Our Community Needs Your Help
We need your help. Our community needs your help. This year has posed unprecedented obstacles for the Capital Region. Needs continue to skyrocket, at the same time the corporate landscape is changing dramatically making it more difficult to raise funds to solve community problems. The issues facing our community are complex and cannot be solved with a single approach. What United Way does is pull together multiple programs and services to create solutions to these problems.
United Way of the Capital Region has set a fundraising goal of $11.1 million this year. We are halfway to this amount. While many corporate and employee efforts are still underway, we have significant concerns about reaching our goal without asking the community for additional help. Getting to our goal is not about a number; it’s about helping people. Every dollar we raise helps more people in need.
How you can help:
Women’s Leadership Network Fall Luncheon Highlights
More than 200 women attended United Way of the Capital Region’s Women’s Leadership Network’s (WLN) Conversations With Women Who Make a Difference luncheon at the West Shore Country Club in late October. Featured speaker Christine Sears, president and CEO of Penn National Insurance, inspired the group by sharing what she aspires for the Capital Region.
The audience also learned about the Money in Your Pocket program from volunteer and TE Connectivity employee Elaine Brinley. The Money In Your Pocket program provides free income tax preparation to low- to moderate-income working families. The program, led by United Way, is comprised of community organizations committed to helping working families succeed.
Volunteers Needed to Help Distribute Funds
United Way of the Capital Region is looking for dedicated volunteers from Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties to help decide what community programs and services should receive funding in 2016/2017.
Many people wonder how United Way decides where contributions will go and how much funding programs will receive. Its people just like you that make the fund distribution process work.
Each year approximately 200 volunteers receive training, visit program sites, review funding requests, meet with agency staff and board members, and evaluate programs. They make sure programs are needed, evaluate their success, and make sure agencies applying for funding meet our accountability standards. Volunteers review audits and other financial reports and consider an agency’s financial health in the decision-making process. When needed, these volunteers will also meet with agencies that are facing challenges throughout year to provide oversight and technical assistance.
Holiday Volunteer Opportunities
The Volunteer Center can help you and your family, work group or service group find a holiday volunteer project. Holiday Connections, an agency holiday project and wish list, is available to help individuals and companies select holiday projects by providing a multitude of options, complete with contact information.
Whether your company (or even your department) is interested in adopting a family and purchasing gifts, collecting food, gathering winter essentials for homeless families, volunteering at a gift-wrapping booth to help an agency raise money, or simply donating money, we can help you find just the right match.
View a copy of this year’s Holiday Connections project list.
Volunteers Needed to Help Working Families with Tax Preparation
Volunteers are needed to offer free tax preparation to help working families receive the federal and state tax credits they are eligible for. No previous experience is required and training is provided.
In tax year 2014, 230 volunteers provided free income tax preparation for low- to moderate-income families as part of the Money in Your Pocket (MIYP) campaign, a community collaboration of organizations committed to the economic stability of local families. Nationally the effort is known as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. Volunteers filed 5,246 tax returns, resulting in more than $5.2 million returned to local families. This helped individuals and families increase their income by an average of six percent.
The Money in Your Pocket campaign received financial support from the PNC Foundation, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.
What do we aspire for the Capital Region? Recently, our United Way has been asking this question of ourselves and our friends and neighbors. We’re finding that our vision for the community is far more similar than different. We all want a strong and vibrant region where everyone has the resources they need for a good life.
Think about what it takes to have a quality life. Good health for you and your family, steady income that provides stability, education for a better future and the knowledge that if an emergency happens, you have some place to turn. Health, education, income and basic needs - this is what we call the building blocks for a better life.
Last year, our United Way began changing the way to do work because we want to help more people achieve these building blocks. We want to work together as a community to address the root causes of an issue before they grow into problems. We understand that no one organization can solve the problems in our region, but together we can develop lasting solutions.
United Way Identifies Areas of Focus, Embarks on Second Phase of Strategic Vision
United Way of the Capital Region recently completed the first phase of its strategic vision. As part of this effort, our board of directors recently approved critical areas of focus to drive our work for the coming years. These include:
- Education – Disparities in school readiness and school achievement.
- Health – Lack of access to health care.
- Income – Children and families living in poverty.
- Basic Needs – Increase in the number of families needing safety net services.
United Way of the Capital Region determined these areas after a year-long community assessment process with six partner organizations. “Life in the Capital Region: 2014 Assessment of Our Community” examined the changing demographics and health and human service needs through the lens of health, education, income and basic needs.
Life in the Capital Region: 2014 Assessment of Our Community
For the last five years, there has been a steady increase in the demand for health and human service programs in the Capital Region. To identify and understand the needs in our community, United Way of the Capital Region formed a partnership with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber, Perry County, West Shore Chamber of Commerce, Cumberland County, Dauphin County and The Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Throughout 2014, this partnership conducted a comprehensive assessment of life in our community, which captured data about trends in health and human service needs, as well as community perceptions about issues facing the Capital Region. The result is a unique and comprehensive look at our community.
“Life in the Capital Region: 2014 Assessment of Our Community,” was released on March 5, 2015.