savings and improving families’ overall economic impact on the community through increased spending.

United Way is investing $150,000 of the funding in its digital equity work, with a match of $150,000 from SMUD over the next three years to fund local digital literacy and training programs, distribute laptops and hotspots to those in need, and address underlying factors that contribute to the digital divide. Working with community-based organizations, United Way will remove technological barriers to education and employment and build the digital capability of those in the community who are most acutely affected by the digital divide, prioritizing low-income households with children and senior citizens.

United Way will invest $50,000 in its work to give residents of Mirasol Village in Sacramento greater engagement and influence in its redevelopment and resettlement. United Way is working with residents to develop a comprehensive, results-driven plan based on a needs assessment and other data. The work will help residents self-advocate about how Mirasol Village is redeveloped, how the surrounding community is built and how they can reach their own life goals.

The first wave also is providing $100,000 in funding toward United Way’s Yolo County COVID-19 relief program, providing households in need in Yolo County with a one-time $500 payment. Local nonprofits will identify and qualify low-income families who are experiencing an increased financial hardship from unpaid leave due to isolation, care of a vulnerable or infected relative, loss of wages due to involuntary cancellation of work or unpaid leave due to school or daycare closures.

Scott chose the local United Way chapter to receive the $10 million gift in December because of the group’s work to fill basic needs while also addressing long-term systemic inequities that have deepened during the pandemic.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Society for the Blind Celebrates Grand Opening of Annex

More than 130 guests celebrated the grand opening of Society for the Blind’s Carl R. Otto Annex earlier this month, an expansion of the nonprofit’s facility in Midtown that now includes a training center, senior teaching kitchen and dedicated music room. The event included performances by the music program, ribbon cutting, champagne toast and speeches by Vice Mayor Jeff Harris, Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen and California Department of Rehabilitation Director, Joe Xavier.

The annex is named after Carl Otto of Otto Construction, who passed away in 2007 and served on Society for the Blind’s board of directors. Otto led the initial campaign to renovate the building, and his company, Otto Construction, played a key role. His daughter, Allison Otto, is past president and current secretary of Society for the Blind’s board of directors and co-chaired the group’s Vision 2020 campaign to expand services for the more than 100,000 people with vision loss living in the greater Sacramento region. The campaign raised $4.5 million to complete the annex, serve the growing number of seniors in need of services to stay independent, empower clients through education and training, create an endowment, expand the onsite Low Vision Clinic and upgrade technology.

“We are grateful to the many people in the Sacramento region who contributed to the Vision 2020 campaign and are making it possible for the growing number of people living with vision loss to access our services, workshops and events,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “The Otto Annex will increase our ability to serve more people who need to learn blindness skills and who are looking for fun social events with other people experiencing vision loss.”

For 66 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.

Free Tax Help Still Available This Summer for Late Filers

Households that missed the April 15 tax deadline can still receive free help filing their 2018 taxes this summer at several locations across the Sacramento region, thanks to United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program, supported by Citi. IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing and help guests claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible, saving filers an average of $200 in preparer fees and often earning thousands of dollars in credits.

Help is available by appointment only at South Natomas Community Center, Yolo County Children’s Alliance in West Sacramento, and three Asian Resources locations across Sacramento. To receive help, households must have earned $60,000 or less in 2018. Services are available in several languages. To make an appointment, call 2-1-1 or (800) 500-4931 (toll free). For more information, visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org.

More than $11 million in credits have already been claimed across the Sacramento region this year through United Way’s program, up more than $1 million from last year. More than 9,000 local households have received free help from nearly 500 volunteers, saving a total of $1.8 million in tax preparation fees.

“It’s not too late to take advantage of this service that can help families receive hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in refunds to help them become financially stable,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Households that earned $66,000 or less in 2018 are eligible to file their taxes for free online at MyFreeTaxes.org through a partnership with United Ways of California. The site provides households with free tax help they can trust and guides users through federal and state filing, including tax credits, with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address, income forms and Adjusted Gross Income from 2018.

This year, more households are eligible to claim federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. Age qualification for Cal EITC has been expanded to include ages 18-24 and working adults ages 65 and up, giving more taxpayers the opportunity to earn up to $6,500 in credits, including those who are self-employed. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to very low incomes; however if they do file, they can claim the state and federal credits for which they are eligible. For more information about available tax credits, visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is a vital tool that provides families with a much-needed cash infusion, one that can help them pay down debts, cover expenses, and even get on the road to saving and planning for the future, ” said Mary Hogarty, vice president, Citi Community Development. “Through our support for United Way California Capital Region, we aim to help them expand access to tax credits like the EITC and free tax preparation for eligible people that help enable more working families to build resilient financial futures.”

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2019 Free Tax Prep program include the IRS, the State of California Department of Community Services and Development, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending generational poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Sacramento Life Center Receives $10K in Grants

Sacramento Life Center has received $5,000 each from the Leonard Family Foundation and Kelly Foundation to provide free medical services to low-income pregnant women and teen girls through the group’s primary clinic located in the Arden area and its Mobile Medical Clinics that travel throughout the Sacramento area.

“We are grateful to the Leonard Family Foundation and the Kelly Foundation for this generous funding,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “The Sacramento Life Center has seen a 30 percent increase in women and teen girls seeking our services since our move to Arden. The majority are low-income, and half have no medical insurance. These grants will help thousands of mothers and their children receive the medical care they need.”

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.

United Way Offers Free Tax Help Across Sacramento Region

Households throughout the Sacramento region are eligible for free help preparing their taxes and claiming credits this year, saving an average of $200 in preparer fees and often earning thousands of dollars in credits. United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program, supported by Citi Community Development, kicked off in early February and continues across the region through April 15 at weekend community events and dozens of weekday sites throughout Amador, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing and help guests claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible. To receive help, households must have earned $60,000 or less in 2018. Services are available in several languages, and many locations require appointments. For locations and events: YourFreeTaxPrep.org. To make an appointment: call 2-1-1 or (800) 500-4931 (toll free).

“This is an important time of year for families in our community. They could be eligible to receive hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in refunds to help them become financially stable,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We encourage every eligible household to check out our locations offering free help throughout tax season and see how much money you are eligible for through the many tax credits available.” 

Households that earned $66,000 or less in 2018 are eligible to file their taxes for free online at MyFreeTaxes.org through a partnership with United Ways of California. The site provides households with free tax help they can trust and guides users through federal and state filing, including tax credits, with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address, income forms and Adjusted Gross Income from 2018.

This year, more households are eligible to claim federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. Age qualification for Cal EITC has been expanded to include ages 18-24 and working adults ages 65 and up, giving more taxpayers the opportunity to earn up to $6,500 in credits, including those who are self-employed. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to very low incomes; however if they do file, they can claim the state and federal credits for which they are eligible. Due to federal law, those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed until end of February, no matter who prepares their taxes. For more information about available tax credits, visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org.

Nearly 8,500 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way’s Free Tax Prep services for the 2017 tax year, resulting in more than $10 million in money claimed through credits and refunds. With support from Citi Community Development, free tax help was significantly expanded across the region last year in Amador, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, increasing the number of households helped by more than 2,500 and resulting in more than a $3 million increase in refunds for the region compared to last year.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is a vital tool that provides families with a much-needed cash infusion, one that can help them pay down debts, cover expenses, and even get on the road to saving and planning for the future, ” said Mary Hogarty, vice president, Citi Community Development. “Through our support for United Way California Capital Region, we aim to expand access to tax credits like the EITC and free tax preparation for eligible people that help enable more working families to build resilient financial futures.”

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2019 Free Tax Prep program include the IRS, the State of California Department of Community Services and Development, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

For nearly 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought local people together to make community change happen. Today, the nonprofit is bringing people together across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties for its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students in our region who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. United Way believes ending generational poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones and their families receive support and resources. To learn more and make a donation: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way Helps You Keep Your Tax Refund

My Free Taxes logoMyFreeTaxes.com is helping you save money this tax season, thanks to a national partnership between United Way, Goodwill Industries and National Disability Institute. The program is being spearheaded locally by United Way California Capital Region and aims to provide qualified residents with free, easy tax help they can trust so they can maximize their refund and receive credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

MyFreeTaxes.com helps people save an average of $200 in tax preparer fees by filing for free. The website guides users through federal and state filing using software powered by H&R Block. Users qualify if their household income was $60,000 or less in 2014, and will need a valid email address and income forms.

“We want our neighbors to keep more money in their pockets and make our community stronger by taking advantage of tax credits,” said Stephanie McLemore Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO. “This website is an easy and effective way to file your taxes and save your money for what matters most to you.”

MyFreeTaxes.com was founded seven years ago and is now available in all 50 states. The website is sponsored by Walmart.

United Way California Capital Region is promoting the program locally as part of its financial stability initiative that is working to ensure more households in our region are financially stable and self-sufficient – including foster youth. United Way’s $en$e-Ability project is helping low-moderate income households and foster youth improve financial literacy, manage finances and increase savings. Eighty-eight percent of adults in the project are demonstrating better financial skills and have savings accounts, and 90 percent of foster youth are earning credits toward matched savings accounts. United Way also is leading the local Assets & Opportunity Network as part of the financial stability initiative, mobilizing a group of nonprofits, companies and volunteers to look at financial stability data in our community and increase the number of people thriving.

For more than 90 years, United Way California Capital Region has brought together nonprofits, businesses, donors, volunteers, community leaders and more to meet the community’s greatest needs, give immediate aid and find lasting solutions for future generations. United Way mobilizes members of the community to be first responders in repairing the education level, financial stability and health of everyone in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties through donation and volunteer opportunities. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.