Client News

Make It Happen Receives $7,500 From Union Pacific

Make It Happen for Yolo County recently received a grant of $7,500 from Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program. The grant will help ensure transition age youth in Yolo County ages 18-24 who are at risk of becoming unhoused can be safe first-time renters during the ongoing housing crisis.

“Transition age youth are at high risk of homelessness due to low resources compared to teens and young adults leaving traditional living environments,” said Cathi Schmidt, executive director, Make It Happen for Yolo County. “If they have no resources to purchase new appliances, they are more likely to find used appliances with higher risk of fire or short-circuiting. If they are unable to furnish and care for their homes, they are more likely to be evicted or develop a poor rental history, especially during the housing crisis. We are grateful to Union Pacific for prioritizing these youth so they can be successful in college or career.”

Make It Happen for Yolo County provides local transition age youth, many of whom have been in foster care or experienced homelessness, with the furnishings, household goods and resources needed to move into their first apartments. The nonprofit 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. Since its founding in 2014, Make It Happen for Yolo County has helped more than 200 transition age youth. To make a financial or furniture donation, visit MIHYolo.org.

“I was able to meet the caring people who started Make it Happen for Yolo County, and their work is at the core of Union Pacific’s objective to provide programs that focus on equity in access for underserved populations,” said Peggy Ygbuhay, senior director of public affairs, Union Pacific. “Union Pacific has a longstanding commitment to improve quality of life in the communities we serve and where our employees live and work. I am a Yolo County resident and take pride in my company’s civic leadership and philanthropy.”

For more than 160 years, Union Pacific has been committed to Building America – serving as an economic engine and improving the standard of life for millions across the country. Building upon this heritage, the Union Pacific Community Ties Giving Program’s mission is to build safe, prosperous, vibrant and inclusive communities by investing in high-quality nonprofits and programs in the cities and towns in which Union Pacific operates and its employees live and work. For more information: www.up.com/aboutup/community/foundation/index.htm.

Society for the Blind Announces Blindness Awareness Month in October

Nonprofit Society for the Blind in Sacramento is encouraging local residents to honor Blindness Awareness Month throughout October by participating in activities and supporting people with vision loss so they can gain the skills they need to stay independent and thrive.  

“Our clients tell us all the time that they thought their life was over when they began losing vision, but they discovered it was the beginning of a new chapter,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “During Blindness Awareness Month, we want to make sure everyone knows that people can live their best lives with vision loss or blindness when they have the right tools. If you are losing your vision, or you know someone who is, we have a wide array of classes and support that will help you build the skills you need, whether you are a child, working-age adult or senior.”

For nearly 70 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. Based in Sacramento, 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 and the state of Nevada. 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.

In addition to its onsite Low Vision Clinic and assistive technology store, Society for the Blind offers four core classes – orientation and mobility, independent living skills, computers and technology, and braille – to ensure people with vision loss can stay active, employed and living life to the fullest. The nonprofit also provides a program for seniors that includes retreats, support groups and activities such as yoga and cooking classes. For youth, Society for the Blind offers a job readiness program, after-school center and podcast team. The nonprofit also offers support groups for caregivers and parents of children with vision loss, as well as events open to the public.

To learn more or make a donation, visit www.SocietyfortheBlind.org.

United Way Opens 3rd Round of Guaranteed Income

Local residents can apply for a third round of funding through United Way California Capital Region’s Guaranteed Income program, which will provide an additional 130 eligible households with $500 of unconditional guaranteed income each month for a year. Eligible applicants must live in Districts 1 or 2 in the County of Sacramento and meet household income requirements. The online application will be open until Oct. 31 at 11:59pm. Qualifying households will be selected randomly and confirmed by the end of November. First payments will begin in January 2024. For more information or to apply: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Guaranteed-Income.

“We know that $300 to $500 can mean the difference between staying in your home and becoming unhoused,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region. “Locally, families are losing their homes, wondering how to feed their families and who is going to watch their children while they work. They cannot afford to wait for assistance – they need it urgently. In collaboration with the County of Sacramento and Sierra Health Foundation, we are delivering this vital income support to county residents, safeguarding them from becoming unhoused, ensuring food security and relieving childcare burdens.”

United Way announced the new round of funding at a press conference with Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy (District 2) and community partner Sierra Health Foundation. County of Sacramento Supervisors Phil Serna (District 1) and Kennedy allocated $1 million in American Rescue Plan dollars, and Sierra Health Foundation made a donation to United Way, to help expand United Way’s Guaranteed Income program to Sacramento County residents for the third round.

“I am thrilled to join Supervisor Serna in supporting 130 Sacramento County families through our partnership with the local United Way’s Guaranteed Income program and Sierra Health Foundation,” Kennedy said. “These recipients are hardworking families often juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet. With this funding, we hope to provide them with more opportunities to lift themselves and their families up.”

United Way’s Guaranteed Income program is the first of its kind in the California Capital Region. United Way launched the program in July 2021 with a portion of the $10 million gift it received from renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in December 2020. In March, United Way announced a second round of funding, thanks to a $750,000 allocation of American Rescue Plan dollars from the City of Sacramento. The 80 households in the second round began receiving $500 a month in July and will continue to receive funding through June 2024.

“Today marks a celebration of community, inclusivity and hope as Sacramento County government, our local United Way and Sierra Health Foundation unite to forge a new path toward well-being for marginalized populations, especially those within BIPOC communities,” said Chet Hewitt, president and CEO, Sierra Health Foundation. “At Sierra Health Foundation, we are committed to reducing health disparities, and understand the toll that managing bills and supporting a family with insufficient resources can take on a family’s mental and physical health. This is why we recognized the importance of new policy frameworks that demonstrate how families that participate in path setting programs like this can create a healthy trajectory for their future.”

United Way is partnering with Sacramento State University to conduct a detailed study of the second and third rounds of households, including a comparative analysis. Data will be used to improve and expand the program.

For 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has been working to end poverty by creating stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities. Since 1923, the local United Way has raised more than $500 million to fight poverty in the region and help families succeed. The group now has a goal to raise $3 million to help 10,000 kids excel in school by 2025 as part of its work to end poverty for local families. The local United Way has found one place in each community to reach the most families in need: School is square one for ending poverty. United Way uses its Square One approach to end poverty for local families by helping children excel in school, investing in families, and strengthening schools with resources to address increased poverty and deep roots of racial inequality. For more information or to make a donation: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $25K from Kaiser

Women’s Empowerment has received $25,000 in new support from Kaiser Permanente to help Sacramento women experiencing homelessness during the ongoing housing crisis. Kaiser is supporting Women’s Empowerment’s work to empower unhoused women with economic opportunity so they can keep their families healthy.  

“Kaiser Permanente has been one of our most steadfast supporters over the years, and we are grateful for their continued investment in our work as we find new ways to help women overcome homelessness during the prolonged housing crisis in Sacramento,” 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 women and their children can break the generational 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.

The grant from Kaiser will fund Women’s Empowerment’s work with unhoused women in Sacramento to ensure they have a wide range of tools to secure quality jobs and careers that lead to a livable wage and safe home for their families, including job training and support groups for women who have experienced domestic violence or substance use.

“We’re proud to support Women’s Empowerment and its efforts to reduce homelessness and increase access to steady jobs in the Sacramento area,” said James (Jay) L. Robinson III, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Sacramento and South Sacramento. “Providing access to safe, stable housing and opportunities for employment are part of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improve the health of the communities we serve.”

Last year, 121 Women’s Empowerment graduates secured employment or enrolled in paid training or education. Since 2001, 1,837 women have graduated from the program with their 3,894 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org.

Women’s Empowerment to Hold Gala Sept. 21

Sacramento nonprofit Women’s Empowerment will hold its Transformation Gala on Sept. 21 at 5:30pm at the Pavilion at Haggin Oaks, where guests will raise funds and celebrate the program that educates, empowers and employs unhoused Sacramento women so they can support their families. Fifty program graduates will join community members at the event for dinner, live auction, Fund-A-Dream and award ceremony. Two graduates will share their stories rising from homelessness. The annual gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, raising a fifth of the annual budget. To purchase tickets, sponsor a graduate to attend or become a sponsor, visit Womens-Empowerment.org/Gala.

“We are proud that many community members consider the Women’s Empowerment Gala to be one of the most inspirational events in Sacramento each year,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “This event is unique because it brings together women once unhoused with the community who supported them in their rise from homelessness. They leave our program transformed and proud to be Women’s Empowerment graduates, and it shows in their radiant smiles and passionate voices at our Gala. We hope the community will join us for this genuine, powerful event that raises critical funds so Sacramento’s unhoused women and children can thrive.”

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare, transitional workforce housing and support services so women and their children can break the generational 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. Last year, 121 graduates secured employment or enrolled in paid training or education. Since 2001, 1,822 women have graduated from Women’s Empowerment’s program with their 3,882 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org.

Make It Happen Receives $5K from Lyon Cares

Make It Happen for Yolo County was recently chosen to receive a grant of $5,000 from Lyon Real Estate of Davis through the Lyon Cares Foundation. The grant will help furnish homes for local transition age youth (TAY) in need who are moving out on their own for the first time.

“We know there are many nonprofits in Yolo County doing important work, and we are honored that Lyon has chosen to invest in our work to ensure transition age youth in our community can be successful first-time renters,” said Cathi Schmidt, executive director, Make It Happen for Yolo County.

Make It Happen for Yolo County provides the TAY population, ages 18-24, with the furnishings, household goods and resources needed to move into their first apartments. The nonprofit receives furniture donations from the community and purchases new small appliances and household items. Make It Happen receives referrals from the Yolo County Child Welfare Services TAY unit, Yolo Crisis Nursery, the UC Davis Guardian Scholars program, as well as other community partners. 

The nonprofit works with clients to complete a wish list of desired household items and then brings each client to the Make It Happen storage units to select items. Youth can choose from new bedding, kitchen appliances and household cleaning products to gently used living room and dining room furniture and more. Make it Happen then arranges delivery to the client’s new home. Since its founding in 2014, the nonprofit has served more than 200 youth. To make a financial or furniture donation, visit MIHYolo.org

Each year through the Lyon Cares Foundation and individual office level programs, every Lyon office gives $10,000 in two $5,000 grants to organizations throughout Greater Sacramento, totaling $185,000 companywide. The foundation’s vision is to inspire and empower care and kindness in the community. Lyon Cares collects tax-deductible contributions from sales associates and employees. For more information, visit GoLyon.com/Lyon-Cares.

United Way to Reopen Wait List for Yolo County Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Yolo County, managed by United Way California Capital Region, will be growing this summer thanks to a statewide expansion. The program that provides free books to children from birth to age 5 regardless of income has had a full waitlist in Yolo County, but that list will reopen this summer with opportunities for more Yolo County families to sign up. For more information or to sign up, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/our-work/help-kids-succeed/dolly-parton-imagination-library/.

The statewide expansion was driven by legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Under the bipartisan bill — by Senator Shannon Grove, a Bakersfield Republican, and Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat — the California State Library coordinates the Imagination Library of California’s statewide program and provides a dollar-for-dollar match to help Imagination Library local partners like United Way sign up children to receive free, high-quality books each month.  

“Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is one of United Way’s most beloved programs here in Yolo County, and a critical tool for helping kids learn to read,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Reading is a key indicator of academic achievement, which we know is a ladder out of poverty. We are thrilled that this statewide expansion means more Yolo County families will have access to outstanding children’s books so kids can develop a lifelong love of reading and succeed in school.”

The Imagination Library is available in 30 counties in California with expansion plans to fully cover the entire state. The Imagination Library of California will focus on reaching more children and families in existing Imagination Library programs, as well as finding community partners to create new Imagination Library programs across California. California is the first state to partner with the Imagination Library to offer a fully bilingual English/Spanish book language option. Books are selected by the Imagination Library’s panel of experts in early childhood and reading. To learn more about the book selection process, visit: www.imaginationlibrary.com/usa/choosing-our-books/.

“Studies show developing reading skills at an early age leads to more long-term success in life,” said California State Librarian Greg Lucas. “Reading these free books with your children improves their language skills, grows their vocabulary and better prepares them for kindergarten.”  

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation has gifted more than 200 million free books in the United States and internationally through funding shared by the foundation and local partners. The Imagination Library mails more than 2 million books each month to enrolled children from birth to age 5. Parton envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to dream more, learn more, care more and be more. The program has been widely researched, and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, visit www.ImaginationLibrary.com.

For 100 years, United Way California Capital Region has been working to end poverty by creating stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities. Since 1923, the local United Way has raised more than $500 million to fight poverty in the region and help families succeed. The group recently announced a goal to raise $3 million to help 10,000 kids excel in school by 2025 as part of its work to end poverty for local families. The local United Way has found one place in each community to reach the most families in need: School is square one for ending poverty. United Way uses its Square One approach to end poverty for local families by helping children excel in school, investing in families, and strengthening schools with resources to address increased poverty and deep roots of racial inequality. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way 100th Anniversary Gala Raises $640K to Help Kids Excel in School

More than 450 community members came together to raise $640,000 to help local children succeed in school at United Way California Capital Region’s 100th anniversary gala on April 29. The event held on the eve of the organization’s 100th birthday at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium included dinner, keynote presentation by San Francisco 49er Arik Armstead who cofounded the Armstead Academic Project, fund a need, silent and live auctions, raffle for tickets to Game 7 of the Kings vs. Warriors playoff series the next day, and dollar-for-dollar match courtesy of the Capital Region Foundation.

The local United Way has raised more than $671,000 toward its 100th anniversary goal announced in February to raise $3 million to help 10,000 kids excel in school by 2025.

“This night was the culmination of 100 years of work in this community to end poverty for local families,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We know education is a proven ladder out of poverty, and we know school is square one for reaching families in need. Our 100th anniversary campaign is the launching pad for our next century of work to make sure our community’s children succeed in school and thrive as adults.”

United Way California Capital Region has found one place in each community to reach the most families in need: School is square one for ending poverty. United Way uses its Square One approach to end poverty for local families by helping children excel in school, investing in families, and strengthening schools with resources to address increased poverty and deep roots of racial inequality.

The local United Way offers a wide array of programming and services to ensure children and their families have the resources they need to succeed in school and in adulthood. From a regional reading tutoring program and school-readiness services for incoming kindergarteners to an income program for foster youth, guaranteed income for families, free tax preparation services and more, United Way has created a holistic approach that starts in schools.

To make a donation to the 100th anniversary campaign or learn more about United Way’s programs and services: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Make It Happen Hires First Executive Director

Davis resident Cathi Schmidt has been named the first executive director of nonprofit Make It Happen for Yolo County, which provides local foster youth and other transition age youth ages 18-24 with furnishings, household goods and resources needed to move into their first apartments. Schmidt is the nonprofit’s first paid staff member and takes the reins as the group prepares to enter its 10th anniversary year.

“We are elated to have found such a capable and heartfelt person to lead Make It Happen for Yolo County after nearly a decade as a volunteer-run nonprofit,” said Jan Judson, board president, Make It Happen for Yolo County. “Cathi has an extensive background in business development, organizational behavioral management and significant experience working with nonprofits. We are excited to work together to ensure more transition age youth have the foundation they need to become successful young adults, starting with safe housing and continuing with academic work and career.”

Schmidt will work closely with volunteers to expand partnerships, raise awareness with potential new partners, increase fundraising activities and provide additional organizational support to increase the number of transition age youth the nonprofit serves. Prior to joining Make It Happen for Yolo County, Schmidt was vice president of a global supply chain services company.

“It has been my goal and desire to work for a nonprofit that provides much needed services to the underserved youth of our community,” Schmidt said. “These young adults deserve better, and I believe in partnership with other Yolo County organizations, we can offer more. I have found Make It Happen for Yolo County to be an organization that addresses needs in a way that is truly impactful, and one in which I believe I can make a positive contribution.”

Make It Happen for Yolo County 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. The nonprofit works with clients to complete a wish list of desired household items and then select items at the group’s storage units. Since its founding in 2014, the nonprofit has served more than 200 youth. To volunteer or make a financial or furniture donation, visit MIHYolo.org.

Big Day of Giving Event: Write Encouraging Words at Women’s Empowerment

For Big Day of Giving, local residents are invited to stop by Women’s Empowerment on May 4 from noon-2pm to inscribe notebooks with words of encouragement for local women experiencing homelessness who will join the nonprofit’s employment-readiness and empowerment program this year. The event will take place at 1590 North A Street in Sacramento, and all supplies will be provided, including notebooks that future students will use as they work to rewrite their stories. Attendees will receive a Women’s Empowerment pen and sticker.

Community members also can make a donation to Women’s Empowerment now through Big Day of Giving at Womens-Empowerment.org. Gifts will be matched dollar for dollar by the Poswall Family Foundation and Women’s Empowerment’s board of directors, up to $30,000.

“With homelessness in Sacramento at an all-time high, so many women and children are waiting to turn the page, become the author of their stories and courageously transform their lives,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “We hope the community will come together on Big Day of Giving to share empowering words and make a donation that will help close the chapter on family homelessness in Sacramento, one woman, one child, at a time.”

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so women and their children can break the generational 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 for their families despite the ongoing housing crisis. Last year, 121 graduates secured employment or enrolled in paid training or education. Since 2001, 1,808 women have graduated from the program with their 3,897 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org.