Nonprofit News

Women’s Empowerment Receives $25K from Bank of America

Women’s Empowerment recently received a $25,000 grant from Bank of America to support the nonprofit’s work to educate and empower women experiencing homelessness with the skills and confidence necessary to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children.

“Bank of America has been a longtime funder of ours, and we are grateful that they continue to recognize the importance of economic mobility for women experiencing homelessness here in Sacramento,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment.

The grant from Bank of America will support Women’s Empowerment’s programs, beginning with its nine-week program that targets the barriers women face while experiencing homelessness. Each woman receives free transportation assistance and onsite childcare. She works with a social worker, housing specialist and employment specialist while attending classes on job-readiness, empowerment and more taught by skilled community volunteers. She receives health services onsite and referrals to providers. She can join support groups and receive legal help. Each woman who graduates from the program can enroll in graduate services, which include paid job training, certifications, counseling, professional clothing and job retention services.

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 1,719 women and their 3,842 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

Baby Supplies Needed at Sac Life Center

Local residents can help low-income new moms in Sacramento this holiday season through the Sacramento Life Center’s annual Baskets4Babies drive running through Dec. 31. The drive stocks the Sacramento Life Center’s baby needs center so the nonprofit can provide a basket of needed items to every patient who gives birth in 2022. Donations can be made in any increment, but $50 guarantees a new mother has everything she needs to bring her baby home from the hospital, including diapers, clothing, bottles, formula, homemade blankets, bibs, bathing supplies and more. A pledge of $50 per month guarantees a mother can return each month to the baby needs center for additional necessities until her child is 2 years old. Donations can be made online at www.saclife.org.

“It’s been an exhausting year for everyone, but especially for pregnant women and new moms in need,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Having supportive people surrounding them makes all the difference. Our baby baskets give pregnant mothers practical and necessary items and show them they have a community of support.”

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.

Society for the Blind Receives $10K from Golden 1

Society for the Blind recently received $10,000 from Golden 1 Credit Union to provide Braille literacy for children in Sacramento and across Northern California who are blind or have vision loss.

“Today, less than 10 percent of children with vision loss are literate,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “They are not learning Braille and are unable to read, write and comprehend. By third grade they are significantly behind their sighted peers, and 50 percent of high school students who are blind drop out before graduating. Literacy is key to improving academic outcomes and pointing these children toward college and careers. We are grateful to Golden 1 Credit Union for helping us fill this gap so children with vision loss can be successful and independent when they grow up.”

The grant will allow Society for the Blind to provide Braille literacy classes, instruction materials and training in assistive devices for up to 100 new children who are blind or have low vision in elementary through high schools across the region. Through Society for the Blind’s After-School Academy for children from first grade through high school, students will learn Grade 1 Braille, including the alphabet, spelling, numbers, reading and writing. Middle and high school students who pass Grade 1 Braille will learn Grade 2 Braille, which includes shortened or contracted words as well as the Nemeth Code-Braille for math and science. Students also will receive subject-based tutoring based on an initial assessment upon entering the program.

“As we continue to learn more about the short- and long-term educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our vulnerable populations, we know it is especially important to provide support to organizations that enrich the minds of future generations,” said Erica Taylor, vice president of communications and community relations. “Golden 1 is inspired by the mission of Society for the Blind, and we are honored to help them continue to serve their community.”

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 donate, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

The Golden 1 Credit Union Community Grant Program funds nonprofits serving communities in the Sacramento and Central valleys that are working to address children’s literacy and transition-age foster youth. In 2021, the program awarded grants to 33 nonprofits in California.  For more information, visit Golden1.com.

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.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $25K from Save Mart

Women’s Empowerment recently received a $25,000 grant from Save Mart Companies C.A.R.E.S. Foundation to support the nonprofit’s programs that educate and empower women experiencing homelessness with the skills and confidence necessary to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children. The foundation has supported Women’s Empowerment since 2010.

“Steadfast funding is the only way we are able to continue empowering women to rise from homelessness so they can support themselves and their children, especially during a pandemic and housing crisis,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “The Save Mart Companies C.A.R.E.S. Foundation is one of our most loyal funders, and we are grateful that each year they recognize the important work we do and deem it worthy of funding.”

The grant from The Save Mart Companies C.A.R.E.S. Foundation will support Women’s Empowerment’s work to help women experiencing homelessness find and maintain housing and jobs, including providing them with job-readiness classes, one-on-one support with a staff social worker and employment specialist, support groups, legal services, financial literacy, childcare and child developmental assessments, health services and referrals to providers, transportation assistance, paid job training and more.

“When women have control over their income and livelihood, the effect on their families and communities is truly transformational,” said Nicole Pesco, board member, The Save Mart Companies C.A.R.E.S. Foundation. “The Save Mart Companies C.A.R.E.S Foundation is proud to help provide women with meaningful participation at all levels of economic decision making and a quality standard of living for themselves and their families.”

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 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 1,734 women and their 3,859 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

The Save Mart Companies C.A.R.E.S. Foundation supports community, arts, recreation, education and sports. The foundation was created by Save Mart Supermarkets and operates with a separate board of directors maintaining a separate focus on supporting the company’s principle of giving back to the communities it serves. For more information: TheSaveMartCompanies.com/Cares.

United Way Launches “United We Shine” Holiday Campaign

This holiday season, the local United Way is shining a light on its nonprofit partners working to end poverty in the Capital Region. Each day for 12 days starting Nov. 29, United Way’s United We Shine campaign will feature a different nonprofit partner that is working to build equity and end poverty in the region, including a specific need each is facing and how local residents can help. To participate, follow United Way California Capital Region on social media. For more: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/post/United-We-Shine.

“We are proud of the work we do at United Way to bring nonprofits together to work toward equitable systems and reduce poverty so all families in our region can thrive,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “After another difficult year, we can come together this holiday season to generously support the important work being done in our community. Over these 12 days, I hope everyone will join us in supporting as many of our local nonprofits as possible.”

Featured nonprofits include Community Housing Opportunities Corporation, St. Vincent de Paul Sacramento Diocesan Council, Urban Strategies Inc., Computers 4 Kids, Yolo County Children’s Alliance, Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency, Bless Child Community Association, YMCA, Sacramento County Gifts from the Heart, New Morning Youth and Family Services, and Empower Yolo. On Nov. 30, Giving Tuesday, United Way will share more about the work it is doing and how local residents can get involved.

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 helping kids excel in school, investing in families, creating meaningful partnerships and organizing to lift impacted families. For more information or to make a donation, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Holiday Gifts and Craft Supplies Needed at Women’s Empowerment

Local residents can bring joy to formerly homeless women and children in Sacramento this holiday season by contributing to Women’s Empowerment’s Holiday Gifts and Crafts Drive. The group is seeking 300 unstuffed gift bags and specific fillers for children, teens and women. Gifts for teens and women are especially needed. Women’s Empowerment also needs craft supplies to provide a Craft Party in a Box for each family since the group cannot hold its annual craft party for women and children to make holiday gifts for their loved ones. For a list of gift and craft needs, visit Womens-Empowerment.org. Items are needed by Dec. 6.

“The holidays are often difficult for our graduates as they work hard to put food on the table, much less afford gifts,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “The last couple of years have been exceptionally grueling for them. We are grateful to the community for not only providing gifts and craft items to make presents, but also sharing the joy that comes with this gift-giving season.”

Thanks to donations, Women’s Empowerment will include a warm hat, gloves, socks and other items in each gift bag for the women and children. For those interested in making a financial donation toward a gift bag, the average cost is $40, but any amount helps. Women’s Empowerment especially needs extra $20 gift cards to Target, Walmart and similar stores to include in each gift bag.

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 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. In the midst of the housing crisis, 75 percent regain a safe home for themselves and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,719 women and their 3,842 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $20K From Arata Brothers Trust

Women’s Empowerment recently received a $20,000 grant from Arata Brothers Trust to educate and empower women experiencing homelessness with the skills and confidence necessary to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children during the pandemic and housing crisis.

“Our partnership with Arata Brothers Trust over the last several years has helped hundreds of women and children break the cycle of homelessness amidst wildly changing circumstances here in Sacramento,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “We are grateful for the steadfast funding we receive from Arata Brothers Trust as we face another tumultuous year ahead.”

The grant from Arata Brothers Trust will help Women’s Empowerment offer its nine-week program that targets the barriers women face while experiencing homelessness, as well as paid job training for women who have graduated from the program. Women’s Empowerment’s paid job training programs include its Get A Job Kit training program for graduates hardest to hire, as well as its paid training in property management, a career that usually includes housing on the managed property. Women’s Empowerment also offers paid training to become a security guard or bank teller, as well as training in green energy.

“For the trustees of the Arata Brothers Trust, 2020 and 2021 revealed the most nimble and effective nonprofits in the Sacramento region,” said Matson Sewell, co-trustee, Arata Brothers Trust. “Women’s Empowerment led the way in this landscape, continuing to deliver highly impactful programs to such an under-resourced population, adapting to public health requirements for both mothers and children, and moving forward despite the new challenges. These challenges are not behind us yet, and Women’s Empowerment has earned the support of anyone looking to make a huge difference in the lives of homeless women and children.”

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 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 1,719 women and their 3,842 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

The mission of Arata Brothers Trust is to enhance the quality of life in the Sacramento area by supporting systemic change through innovative and effective educational programs. For more information, visit ArataBrothersTrust.org.

United Way Seeks Free Tax Prep Volunteers

Volunteers are needed to help local families file their taxes and apply for refunds as part of United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program that will open again in early 2022. No experience is required, and training is provided through a combination of self-study and online live sessions to become an IRS-certified volunteer with the program. To learn more: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/freetaxprep-volunteer.  

“After a tumultuous year, it’s more important than ever that local families receive help applying for the maximum tax benefits for which they are eligible,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Our Free Tax Prep volunteers play a big role in ensuring families have the financial resources for their kids to succeed in school and career.”

Each year, United Way California Capital Region works with hundreds of volunteers to help households earning less than $66,000 annually file their taxes for free. Last tax season, the program helped more than 4,000 families receive $7.5 million in refunds.

“United Way’s Free Tax Prep program helps put tax dollars in people’s pockets,” said Katherine Green, program volunteer. “As a Free Tax Prep program volunteer, I look forward to meeting new people and helping them think beyond daily survival so they can have greater control over their resources and their life. I believe in strengthening vulnerable communities to reduce poverty, and this program opens doors for the 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 United Way Names New President and CEO

Dr. Dawnté Early has been named president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region. She will begin the position on Nov. 16, leading the local United Way chapter into its 100th anniversary year.

“I am excited to lead this amazing organization of passionate regional leaders committed to reducing poverty and investing in the education of our most vulnerable community members,” Early said. “As we near the 100th anniversary, I look forward to growing our partnerships to help the region emerge from the pandemic with an even sharper focus on increasing economic security and reducing disparities.”

Early joins United Way after serving as chief of research and evaluation for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, where she guided the commission’s statewide policy and evaluation initiatives on school mental health, suicide prevention and reducing justice involvement among those with mental health needs.  She previously led racial and gender policy reforms and evaluation of the Affordable Care Act at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. A resident and city councilmember of West Sacramento, she served on the city’s Aging Commission for seven years. She began her career as a public health researcher with the State of California after receiving her PhD in human development and master’s degree in child development, both from UC Davis. Early and her husband have two children, and she serves as a Girl Scout troop leader and basketball coach for the West Sacramento parks and recreation league.

“Dr. Early is a passionate, dedicated community leader and will bring a renewed, energized vision to United Way and the capital region,” said Oyango Snell, chair of the local United Way board of directors. “As an experienced researcher and statistician, Dr. Early has a unique ability to leverage data-driven research to address complex community issues and enhance outcomes.”

Stephanie McLemore Bray served as president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region for seven years until mid-April when she transitioned to her new role as chief engagement officer for Seattle Foundation. Amber Lovett, chief resource development and marketing officer at United Way California Capital Region, has been serving as interim president and CEO while the organization underwent a nationwide search.

“Dr. Early is a proven advocate who is committed to our square one approach of working to end poverty by tackling difficult issues that impact children and families,” said Carolyn Mullins, member of United Way California Capital Region’s board and chair of the search committee. “She has dedicated her life’s work to addressing issues that impact people from low-income and historically marginalized communities. We are proud to bring her on board.”

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.

Online Reading Volunteers Needed for United Way’s STARS

Volunteers are needed to help local kids learn to read through United Way California Capital Region’s STARS program that pairs volunteers and students up through sixth grade for online literacy tutoring so they can succeed in school. No prior tutoring knowledge is needed, as United Way provides training for its volunteers, all of whom commit to at least one hour each week split into two 30-minute sessions for three months. Volunteers are especially needed during the hours of 3-5pm. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/STARS.

“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. “Our STARS volunteers make a world of difference in a child’s life by giving just one hour a week. Our tutors not only help them read, they act as positive role models that improve children’s overall confidence in school.”

United Way’s STARS, an acronym for Students and Tutors Achieving Reading Success, has 65 volunteers enrolled to work with nearly 100 students in Robla School District, CHOC housing sites in Yolo County and Woodland Joint Unified School District to provide online tutoring through the platform Book Nook so kids can reach grade level reading. Together, the tutor and student work through the literacy curriculum and build vocabulary, fluency and comprehension skills through a variety of games, books and lessons provided in the online portal.

The local United Way has been helping children improve literacy for more than four years, including 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. 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.