SUCCESS STORY: Financial Pathways

Terry arrives at his counselor’s office wearing a Carolina Beach hoodie. This, he proudly says, is a souvenir from his recent trip to the Wilmington area. The trip was a milestone for Terry: he saved and paid for it himself.

Terry is disabled and has long been unable to handle his own finances. However, his brother had always been there to manage Terry’s disability income and provide a home. Then, Terry’s brother died suddenly and Terry’s life went into disarray. On top of the personal loss, Terry had to find a Representative Payee to manage his money. This is a government safeguard in place for some disabled citizens to insure they do not become homeless and exploited.

Terry signed up with his first payee agency, but continued to struggle. He found a room in an expensive and chaotic boarding house, with no peace or privacy. There was rarely money left after rent and food and without his brother’s supervision Terry made choices that put him in danger. He became estranged from what little family he had.

When his first Payee agency closed, it referred Terry to Financial Pathways. Of his counselor Erica, Terry says, “She’s good! She hangs on to my money for me.” With Erica’s help, Terry began saving a few dollars for the first time. She motivated him to set a goal, and connected him to as many social service agencies as possible. She helped mobilize additional benefits so his limited income could be stretched to the maximum. Next, housing was addressed. Today, Terry lives in city-subsidized apartment, a very small one bedroom, but it is all his. He pays half the rent he was charged at the boarding house.

She is always nice to him, he says, and respectful. “She helped me learn to stop asking to waste my extra money.” Eventually, he saved enough to meet his goal of financing a trip to see his Uncle at Carolina Beach, who he had not seen in years. He beams when he says the visit was “Good, good, good.”

Erica reflects that, “When we get a client stabilized, they often can make better choices.”

Terry says, “I don’t ask for things I don’t need now.” Erica asks him what else is going on with him, and he reports that here has been a mix-up with his food stamp paperwork. “Do you want me to give them a call?” He grins at her as she picks up the phone. Clearly a bond of trust exists.

Build it with KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit dedicated to bringing active play into the daily lives of all kids. On a local level, KaBOOM! will be working closely with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, with support from United Way of Forsyth County, to find sites in need of a great place to play. Ultimately, two sites will be selected to engage in an 8-10 week planning process that will end with the creation of a brand new playspace for the children in each of the communities.

Applications are now being accepted from nonprofit organizations and grassroots groups in Forsyth County that would benefit from and be interested in the process of a community-built playspace partnership.

Please visit apply.kaboom.org to learn more about the “Build it with KaBOOM!” grant and access the online application or contact Ali LeBel, Community Outreach Coordinator, at 202-464-6199.

The Gift of Giving Back

Christmas 2015 was a very special one for me and my family. This was our newest family member’s first Christmas and our oldest son, Zachary Jr.’s fourth Christmas. We all recognize the former as a special time (first Christmas), but the fourth one is maybe even more significant for our family. Zach is now at an age where he can understand the story of Christmas, giving to others and sharing—among many other life lessons. So, in an effort to carry on our family’s tradition of benevolence and altruism we decided to show Zach “the way” through volunteering during the holiday season. We felt having the opportunity to volunteer at the Salvation Army alongside his mom would be a great start!

Zach really enjoyed helping. His favorite part was picking out the toys that he thought other kids would like–also the toys he wanted, conveniently! It was an awesome experience. Thank you, Young Leaders United, for offering our family this opportunity!

Author: Connie McLendon, YLU Member

VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS NEEDED FOR JANUARY 2016 HOMELESS COUNT

MEDIA ADVISORY: For immediate release

CONTACT:

Kathleen Wiener
336-721-9378 (office)
Kathleen.Wiener@uwforsyth.org

Andrea Kurtz
336-721-9373(office)
Andrea.Kurtz@uwforsyth.org

VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS NEEDED FOR JANUARY 2016 HOMELESS COUNT

Winston-Salem, NC …..The Homeless Point-in-Time Count is a one day, unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families in Forsyth County. The count, coordinated by United Way of Forsyth County and the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Homeless Council, helps determine the extent of homelessness in our community. The data collected is used to plan services for the homeless throughout the year.

Volunteers are needed to help with the identification and counting of people who are sleeping outside on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas. Volunteers will be organized into groups of four or five and in two shifts, 9pm-12am and 1am-4am. Organizers will be assembling bags of necessities to hand out to homeless men and women and are seeking donations of winter hats, scarves, hand warmers, individual tissue packets, sun screen, bottled water, canned foods with pop-tops or pre-packaged food, and plastic utensils.

Volunteers may register by visiting www.forsythunitedway.org. Donations can be delivered to United Way of Forsyth County at 301 N. Main Street.

In October 2015, Winston-Salem was certified as having met the goal of ending veteran homelessness. The community is attempting to end chronic homelessness by December 2016. Both of these milestones are part of Zero 2016, a national campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness.

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United Way of Forsyth County believes quality of life relies on three building blocks—education, financial stability, and health. All three are critical and interdependent to the collective success of our community. United Way of Forsyth County changes the community by aligning resources and strategic partners to achieve measurable, lasting results. The organization invests in improving student success and the high school graduation rate, increasing financial stability among lower-income individuals and families, broadening access to health care and prescription medications to the un- and under-insured, and providing critical assistance to those facing immediate crisis. Learn more about our work at www.ForsythUnitedWay.org.

COMMUNITY-WIDE INVESTMENTS TOTALING $8.8 MILLION ANNOUNCED

FOR RELEASE ON: Monday, January 4th, 2016

CONTACT: Tory Gillett
336-721-9319 (office)
Tory.Gillett@uwforsyth.org

COMMUNITY-WIDE INVESTMENTS TOTALING $8.8 MILLION ANNOUNCED

United Way of Forsyth County has awarded $8,821,257 to social service organizations in Forsyth County as part of the 2016-2017 community-wide investment cycle, which runs from July 2016 to June 2017. As in the past, the focus of the funded programs is on United Way’s priority impact areas: health, education, financial stability and basic needs. This year, however, strategic shifts were made to United Way’s investments to achieve greater impact.

Sallye Liner, United Way Board Chair, says “We have a history of funding good programs with long-term partners and have seen positive results in the lives of individuals and families. At the same time, the county’s poverty rate continues to rise, food insecurity is a growing concern, and health issues continue to escalate. United Way believes these challenges demand that we evolve from operating simply as a fundraiser and distributor of grants to specific partners, to focusing on developing and executing integrated and long-term solutions that address the root causes of our community’s challenges. Using this approach, we have seen success with increasing the community’s high school graduation rate and eliminating veteran homelessness. We have the opportunity to achieve similar results in the areas of health and financial stability, but that will require new, creative thinking by us and all of our partners—new and traditional.”

Strategic shifts made during this grant cycle include the following:

• Developing new population-level metrics for health and financial stability, in addition to those that exist for education.
• Encouraging potential partners to work together to create and propose comprehensive, integrated programs to address our community’s needs—recognizing that an individual’s or family’s issues are interconnected and that such solutions will better address their needs. Partners were encouraged to submit as many proposals as they liked.
• Pursuing a place-based strategy (“Place Matters”) in thirteen neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem and working with residents to develop and implement a focused, integrated plan to strengthen their neighborhoods
• Evaluating proposals in two separate funding cycles—the first for community-wide investments and the second for Place Matters specifically.

The 2016-2017 community-wide investments went to the programs and collaborations that have the potential to move the needle most quickly and sustainably with measurable effects. The programs selected align best with United Way’s defined priorities and show promise in achieving significant impact in the areas of health (21% of funds), education (31% of funds), financial stability (11% of funds) and basic needs (30% of funds). A transition fund of $450,000 has been established to help those partners who experienced a decrease in funding over 20%.

In addition to the funds granted as part of the community-wide investment process, another $2,841,314 has been reserved for United Way’s Place Matters initiative. Those grants will be announced in March of 2016. Although the funding is being handled in two waves this year, the total amount being invested in the community is expected to remain the same. More specific detail on the programs funded as part of the community-wide investment process is available on United Way’s website at https://www.forsythunitedway.org/our-impact/positive-change-2/.

“Where United Way invests the community’s dollars is never an easy decision and, unfortunately, the need always outpaces the available resources. Investments are targeted to the programs that promise the best results on the issues that are most pressing for our residents,” says Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County.

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United Way of Forsyth County believes quality of life relies on three building blocks—education, financial stability and health. All three are critical and interdependent to the collective success of our community. United Way of Forsyth County creates positive change in the community by aligning resources and strategic partners to achieve measurable, lasting results. We invest in improving student success and the high school graduation rate, increasing financial stability among lower-income individuals and families, broadening access to health care and prescription medications to the un- and under-insured, and providing critical assistance to those facing immediate crisis. Learn more about our work at www.forsythunitedway.org