Heroes Walk for Life to Raise Funds for Low Income Pregnant Women

Local residents are invited to dress up as their favorite superheroes and join Sacramento Life Center’s Heroes Walk for Life on May 20 at Maidu Park in Roseville from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The 2K and 5K walk and fun run will raise funds for free pregnancy services at the Sacramento Life Center, benefiting low-income pregnant women and teens. The family-friendly event will include a rally, toddler dash, bounce house, face painting, crafts, magic show, and capes and masks for kids. Registration is $30, but free for kids ages 12 and under. For more information, to sign up or to make a donation, visit www.walkingheroes.org.

“This is a great opportunity for families, individuals and teams to be heroes for mothers and babies in need of care,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “This will be a fun day celebrating the amazing work being done in our community to ensure low-income pregnant women and teens are well cared for.”

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, 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.

The ALS Association in Sacramento Adds First Development Director

Trish Ellis of Yuba City has been hired as The ALS Association Greater Sacramento Chapter’s first director of development, overseeing the local chapter’s fundraising efforts to find a cure for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in the greater Sacramento region.

“I’ve always been involved with nonprofit organizations and fundraising – my mom ran her own organization while I was growing up, so it’s in my blood,” Ellis said. “I fell into development work through volunteering, and while I will always be a volunteer at heart, I love being on staff to fundraise professionally. The opportunity to work with The ALS Association’s local team to create a world without ALS is a dream job for me.”

Ellis is a United States Air Force veteran and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brandman University, based in Irvine, Calif. Prior to her work at The ALS Association, Ellis served as senior development officer with the California Waterfowl Association in Roseville.

The ALS Association is leading the fight to treat and cure ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, through global research and nationwide advocacy while also empowering people with the disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support. The local chapter of the organization best known for its Ice Bucket Challenge fundraiser serves 24 Northern California counties and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.alssac.org.

United Way Recognizes AmeriCorps VISTA Members During National AmeriCorps Week

From leading the business arm of a local nonprofit to serving summer meals to kids, 40 AmeriCorps VISTA members will dedicate a year or a summer to serving the Sacramento region as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program led locally by United Way California Capital Region. United Way is celebrating these 40 individuals this week as part of National AmeriCorps Week, running March 4-11.

“These young people dedicate a summer or a year of their lives to bringing change to local communities across the nation,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Many are assigned to projects far from where they grew up. They gain valuable experience through their service to communities in need. Here in Sacramento, many nonprofit organizations rely on these dedicated individuals.”

The AmeriCorps VISTA program in the Sacramento region, as well as the service of this region’s members, is valued at $419,000. Members are serving locally at Communities and Health Professionals Together/UC Davis Pediatrics, Health Education Council, Lutheran Social Services, Opening Doors, PRO Youth and Families, Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, Sacramento Self Help Housing, United Way California Capital Region, Wellspring Women’s Center, WIND Youth Services, Women’s Empowerment and Woodland United Way.

“With this program rumored to be on the Trump administration’s chopping block, it’s more important than ever to make sure people know how incredibly valuable AmeriCorps VISTA members are to our community and the work of nonprofits in our region. Their service is vital to our community’s health,” Bray said.

VISTA was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs under the umbrella of the Corporation for National and Community Service. AmeriCorps VISTA taps the skills, talents and passion of more than 8,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit or public agency. They focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development and otherwise assist low-income communities. For more information: www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-vista.

United Way California Capital Region is leading the AmeriCorps VISTA program in the Sacramento region as part of its efforts to increase capacity at local nonprofits and schools for its Square One Project, United Way’s 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students 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 for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

 

Society for the Blind Receives $20K From US Bank

US Bank recently gave $20,000 to Society for the Blind in Sacramento to help fund its job-readiness programs for youth and adults with low or no vision.

“The unemployment rate is 70 percent for people with vision loss, so we are especially grateful to US Bank for acknowledging this gap and helping to fund our programs that will help youth and adults with low or no vision land good jobs,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind.

Society for the Blind’s job-readiness programs assist transition-age youth and working-age adults in career planning, setting and meeting educational goals, job placement and coaching. Programs include job exploration counseling and work-based learning experiences. Participants with little or no work experience learn workplace readiness skills and are placed in internships prior to career exploration.

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 www.SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Donate Towels, Toiletries and Luggage for Foster Youth Today!

Local residents can donate new towels, toiletries and luggage for local foster youth through United Way’s Women in Philanthropy Spring Drive happening through end of today. Items will be donated through Sacramento County’s Foster Youth Emancipation Basket program to more than 260 local foster youth preparing to leave the system and live on their own for the first time. Donations can be purchased from the Amazon wishlist at www.yourlocalunitedway.org/spring-drive or can be dropped off at United Way’s office at 10389 Old Placerville Road in Sacramento before 7:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed from 5-7:30 p.m. at United Way’s office to package the donations.

United Way’s Women in Philanthropy brings local women together to end poverty for local foster youth by helping them become financially prepared for life after foster care. This focus is part of the Square One Project, United Way’s 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. 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 to prepare for success in college or career. To learn more about United Way’s Women in Philanthropy, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $32,500 in Grants

Borchard Foundation, American River Bank and State Farm recently gave grants to Women’s Empowerment’s comprehensive job-readiness programs for women who are homeless. Borchard Foundation donated $12,500 and American River Bank and State Farm each donated $10,000.

“The work we do relies on community donations,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “It’s heartening to see these three organizations step forward with substantial gifts that will ensure more women can break the cycle of homelessness for themselves, their children and generations to come. We are extremely grateful to Borchard Foundation, American River Bank and State Farm for their generosity and care for the women and children in our community.”

In Women’s Empowerment’s initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job readiness, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor.

Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point in their lives when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, financial coaching and job retention services for employer and employee. 

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 1,411 homeless women and their thousands of children since 2001. 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: www.womens-empowerment.org.

Sacramento Life Center’s Baby Basket Drive Raises Most Funds Ever

The Sacramento Life Center’s third annual Baby Basket Drive for new moms raised the most funds of all three years, totaling $8,470, which will buy 170 baskets in 2017. 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.

Donations will be accepted throughout 2017 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.

“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,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “We want to encourage women, teen girls and their partners that they are capable of caring for a child. 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.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $25K From Save Mart CARES

Save Mart CARES has donated $25,000 to help homeless women in Sacramento find homes and jobs to support their families through Women’s Empowerment’s comprehensive job readiness program. The mission of Women’s Empowerment aligns closely with the mission of Save Mart CARES, which supports programs that have a record of results and contribute to the advancement of community, arts, recreation, education or sports. 

“A significant measure of a community’s health is how many of its residents are employed,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Women who experience homelessness face profound barriers in their search for employment, so we empower them with tools to overcome those hurdles and secure jobs that will support their families. We are grateful to Save Mart CARES for recognizing that when women rise from homelessness, the entire community rises with them.”

In Women’s Empowerment’s initial eight-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job readiness, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor. Women who have graduated from the eight-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point in their lives when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, financial coaching and job retention services for employer and employee.  

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 1,386 homeless women and their 3,750 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: www.womens-empowerment.org. 

Save Mart CARES is a 501c3 charitable organization focused on supporting 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, visit www.savemart.com/community/cares-foundation

Free Tax Help for Sacramento and Placer Families

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

Local households that earned $54,000 or less in 2016 can receive free tax help in person through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance effort led by United Way California Capital Region in Sacramento and Placer counties. The program will kick off with a Super Saturday event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. Volunteers will inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify, such as the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

For information and a list of Super Saturday events and weekday tax help sites, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA or call (916) 498-1000. Sacramento residents can call 2-1-1. VITA is a national IRS program that offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns.

Local households that made $64,000 or less in 2016 can qualify to file their state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provides local residents with free, easy tax help they can trust so they can maximize refunds and credits. The site helps people save an average of $200 in tax preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address and income forms. The nine-year-old program is available in all 50 states.

“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.

Both the in-person and online filing opportunities are designed to help households receive the maximum credit of $6,000 through EITC and Cal EITC. This is the second year that California is offering a state Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit California’s working families. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, however if they do file, they can claim state and federal EITC credits for which they are eligible. Those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or the Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed, as a law requires the IRS to hold those refunds until Feb. 15.

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

Sponsors of United Way’s tax help programs include the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, United Way California Capital Region and Wells Fargo. For a list of partners, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these tax help programs to ensure more households are financially healthy. This work is part of United Way’s 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. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

United Way Honors Five Local Donors and Volunteers

Five of United Way California Capital Region’s donors and volunteers were honored by the local nonprofit last week for their commitment to United Way’s Square One Project that is ensuring local students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and beyond. Honorees included Al Goldberg of Natomas, Amber Lovett of East Sacramento, Jim Shetler of Galt and Sandy Smoley of Midtown Sacramento. Del Paso Heights-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was United Way’s fifth honoree.

At the recognition event held at restaurant Mulvaney’s B&L in Midtown Sacramento, United Way California Capital Region President and CEO Stephanie Bray told the guests and honorees, “All of you in this room have played a powerful role in changing people’s lives this year. None of this would have been possible without your time and financial commitments, which will continue to fuel our Square One Project in coming years.”

Goldberg was named Young Leaders Society Member of the Year for his dedication to United Way’s Young Leaders Society by reaching out to new members, promoting events and bringing ideas to the group. Lovett received the Women in Philanthropy Member of the Year Award for her work getting United Way’s Women in Philanthropy off the ground 15 years ago and her continued dedication to the group as a donor. Shetler received the Boje and Price Award for Outstanding Volunteerism for his service on the group’s board of directors creating a five-year strategic plan in addition to being a top United Way donor. Smoley received the Frances Wisebart Jacobs Live United Award for her longtime commitment to United Way since 1967 through a women’s group, leadership on the board of directors and donations to United Way’s Women in Philanthropy.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was honored with the Cornerstone Award for achieving outstanding results in the company’s United Way campaign and making volunteerism and community engagement part of its company culture. The company has contributed countless volunteers and more than $273,000 over the last five years.

“I know we have a bright year ahead as we continue to work together to make sure kids succeed in school and beyond,” Bray said. “But it’s going to take all of us. By bringing together companies, schools, government and individuals across the region we know that we can bring about that change.”

United Way California Capital Region has launched the 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. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way now believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college. To donate or volunteer, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.