Tickets on Sale for United Way Brews and Brains Fundraiser

Local residents can enjoy independent craft brews and trivia in an urban Biergarten at United Way’s 7th annual Brews and Brains fundraiser on Oct. 14, hosted by United Way’s Young Leaders Society and sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Tickets are on sale for the outdoor event at SacYard Community Tap House that also will include a raffle, commemorative pint glass, food and entertainment to raise funds for United Way’s work to create digital equity across the region. Tickets are expected to sell out. To purchase, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/YLS-Brews-Brains.

“Brews and Brains is one of the most anticipated trivia nights of the year,” said Eric Grabin, chair, United Way’s Young Leaders Society. “What can be better than trivia, brews and food while supporting the ongoing effort of United Way’s Digital Equity program and Young Leaders Society?”

United Way launched its three-year digital equity partnership with the City of Sacramento, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova and community nonprofits in July to close the local digital divide – unequal technology and internet access – that has expanded during the pandemic. Building on its pilot project with the City of Sacramento in fall 2020, United Way and its partners are working to address the issue of digital equity long-term both inside and beyond the city limits. The program will provide internet access for up to 1,000 households a year, refurbished desktop computers for up to 500 people per year and digital literacy training through online resources and classes.

With more than 24 million unconnected households nationwide, the digital divide disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 35 percent of adults who do not use broadband at home are older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority, and more likely to have a disability than those with a home connection. In Sacramento, there are neighborhoods where 25 percent of households have no internet access. To learn more, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Digital.

“The digital divide is not new, but it has expanded rapidly with the pandemic when so many parents began working from home and kids began learning remotely,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We need to address this issue immediately. We are grateful to United Way’s Young Leaders Society for recognizing that this is a critical program for achieving equity across the region, and for selecting this program for their fundraising work this year.”

United Way’s Young Leaders Society creates opportunities for young professionals who live or work in the California capital region to connect with peers and community leaders and give back through acts of service and volunteering. For more information or to join, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/YLS.

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.

United Way Seeks School Supplies for Twin Rivers Public Housing Students

Local residents can help students in the Twin Rivers Public Housing Community, formerly known as Dos Rios, return to school this month equipped and empowered to succeed by purchasing school supplies from the Amazon wishlist set up by United Way California Capital Region and Urban Strategies, Inc. From scissors and calculators to paper and pens, supplies are needed by Aug. 27 and can be purchased by visiting YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

“After a school year unlike any other, we want to make sure Twin Rivers students are equipped and empowered to succeed when they head back to school this month,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “As part of United Way’s work to end poverty in our region, we must start by ensuring that every family and community has what it needs to succeed, and that includes making sure all children have the supplies to be successful in school.”

United Way and Urban Strategies have been partnering with the Twin Rivers Public Housing Community over the past year during the redevelopment to the new Mirasol Village. Urban Strategies was contracted by Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to provide family support services to residents during the redevelopment. United Way partnered with Urban Strategies to work closely with residents to build their capacity to lead and to advocate for their community and household. This partnership has resulted in tangible outcomes and results for families and youth. The school supply drive is the latest partnership with the Twin Rivers 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.

United Way Launches 3-Year Digital Equity Partnership

In a press conference today, United Way California Capital Region launched its three-year digital equity partnership with the City of Sacramento, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova and community nonprofits to close the local digital divide – unequal technology and internet access – that has expanded during the pandemic. Building on its pilot project with the City of Sacramento in fall 2020, United Way and its partners are working to address the issue of digital equity long-term both inside and beyond the city limits.

“The digital divide is not new, but it has expanded rapidly with the pandemic when so many parents began working from home and kids began learning remotely,” said Amber Lovett, interim president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We need to address this issue immediately, and we need to be looking at how we can continue working toward digital equity long after the pandemic ends. This program is doing exactly that, and we are grateful to have so many community partners who recognize that this is a systemic issue and critical for achieving equity across the region.”

United Way is partnering with select community-based nonprofits to identify and triage households eligible for broadband assistance, computers and devices, and basic digital literacy. These selected nonprofits will work with digital champions – community residents with technological skills who speak multiple languages – to provide outreach and case management in targeted geographic areas. Other partners, including local school districts, will provide outreach and referrals. Community hub partners, such as social service providers, will provide outreach, direct assistance and basic digital literacy and will work with the digital champions.

“Closing the digital divide is crucial to ensuring that everyone in our region can access educational and economic opportunity,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “I’m proud that as a city, we have invested nearly $200 million over the past three years directly in community programs like these, working with dedicated partners like United Way, SMUD and our many nonprofits that work tirelessly to make Sacramento a more equitable place.”

With more than 24 million unconnected households nationwide, the digital divide disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 35 percent of adults who do not use broadband at home are older, poorer, less educated, more likely to be a racial or ethnic minority, and more likely to have a disability than those with a home connection. In Sacramento, there are neighborhoods where 25 percent of households have no internet access.

“SMUD’s goal is to improve the lives of our customers, and we’re doing that through innovative partnerships that serve those in greatest need,” said SMUD Director Gregg Fishman. “Our Sustainable Communities program is working throughout the region to provide equity and access to under-resourced communities so everyone has the same opportunity to thrive. Closing the digital divide will play a key role in uplifting our community.”

Eligible households can complete an initial screening application, and once approved, will be considered for a variety of services, including internet access for up to 2,000 households a year, refurbished desktop computers for up to 500 people per year and digital literacy training through online resources and classes. Through the program, households will receive a year of free internet access either through Comcast Digital Essential Services’ broadband or through an AT&T hot spot, with priority given to low-income households with children and senior citizens. Those in need of digital literacy will receive a list of online sites or may be referred to partner nonprofits with access to virtual or in-person classes. The program’s digital champions will provide basic digital literacy support including web forms, email set-up, internet research and access to resources. For eligibility requirements: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Digital or 211.

Over the course of three months in fall 2020, United Way’s pilot program with the City of Sacramento, which was spearheaded by Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby, distributed 949 laptops and 266 hotspots and trained 115 participants, creating the foundation for the broader partnership.

“Bridging the digital divide is a moral imperative,” said Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby. “Championing this effort during the pandemic has been an honor and has created a path forward to continuing the work of connecting our neighborhoods to affordable, fast, reliable access to the internet.”

The program is funded through City of Sacramento, SMUD, City of Rancho Cordova and United Way California Capital Region. The portion of funding from United Way comes from the $10 million gift it received from renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in December 2020.

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.

As the nation’s sixth-largest, community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for almost 75 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies and sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit SMUD.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Way Free Tax Help Shifts

United Way California Capital Region is shifting its free tax help program from virtual one-on-one assistance to virtual group assistance and a do-it-yourself option, due to a rise in demand and the new filing deadline of May 17. Eligible households can now visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org to file their taxes online for free by themselves or to sign up for a free April 10 Zoom webinar where United Way’s IRS-certified volunteers will assist the group in filing their taxes online. Space is limited in the Zoom session, so eligible residents should sign up as soon as possible. United Way’s virtual one-on-one appointments are booked through the rest of tax season.

Households throughout the Sacramento region are eligible for free virtual help preparing taxes and claiming credits this year, saving an average of $200 in preparer fees and earning up to $8,000 in credits. More households are eligible to participate in United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program this year, including those earning $65,000 or less in 2020. Qualified households can prepare tax returns online for free and claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible, including the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and CalEITC).

“After a year where many people lost employment and income, it’s more important than ever for households in our region to take advantage of this program that helps people save money on tax preparation fees and ensures they apply for the maximum refund and credits for which they are eligible,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This program is an important way for our community to jumpstart the local economy in 2021, and it’s a key element of our Square One Project that provides resources for local families so their children can graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college or career.”

This year, more people are eligible to receive the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit, including qualifying ITIN holders, after Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1876. Households may be eligible for CalEITC if the taxpayer is at least 18 years old and the household earned less than $30,000 in 2020. Many CalEITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income; however, if they file, they can claim state and federal credits.

Despite the deadline extension, experts recommend everyone files early, noting that many people do not realize that unemployment income may be taxable. Recent legislation exempts $10,200 of unemployment income received in 2020 for individuals with less than $150,000 of income. For those who have already filed, guidance will soon be provided by the IRS. Amended returns should not be filed at this time for these adjustments.

Filers also may qualify for the new Golden State Stimulus if they have filed their 2020 tax return and qualify for CalEITC or hold an ITIN and make less than $75,000. Filers must be California residents when the payment is issued and cannot be claimed as dependants.

United Way’s Free Tax Prep program was shifted online last year when the pandemic and stay-at-home order hit. Even with the pivot to virtual services, United Way’s Free Tax Prep volunteers filed 7,060 returns for the 2019 tax year and put $10.5 million back in the pockets of local families through federal refunds.

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

Local United Way President and CEO to Step Down

Stephanie McLemore Bray, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region, will leave her position in mid-April as she transitions to her new role as chief engagement officer for Seattle Foundation in May. Amber Lovett, chief resource development and marketing officer at United Way California Capital Region, will transition to interim president and CEO on April 1 while the organization undergoes a nationwide search.

“It has been a privilege to lead United Way California Capital Region for the past seven years,” Bray said. “I am proud of our work to end poverty, starting at school, by removing barriers to student success for low-income children. Through our partnerships with nonprofits, government, school districts, donors and community members, we have helped many families move from crisis to thriving. Our local United Way is well-positioned for its next leader to continue that great work.” 

Bray launched United Way’s Square One Project in 2015, which continues to show improved education outcomes for low-income children in the region. She also completed a successful merger with Woodland United Way and brought in more than $16 million since March 2020, including a $10 million gift from renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

As chief engagement officer for Seattle Foundation, the Seattle region’s community foundation, Bray will oversee engagements and relationships with the organization’s hundreds of philanthropists, investors and donors. With more than $1 billion in charitable assets and committed bequests, Seattle Foundation awards more than $100 million annually to nonprofit organizations working to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all.

“Stephanie has been a tireless advocate for people who are marginalized in the greater Sacramento area, and Seattle is fortunate to have her join the community,” said Steve Lins of SMUD and chair of United Way’s board of directors. “We are grateful for all she has done for United Way, and we know she is leaving us in an outstanding position to continue accomplishing important change in our community under a new leader.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Way Offers Free Tax Help

Households throughout the Sacramento region are eligible for free virtual help preparing taxes and claiming credits this year, saving an average of $200 in preparer fees and earning up to $8,000 in credits. More households are eligible to participate in United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program this year, including those earning $65,000 or less in 2020. Qualified households can upload documents online and a United Way IRS-certified volunteer will call them to help claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible before submission, including the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and CalEITC). The IRS will not begin accepting electronically filed returns until Feb. 12, but United Way recommends filing as soon as tax documents are in hand and it will submit the returns on Feb. 12. To learn more, visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org.

“After a year where many people lost employment and income, it’s more important than ever for households in our region to take advantage of this program that helps people save money on tax preparation fees and ensures they apply for the maximum refund and credits for which they are eligible,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This program is an important way for our community to jumpstart the local economy in 2021, and it’s a key element of our Square One Project that provides resources for local families so their children can graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college or career.”

This year, more people are eligible to receive the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit, including qualifying ITIN holders, after Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1876. Households may be eligible for CalEITC if the taxpayer is at least 18 years old and the household earned less than $30,000 in 2020. Many CalEITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income; however if they file, they can claim state and federal credits. Experts recommend everyone files early, noting that many people do not realize that unemployment income is taxable.

United Way’s Free Tax Prep program was shifted online last year when the pandemic and stay-at-home order hit. Even with the pivot to virtual services, United Way’s Free Tax Prep volunteers filed 7,060 returns for the 2019 tax year and put $10.5 million back in the pockets of local families through federal refunds.

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

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Donates $10M to Our Local United Way

MacKenzie Scott announced today that she has made a donation to United Way California Capital Region. The philanthropist chose the local United Way chapter to receive a $10 million gift because of the group’s work to fill basic needs while also addressing long-term systemic inequities that have deepened during the pandemic.

“This is a game-changer for our local United Way and our community as a whole,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “With a gift like this, we can expand our work to end poverty through our Square One Project so kids can succeed in school. This gift also will help us and our nonprofit partners provide more relief and forge a path toward recovery and resilience for our community. There truly are no words to express our gratitude to Ms. Scott. We are humbled and honored that she chose to invest in our work in the greater Sacramento area.”

Scott’s gift to United Way California Capital Region is part of the Giving Pledge she signed in 2019 to donate the majority of her wealth. Her donations to organizations across the country have focused in part on promoting economic parity, racial equity, public health and education. Scott is the former wife of Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.

“Last year I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty,” Scott said in a Medium article she published in July. “There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.”

United Way California Capital Region has invested more heavily in addressing inequities this year with the onset of the pandemic. The group raised $572,000 in three months through the United Way COVID-19 Local Relief Fund to provide 1,145 families in need across the region with a one-time $500 distribution to help offset costs of rent, bills and other basic needs. Through a partnership with the City of Sacramento, United Way is working to bridge the digital divide that has widened during the pandemic, with a focus on low-income children and senior citizens. Through this Digital Equity Program, the partnership is providing free broadband access for up to 10,000 low-income Sacramento households, and free computers and digital literacy training for up to 1,000 Sacramento households. United Way also joined a partnership with the County of Sacramento to provide financial assistance to individuals and families in Sacramento County who are quarantined due to a positive COVID-19 test or are in isolation from being exposed to someone who has tested positive. 

“Our team has been working tirelessly to stretch our resources as far as possible to help families in our community through this difficult year,” Bray said. “We cannot thank our staff, donors and volunteers enough for their investment in our work that is now being recognized on a national stage. This gift has brought us to the next level, and we are grateful to have our community of supporters by our side as we expand our Square One Project to create stronger, healthier and more compassionate communities across the greater Sacramento region.”

United Way’s current work includes removing barriers to success in school for low-income students, helping families achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency, and providing support to youth who are transitioning out of foster care.  

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

United Way Launches Shine Your Light Holiday Drive

At the end of a year that has been dark for many communities across the country, United Way California Capital Region is asking residents across the region to join its Shine Your Light holiday campaign, which includes opportunities for community giving and safe volunteering during the holiday season. Visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Holiday-Giving.

“This is a year no one will forget – a year filled with deep pain, division and hardship,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Children are being asked to attend school virtually and help younger siblings. Parents have lost jobs that support their family’s needs. Neighbors are struggling to stay afloat while small businesses close around them. During this dark year as we enter the holidays, we are asking residents across the greater Sacramento area to join our Shine Your Light campaign by contributing to our nonprofit partners’ gift drives, volunteering and making financial donations.”

For the Shine Your Light campaign, United Way has gathered the needs of nearly 50 local nonprofits across the region on its website, including which need clothing, blankets, shelf-stable food, hygiene items, winter items, holiday gifts, gift cards and volunteers this holiday season. Shine Your Light participants also can make a financial donation to United Way California Capital Region to help lift up neighbors who are struggling, including children, foster youth, students impacted by COVID-19 and families trying to make ends meet. As part of the campaign, United Way’s Women United action group that supports local foster youth is matching new donations to the group until they reach $35,000, giving donors the opportunity to double their gift.

“In these difficult times, your gift can be a much-needed light in someone’s life during the holidays and in the months to come,” Bray said.

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