Client News

West Sac’s Washington Unified School District Receives $200K to create Community Schools with United Way

Two preschool girls play with stamps and an orange stamp pad to make shapes on a piece of white paper

Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento has received a $200,000 grant through the California Community Schools Partnership Program to launch two full-service community schools as neighborhood hubs that provide access to a variety of services that support children, strengthen families and improve community health. The district will partner with United Way California Capital Region, which has nearly 100 years of experience convening community groups and coordinating services among providers.

“Washington Unified School District is laser-focused in its commitment to excellence, equity and empowerment for every student, every day,” said Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth, superintendent for the school district. “Investing in community schools takes our commitment to the next level, ensuring that students have increased access to services that reinforce academic and social-emotional development.”

Through case managers and site-level coordinators, the community schools will provide access to health care, mentoring, expanded learning programs, adult guidance and other services. Each school will include a Wellness Center that provides direct support and trauma-informed care to students and will hire a restorative justice and equity coordinator to reduce punitive actions and promote trust, respect and sense of safety between the school, students and families. The district is launching the community schools to improve academic success and overall health of its students while decreasing chronic absenteeism and adverse disciplinary actions.

United Way will help with the planning process, including establishing a core leadership team, deploying a needs assessment and asset mapping analysis, engaging school representatives, providing students with leadership opportunities, convening agencies to expand school-based service delivery models, and developing a shared vision and implementation plan.

“We are excited to be working with the Washington Unified School District in the City of West Sacramento and look forward to partnering to ensure students have even more opportunities to succeed,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region, and a West Sacramento city council member. “At United Way, we’ve made a 20-year commitment through our Square One Project to end poverty for local families starting in schools. Our partnership with Washington Unified will play an important role in that work.”

Washington Unified School District is the premier provider of high-quality education in West Sacramento, serving nearly 7,500 students across seven K-8 schools and three high schools. The district offers cutting-edge opportunities featuring free college savings accounts for kindergarteners, Spanish dual language immersion, visual and performing arts, career technical education, AVID, MESA, before and after school care, and more. For more information: www.wusd.k12.ca.us.

United Way California Capital Region has been working for nearly 100 years to create stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. When the local United Way saw poverty rising in 2016, it found one place in each community to reach the most people in need: School was square one for ending family poverty. United Way’s 20-year Square One Project works with schools to support families, help children succeed, and strengthen schools with resources to address increased poverty and further exposed racial inequality. For more information: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org

Make It Happen for Yolo County Receives $10K from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

A transition age youth wears a black shirt and stands with stacks of donated household items in her new apartment

Make It Happen for Yolo County has received a grant of $10,000 from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation to provide local transition age youth in need, mostly foster youth ages 18-24, with the furnishings, household goods and resources needed to become successful first-time renters.

“Transition age youth, particularly those leaving foster care, are at very high risk of becoming homeless due to a lack of resources and support,” said Jan Judson, board president, Make It Happen for Yolo County. “While our partners help connect them to housing, there are no other organizations in Yolo County to ensure they have the tools, appliances and furniture to safely live in their new independent living environment. Renters with no resources to properly care for their apartments are much more likely to be evicted or develop a poor rental history, and that risk is even higher as we battle a housing crisis in the greater Sacramento area. We are grateful to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for helping set them up for success.”

Make It Happen for Yolo County is a volunteer-run nonprofit that receives furniture donations from the community and purchases new appliances and household items to help transition age 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, and other nonprofits serving foster youth. Since its founding in 2014, Make It Happen for Yolo County has served 160 Yolo County transition age youth. To make a financial or furniture donation, visit MIHYolo.org.

“Each of these young people, many of whom have already been through so much, deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential,” said the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “We are pleased to help give them that opportunity.”

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is committed to building strong communities and developing effective partnerships. In 2000, the Tribe established the Community Fund to advance that mission. To date, the Community Fund has established partnerships with more than 400 diverse organizations throughout Yolo County, the state and nation. The Tribe has granted more than $37 million in philanthropic funding to support programs and initiatives dedicated to assisting communities in need. For more information, visit YochaDehe.org/CommunityFund.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $30K from U.S. Bank

Lisa of Women's Empowerment wears a black jacket and pants and holds a check next to Pam Maxwell of US Bank wearing a blue dress in front of a wall covered with photos and stories of Women's Empowerment graduates

Women’s Empowerment recently received $30,000 from U.S. Bank to provide Sacramento women experiencing homelessness with job-readiness programs and paid job training so they can secure employment and regain housing for their families.

“We are proud of and grateful for our ongoing relationship with U.S. Bank,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Thanks to their steadfast support, we can continue empowering Sacramento’s unhoused women to find jobs and homes during the pandemic and prolonged housing crisis.”

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month 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. On average, 70% of women in the program find housing during the ongoing housing crisis. Last year, 142 job placements were achieved by Women’s Empowerment graduates.

“U.S. Bank is committed to powering the potential of our customers, our employees and our communities. Through our ongoing funding of critical programs like Women’s Empowerment, we can help make progress in closing the gaps between people and possibility in the areas of housing and workforce development,” said Pamela Maxwell, community affairs manager for Sacramento at U.S. Bank.

Since its founding in 2001, the award-winning organization has graduated 1,740 women and their 3,864 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

U.S. Bancorp, with nearly 70,000 employees and $573 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association. The Minneapolis-based company serves millions of customers locally, nationally and globally through a diversified mix of businesses: Consumer and Business Banking; Payment Services; Corporate & Commercial Banking; and Wealth Management and Investment Services. The company has been recognized for its approach to digital innovation, social responsibility, and customer service, including being named one of the 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies and Fortune’s most admired superregional bank. Learn more at usbank.com/about.

Sac Life Center Receives 4D Ultrasound from Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks

Members of the Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council gather around the ultrasound machine they donated to the Sacramento Life Center along with the pregnancy center's staff

The Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council recently donated a 4D Voluson S8 ultrasound machine worth $47,000 to local nonprofit Sacramento Life Center, which provides free medical services and resources to low-income pregnant women and teens. The local Knights of Columbus group secured the machine, thanks in part to the nonprofit 4US Adopt A Center that provided a quarter of the funding needed.

“We are so very thankful to the Knights of Columbus and 4US Adopt A Center for this amazing piece of technology that we never could have afforded without them,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Thanks to this machine, our patients will not only have more information about their baby’s health, they will be able to see facial features and a detailed portrait so they can feel even more connected.”

Now in its 50th anniversary year, the Sacramento Life Center offers 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, pap smears, well woman exams, patient advocacy for men and women, education and resource referrals. Staff also assists patients in signing up for Medi-Cal Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women and provides a wide range of baby supplies through its onsite baby needs closet, including diapers, clothes, formula, wipes and more. The nonprofit also offers a 24-hour hotline and program for women who have experienced pregnancy loss.

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. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit SVPClinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

“Weaving through our web of contacts to get this ultrasound donation accomplished really connected individuals who demonstrate America’s best,” said Henry Luckie, Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council member. “We are proud to help the Sacramento Life Center in their work.”

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization. It provides members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to the Catholic Church, their communities, families and young people. For more information about the Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council #6066, visit KOFC6066.org.

United Way Expands Guaranteed Income with City of Sacramento

The Sacramento City Council recently approved an allocation of $750,000 in funding from its American Rescue Plan dollars to expand United Way California Capital Region’s guaranteed basic income program. The additional funding will expand the number of families served from 100 to 180, providing 80 new families with $500 in unconditional guaranteed income every month for one year. United Way’s current program is providing 100 families with $300 a month for two years.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Sacramento to expand our Direct Investment Program to more community members,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “At United Way we’re committed to ending poverty for local families and what we know through our work and our relationships with community is that poverty is a policy choice. To truly end poverty, we must have meaningful policy changes at the local, state and federal level. The City of Sacramento is making the choice to address poverty directly by giving community members the money they need to meet their basic needs – housing, food cost and childcare for example. We are hopeful that this program can provide some relief to families in need during these difficult economic times.”

United Way’s Direct Investment Program is the first guaranteed income program launched in the California Capital Region. Eighty-six percent of current program participants indicate they cannot pay cash or cash equivalent for an unexpected $400 expense. Seventy-two percent of participants are women and people of color, and 1 out of 3 participants is working multiple jobs. The average participant would need two and a half full-time minimum-wage jobs to meet the Real Coast Measure for a household size of four, according to United Ways of California.

“We know that other basic income programs have been very successful in improving the financial stability of households currently living on economic margins,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We are putting dollars directly into the hands of our residents and empowering them to decide how best to use it.”

United Way launched the Direct Investment Program in July 2021 as part of a nationwide trend offering guaranteed income, particularly for communities historically undervalued and underinvested. Funding for the program came from a portion of the $10 million gift United Way California Capital Region received from renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in December 2020. Rather than mandating conditional services or specific direction, families in the program come together to empower themselves and are trusted to improve their lives in their own way.  United Way works with a third-party academic institution to measure outcomes. The program aims to invest in 1,000 families by 2025.

United Way California Capital Region has been working for nearly 100 years to create stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. When the local United Way saw poverty rising in 2016, it found one place in each community to reach the most people in need: School was square one for ending family poverty. United Way’s Square One approach works with schools to help children excel in school, invest in families, and strengthen schools with resources to address increased poverty and further exposed racial inequality. For more information: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Local Doctor to Run Canyons 100k to Raise Funds for Sac Life Center

Dr. Phelan wears a blue shirt and running gear in the early morning before sunrise

Local physician Dr. Timothy Phelan will run the Canyons 100k on April 23 to raise funds to expand health and nutrition programs for new moms at the Sacramento Life Center. Phelan practices at Creekside OB/GYN of Folsom and has completed more than 50 competitive running events in the last 10 years, including road marathons and ultra-marathons. This is his fourth fundraiser for the Sacramento Life Center, raising more than $30,000 total in his previous 100k, 50k and 40k runs. Phelan hopes to raise $10,000 for the Sacramento Life Center during the Canyons 100k. To make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

“For 50 years, the Sacramento Life Center has offered a safe place for women to find the compassion and support they need to become a parent,” Phelan said. “I am proud to support this wonderful organization and its mission. I hope our community members will donate however much they can.”

Considered the birthplace of mountain ultra-trail running, the Canyons 100k is run over the most scenic and difficult sections of the Western States trail. The 100-kilometer (62.2 mile) route travels from downtown Auburn to the China Wall staging area campground, with more than 16,000 feet of ascent. Runners will experience panorama vistas of the Sierras and cross streams and wooden bridges through historic settlements like Michigan Bluff and Deadwood Cemetery, traveling the same trails prospectors and mules did more than 150 years ago.

“Dr. Phelan is a tireless advocate for pregnant women and new moms, and we are so grateful that he chooses to support the Sacramento Life Center through his competitive races,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “The pandemic and housing crisis have been especially rough on the moms we serve. Every donation will make an important difference for a local family.”

Now in its 50th anniversary year, 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, pap smears, well woman exams, 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 SVPClinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

Women’s Empowerment receives $25K from Kaiser

Women’s Empowerment recently received $25,000 from Kaiser Permanente to empower women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento with the tools to secure a stable job that leads to a livable wage so they can provide a healthy home for their families during the pandemic. Funding will support Women’s Empowerment’s employment-readiness program, including mental health assistance as well as domestic violence and substance use support groups.

“Kaiser Permanente has been a longtime funder of our programs, and we are honored that they continue to support our comprehensive work to ensure women and children can rise from homelessness during the pandemic and prolonged housing crisis,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment.

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month 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. On average, 70% of women in the program find housing during the ongoing housing crisis. Last year, 142 job placements were achieved by Women’s Empowerment graduates. Since its founding in 2001, the award-winning organization has graduated 1,740 women and their 3,864 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

“At Kaiser Permanente, we believe everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to live. Stable housing is critical to health,” said Trish Rodriguez, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento. “We are proud to support the work of organizations like Women’s Empowerment so they can provide resources for women to have a healthy home, stable employment and support for their overall well-being.”

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. It is recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of members and communities served. Kaiser currently serves almost 12.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Kaiser Permanente’s expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, visit About.KaiserPermanente.org.

United Way’s Women United to Celebrate 20 Years Helping Local Foster Youth

September Hargrove stands at a podium that says Women United in black and white while she wears a red shirt and skirt

United Way California Capital Region’s Women United action group is inviting community members to its 20th anniversary luncheon on March 25 from 11am-1pm at the Croatian American Cultural Center in Sacramento, where influential professional women from across the state will gather to raise awareness and funds to support local foster youth. The event, which takes place during Women’s History Month, will celebrate the power of women working together to prepare local foster youth for adulthood and will include stories of youth whose lives have been changed over the past 20 years. The event will include lunch, presentations by local foster youth who participated in a writing partnership with nonprofit 916 Ink called “Find Your Voice,” and information about how to get involved. Tickets and sponsorships will benefit United Way California Capital Region’s programs for foster youth. Ticket sales end on March 4: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/WU2022.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to celebrate what women in our community have done together for local foster youth over the past two decades,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “As we move into a new decade of work, we face new challenges, but we know that this powerful group of women will continue to find new ways to meet the most pressing needs of foster youth in our community so they are prepared for success in adulthood.”

United Way’s Women United, founded as United Way’s Women in Philanthropy in 2002 with 35 members, has grown to 250 members and is now part of a global United Way network of more than 75,000 women taking action and impacting change. Local members have raised $2 million for United Way’s foster youth programs, also offering hundreds of life skills workshops and holding special events to showcase career opportunities and bring foster care professionals together to address current needs in the California capital region. Since 2011, the group has helped nearly 1,500 foster youth open bank accounts called Individual Development Accounts, a type of matched savings account, so they can leave the foster care system with money they have earned. Learn more about Women United: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Women-United.

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: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Renowned Voice Talents to Join Society for the Blind for Audio Description Presentation

Roy Samuelson headshot

Well-known voice talents Roy Samuelson, Thomas Reid and Satauna Howery will join local nonprofit Society for the Blind in an online discussion about the field of audio description and why they advocate for its expansion, especially for people who are blind or low-vision. The presentation “Nothing About Us Without Us” will take place Feb. 22 from 5:30-7:00pm online. The event will explore what makes for quality audio description, how it was created by people who were blind and is becoming a rapidly growing career field for those without vision, and why there is a new push in the entertainment industry to market audio description to people with vision so they can listen to entertainment content as they do audio books. To RSVP, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

“Quality audio description is pivotal to ensuring people without vision can add their voices to conversations after a TV news story, movie, TV show and more,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “Audio description was the brainchild of people who were blind, and the field is now employing more and more people without vision. There is a 75 percent unemployment rate in the blind and low vision community, so this is a significant conversation on many levels. We are grateful to these three amazing voice talents and advocates for joining us in this presentation.”

Samuelson has voiced thousands of audio description scripts for blockbuster films and series, including “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “How I Met Your Father.” He is a consultant and catalyst for quality and excellence in audio description through inclusion of blind professionals in every aspect of the field. He advocates for all of audio description to be in parity to sighted audiences.

Reid is an audio producer, voice talent, audio description narrator and advocate. He is the host and producer of Reid My Mind Radio, a podcast where he pairs narrative storytelling, music and sound design to introduce listeners to compelling people impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability. Occasionally, he shares stories from his own experience as a man adjusting to becoming blind as an adult.

Howery’s voice can be heard across the world in commercials, corporate training, audio books, eLearning, animation, video games and more. She has recorded hundreds of commercials, narrations, training videos and other projects for some of the nation’s top companies. Her company, Satauna’s Voiceovers, won a pitch competition for blind entrepreneurs, and she hired other people who are blind with the prize money.

For 68 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 more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

File Taxes Online for Free with United Way, Earn Up to $8K in Credits

Local residents throughout the Sacramento region are eligible to file their taxes online for free through United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program through April 18. Households that earned less than $65,000 in 2021 can file for free and receive up to $8,000 cash back from state and federal credits, including the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and CalEITC). The local United Way’s Free Tax Prep program saves qualifying residents an average of $200 in preparer fees. When needed, the program provides free tax help virtually and in person in multiple languages. Two virtual tax workshops will be held on Feb. 26 and March 12 where certified volunteers will help participants prepare their own returns and answer questions before filing. To learn more about United Way’s Free Tax Prep program or begin filing, visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org.

“Many families in our region have earned these tax credits, but often do not know they are eligible,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “These are important funds that local families can use to meet immediate needs and increase their household’s financial stability. Our Free Tax Prep program is a key piece of United Way’s work to help every family succeed so their community can too. That is square one for ending poverty in our region.”

Households may be eligible for the CalEITC tax credit if the taxpayer is at least 18 years old and the household earned less than $30,000 in 2021. Many CalEITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, but if they file, they can claim state and federal credits.

Families that received advance payments of the Child Tax Credit must file a tax return and could be eligible for additional Child Tax Credit payments. United Way’s Free Tax Prep program can help non-U.S. residents apply for their ITIN, as ITIN holders are eligible for some tax credits. Experts recommend everyone files early, noting that many people do not realize that unemployment income is taxable. Even if people owe money, it is not due until April 18 no matter how early they file.

In 2021, more than 4,000 households across the Sacramento region filed their taxes through United Way’s Free Tax Prep program, claiming a total of more than $7.5 million in credits and saving a total of $885,000 in tax preparation fees.

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.