United Way Brings Together 130 Leaders for Foster Youth Summit

United Way California Capital Region gathered 130 foster youth and community leaders working on foster care issues for its inaugural Foster Youth Summit on April 5 at the Sacramento State Ballroom. Participants in the summit identified opportunities to increase the number of foster youth who graduate from high school and go on to complete post-secondary education. Initial opportunities identified include a need for trauma-informed training for service providers, permanent relationships that last into adulthood, financial resources to assist with housing, employment training, and mental and physical health care. United Way is convening an action group from interested attendees and will release a summary report of findings in late spring that will determine the direction of United Way’s foster youth programs.

“This summit uncovered significant gaps between the needs of Sacramento-area foster youth and the services being provided,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We heard reoccurring themes from former foster youth about the challenges they face when they age out of care. We need to disrupt the systems we are currently using to care for our foster youth, and the outstanding participation in this summit was an important first step in our action plan to bring our community together on this issue.”

Nonprofit service providers, state and county foster youth advocates, school districts, foster youth and other supporters came together for a deep dive into community level data, a foster youth panel on real-world implications of the data, breakout sessions and a keynote speech by Jennifer Rodriguez, JD, executive director of Youth Law Center and a former foster youth.

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: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way Announces Foster Youth Summit in April

United Way is gathering foster youth and community leaders working on foster care issues for its inaugural Foster Youth Summit on April 5 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Sacramento State Ballroom, 6000 J Street. The summit will identify opportunities to increase the number of foster youth who graduate from high school and go on to complete post-secondary education. Summit findings will be released as a report that will determine the direction of United Way’s foster youth programs. For more information and to sign up: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/FosterYouthSummit.

Stephanie Bray, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region, announced the summit to 300 supporters at United Way’s 17th Annual Women United Luncheon on March 21. More than $78,000 was raised through the luncheon for United Way’s programs that are preparing foster youth for success in college and career. Since 2002, United Way’s Women United action group has raised more than $2 million for programs for local foster youth.

“It’s time to take our work to the next level,” Bray said at the luncheon. “For far too long, we have talked about the drop-out and homelessness rates for foster youth. We know that no one person or organization can do this alone. So we are convening a public forum to discuss how we move the needle on high school graduation and college or career attainment for foster youth so that fewer struggle as they transition into adulthood.”

Nonprofit service providers, state and county foster youth advocates, school districts, foster youth and other supporters will come together for a deep dive into community level data, a foster youth panel on real-world implications of the data, breakout sessions and a keynote speech by Jennifer Rodriguez, JD, executive director of Youth Law Center and a former foster youth.

At the luncheon, Bray cited a 2018 Annie E. Casey Foundation report that noted without any support, California foster youth drop out of high school at a rate of 24 percent, 30 percent do not have stable housing and 51 percent are unemployed.

“That is so much lost potential,” Bray said. “We at United Way believe that every child, including each foster youth, has the opportunity to achieve. Imagine the impact if we don’t invest in our foster youth’s potential.”

Bray referred to luncheon keynote speaker September Hargrove as an example of how foster youth achieve success, not only for themselves but for communities across the country. Hargrove, a former Sacramento foster youth who volunteered with United Way a decade ago, is now VP of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co., leading the company’s $150 million commitment to Detroit through neighborhood revitalization, small business, financial capability and workforce development.

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: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Women United Luncheon to Raise Funds for Local Foster Youth

Women across the region will gather for a spring-themed luncheon to celebrate and raise funds for local foster youth at United Way’s 17th Annual Women United Luncheon from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on March 21 at the Sheraton Grand, 1230 J Street, Sacramento. The event will feature a heartfelt program with personal stories from foster youth, successes from United Way’s programs and a fashion show with local foster youth. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/Luncheon.

“For the last 17 years, our United Way has brought women together to help change kids’ lives,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This year’s luncheon will bring together women from across our region to raise funds for local foster youth as part of our Square One Project. Together, we are investing in the potential of kids in the Sacramento region so that they graduate from high school prepared for success in college and career. Foster youth in our community deserve the same investment, and our Women United action group is providing the tools those young people need to realize their potential.”

Keynote speaker will be September Hargrove, a former foster youth in United Way’s program who spoke at the Women United Luncheon 11 years ago and is now vice president and program officer for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase in Detroit. She is responsible for leading the firm’s $150 million commitment to Detroit across the firm’s priority areas: neighborhood revitalization, small business, financial capability and workforce development.

Hargrove grew up in foster care, separated from her five younger brothers, and graduated from Grant Union High School in Sacramento. She received her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and returned to Sacramento to volunteer in a leadership capacity with United Way, among other organizations. She then attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she received her master’s degree in public policy and urban planning. Prior to her work with JPMorgan Chase, Hargrove was a White House Fellow with the National Economic Council and a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Obama administration, chief operating officer for the New Orleans Startup Fund and an economic development program manager for former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. She began her career as a California Senate Fellow and gubernatorial appointee under former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“September is an incredible example of how foster youth here in the Sacramento area have the potential to make a difference on a national scale for people in underserved communities,” 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: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way Offers Free Tax Help Across Sacramento Region

Households throughout the Sacramento region are eligible for free help preparing their taxes and claiming credits this year, saving an average of $200 in preparer fees and often earning thousands of dollars in credits. United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program, supported by Citi Community Development, kicked off in early February and continues across the region through April 15 at weekend community events and dozens of weekday sites throughout Amador, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing and help guests claim the maximum tax credits for which they are eligible. To receive help, households must have earned $60,000 or less in 2018. Services are available in several languages, and many locations require appointments. For locations and events: YourFreeTaxPrep.org. To make an appointment: call 2-1-1 or (800) 500-4931 (toll free).

“This is an important time of year for families in our community. They could be eligible to receive hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in refunds to help them become financially stable,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We encourage every eligible household to check out our locations offering free help throughout tax season and see how much money you are eligible for through the many tax credits available.” 

Households that earned $66,000 or less in 2018 are eligible to file their taxes for free online at MyFreeTaxes.org through a partnership with United Ways of California. The site provides households with free tax help they can trust and guides users through federal and state filing, including tax credits, with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address, income forms and Adjusted Gross Income from 2018.

This year, more households are eligible to claim federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. Age qualification for Cal EITC has been expanded to include ages 18-24 and working adults ages 65 and up, giving more taxpayers the opportunity to earn up to $6,500 in credits, including those who are self-employed. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to very low incomes; however if they do file, they can claim the state and federal credits for which they are eligible. Due to federal law, those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed until end of February, no matter who prepares their taxes. For more information about available tax credits, visit YourFreeTaxPrep.org.

Nearly 8,500 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way’s Free Tax Prep services for the 2017 tax year, resulting in more than $10 million in money claimed through credits and refunds. With support from Citi Community Development, free tax help was significantly expanded across the region last year in Amador, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties, increasing the number of households helped by more than 2,500 and resulting in more than a $3 million increase in refunds for the region compared to last year.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is a vital tool that provides families with a much-needed cash infusion, one that can help them pay down debts, cover expenses, and even get on the road to saving and planning for the future, ” said Mary Hogarty, vice president, Citi Community Development. “Through our support for United Way California Capital Region, we aim to expand access to tax credits like the EITC and free tax preparation for eligible people that help enable more working families to build resilient financial futures.”

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2019 Free Tax Prep program include the IRS, the State of California Department of Community Services and Development, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

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 generational 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: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way to Hold Beer and Trivia Night Fundraiser

Sacramento-area young professionals can show off their knowledge of early 2000s trivia while raising funds to help local kindergarteners save for college at United Way’s Young Leaders Society’s annual Brews & Brains trivia night on Feb. 8 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Sacramento Masonic Temple, 1123 J Street. Guests, who must be age 21 or older, will enjoy beer, food and chances to win prizes. Guests who register as a team of six by Jan. 28 will receive the early bird rate of $135, which includes a Brews & Brains pint glass, and food and drink tickets for each team member. Individuals and couples can register for $25 each to be placed on a team and receive food and a drink ticket. To learn more: www.yourlocalunitedway.org/brewsandbrains2019.

“Whether you want to show off your useless knowledge, enjoy beer, help kids or all of the above, this is the event for you,” said Creston Whiting-Casey, chair of United Way’s Young Leaders Society. “The energy in the room is always a lot of fun as we tackle questions ranging from pop culture to politics – all to help kids in our region get excited early about going to college.”

Research shows that children with even modestly funded college savings accounts are three times more likely to attend college – and four times more likely to complete college – than those without a college savings account. Parents and guardians who attend two free financial education and empowerment courses earn a $200 college savings account for their kindergartener. Parents, relatives and friends may make additional contributions to help grow the student’s account. The program recognizes that early intervention and continued parental involvement dramatically increase the probability that children will achieve higher education.

“We want to create the expectation very early in every child’s life that higher education is both a desirable and achievable goal,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “It’s fantastic to see young professionals coming together to make sure all kids have the same access to education beyond high school.”

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 generational 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: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

Donate Gifts and Stockings for Foster Youth Through United Way

Many Sacramento-area children uprooted from their homes this holiday season and placed in foster care will enter the system too late to sign up for gift donations through Sacramento County Child Protective Services. To fill this need, United Way California Capital Region has expanded its Holiday Gift and Stocking Drive focus to include these children. Local residents can join United Way’s Women United and Young Leaders Society action groups in spreading holiday cheer to foster youth by purchasing gifts from United Way’s Amazon wishlist, donating $25 for a filled holiday stocking, or giving the Ultimate Gift Package – a $100 donation that provides a filled stocking and gift for foster youth, as well as a donation to United Way California Capital Region. To learn more about United Way’s Holiday Gift and Stocking Drive, visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

“Most nonprofits have to begin creating gift donation drives in the fall. That means many children uprooted from their homes through no fault of their own in the last couple months of the year will not receive a gift or stocking – that is unacceptable, so we’re filling that gap,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “All children in our community deserve to feel cared for during the holidays, no matter where they live.”

A donation of $25 purchases one holiday stocking filled with personal items, a gift card, gloves and a blanket. Holiday gifts purchased through United Way’s Amazon Wishlist must be new, unused, unwrapped and received by Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. at United Way’s office, 10389 Old Placerville Road, Sacramento.

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 generational 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: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

Thousand Volunteers Needed for United Way’s Day of Caring

One thousand local residents are needed to spend a day caring for the community Sept. 21-22 by signing up for more than a dozen volunteer projects happening at nonprofits and schools across the region during United Way’s annual Day of Caring, sponsored by Nationwide. As part of Day of Caring, United Way and Robla School District will host the Robla I Care Fair for families on Sept. 22 at Robla Community Park, 625 Bell Avenue in Sacramento. The event will include family activities and resources for United Way’s Square One Project that is working to increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for college or career. To sign up to volunteer for a Day of Caring project or become a sponsor: http://www.yourlocalunitedway.org/day-caring.

Since United Way California Capital Region held its inaugural Day of Caring in 2013, 3,692 volunteers have donated 18,054 hours of service for 182 projects benefiting nonprofits and schools across the region.

“This is the single largest volunteer day in our region,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This is our opportunity to volunteer our time and energy as we dig our hands in to help the nonprofits and schools that do so much for our community every day.”

Day of Caring is part of United Way California Capital Region’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

United Way Helps Sacramento Region Claim $10M in Tax Refunds

Nearly 8,500 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way-led free tax help programs for the 2017 tax year, resulting in more than $10 million in money claimed through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), other credits and refunds. The in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, led by United Way California Capital Region with support from Citi Community Development, helped 7,422 local households, and United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com helped 1,066 users file taxes. Thanks to two-year funding from Citi Community Development, free tax help was significantly expanded across the region in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties this year, increasing the number of households helped by more than 2,500 and resulting in more than a $3 million increase in refunds for the region compared to last year.

A limited number of appointments are still available this summer for households looking for help with late filing and which earned $54,000 or less in 2017. IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing and will help local households claim tax credits, including federal and state EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. This year, more households are eligible to earn up to $6,500 in federal and state EITC, including those who are self-employed. To make an appointment, call 2-1-1 in Sacramento, or (916) 498-1000 if living outside the city, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

“This free tax help is crucial to ensuring our local families are financially healthy, and we are grateful to our funders and partners and 433 volunteers who have already served more than 16,000 hours to help local families,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Funding support from Citi Community Development is enabling United Way California Capital Region to increase the capacity and reach of the local VITA program to meet additional need and demand this year and next. The funding is helping to expand the number of sites offering free tax preparation and to increase the number of volunteer tax preparers.

“Nearly 20 percent of households in the Sacramento region are living on low incomes, and nearly half lack the savings to sustain an unexpected shock to income,” said Vicki Joseph, Northern California market manager for Citi Community Development. “By expanding access to free tax preparation services, United Way is enabling more families in need to benefit from this vital tax credit and helping to build their financial resiliency.”

Local households that made $66,000 or less in 2017 were eligible to file state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provided households with free tax help so they could maximize refunds and credits and save an average of $200 in preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block.

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2018 free tax preparation programs include the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union and SMUD. For a list of collaborating partners, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these free tax help programs as part of its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, the group harnesses Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all. For more information: CitiCommunityDevelopment.com, @Citi on Twitter, YouTube.com/Citi, http://Blog.Citi.com, Facebook.com/Citi and LinkedIn.com/company/citi. 

Free Tax Help Across Sacramento Region Through United Way

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

Local households throughout the Sacramento region that earned $54,000 or less in 2017 can receive free tax help in person through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) effort led by United Way California Capital Region with support from Citi Community Development. The program will kick off at the first Super Saturday event on Jan. 27 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing. For more Super Saturday events and weekday sites available during tax season, call (916) 498-1000 or visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/FreeTaxPrep. Sacramento residents can call 2-1-1.

“We want to make sure more Sacramento-area households are financially healthy, and that starts with not spending unnecessary money on tax preparation and making sure they receive all of the refunds to which they are entitled,” said Stephanie Bray, United Way California Capital Region president and CEO.

Through VITA, the national IRS program that offers free help to people who make a limited income and need help preparing their tax returns, local IRS-certified volunteers will help Sacramento-region households claim tax credits, including federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC and Cal EITC), Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. This year, more households are eligible to earn up to $6,500 in federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits, including those who are self-employed. Many Cal EITC-eligible households are not legally required to file taxes due to low income, however if they do file, they can claim the state and federal credits for which they are eligible. Those who file for EITC, Cal EITC or Child Tax Credit should plan for their refund to be delayed until Feb. 27.

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

Local households that made $66,000 or less in 2017 can file state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provides households with free tax help they can trust so they can maximize refunds and credits. As with VITA, the site helps people save an average of $200 in preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block. Users need a valid email address, income forms and Adjusted Gross Income from 2017.

Funding support from Citi Community Development will enable United Way California Capital Region to increase capacity and reach of the local VITA program to meet additional need and demand over the next two years. The funding will help expand the number of sites offering free tax preparation and increase the number of volunteer tax preparers.

“Nearly 20 percent of households in the Sacramento region are living on low incomes, and nearly half lack the savings to sustain an unexpected shock to income,” said Vicki Joseph, Northern California market manager for Citi Community Development. “By expanding access to free tax preparation services, United Way is enabling more families in need to benefit from this vital tax credit and help build their financial resiliency.”

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2018 free tax preparation programs include U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union and SMUD. For a list of collaborating partners, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these free tax preparation programs as part of its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, the group harnesses Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all. For more information: CitiCommunityDevelopment.com, @Citi on Twitter, YouTube.com/Citi, http://Blog.Citi.com, Facebook.com/Citi and LinkedIn.com/company/citi.

 

 

United Way Receives $31K from U.S. Bank

United Way California Capital Region recently received a $31,000 grant from U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program to help fund United Way’s Square One Project. The project is the local United Way’s 20-year promise to end poverty by significantly increasing the number of students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond.

“Our Square One Project is about bringing the community together to make it possible for kids to succeed in adulthood,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We are honored that U.S. Bank Foundation has recognized this important work through its Community Possible program and provided the funds to make it happen.”

Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

“At U.S. Bank, we are focused on being a good corporate citizen and closing the gap between people and opportunity in local communities across the country,” said Pamela Maxwell, vice president of corporate social responsibility at U.S. Bank. “We invest our time, resources and passion in economic development by supporting efforts to create stable jobs, better homes and vibrant communities. On behalf of all of our employees in the region, we are so proud to partner with United Way California Capital Region to help fund the Square One Project.”

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. Philanthropic support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate giving program reached $54.2 million in 2016. Visit www.usbank.com/community.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, with $464 billion in assets as of June 30, 2017, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,088 banking offices in 25 states and 4,826 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com