community Impact Report
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Driving measurable change during the pandemic
A year after the pandemic hit our region, we continue to help our neighbors and neighborhoods recover and rebuild—and we’ll never stop.
people who struggled with chronic homelessness moved into fully
outfitted apartments thanks to
The Way Home project.
rides to and from COVID vaccine appointments provided through
our Lyft partnership.
Our newest Family Center in Columbia will provide affordable, accessible childcare.
For more news updates, visit our news page.
new website launched!
Check out uwcm.org for news,
reports, and info on our work.
people gave their time to help
others during Spring Back
Inspiring our supporters to break down barriers to equity
Installing free Wi-Fi hotspots to bridge the digital divide
Delivering thousands of children’s books in honor of Read Across America Day
A PLACE TO CALL HOME
Thanks to a partnership between United Way, Health Care for the Homeless, and Episcopal Housing Corporation, 20 people who were once chronically homeless now live in safe, stable housing at Four Ten Lofts in Baltimore. The Way Home project, led by our Leaders United group, shopped for and filled the apartments with household items many of us take for granted – like dishes, utensils, bath towels, food, appliances, and more. This was the second Way Home project the group has led (the first was in 2017), and donor support increased 200%.
To help us respond to new and growing areas of need, we conducted a survey on the impact of the pandemic. Among the key findings: Respondents who fit the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) profile were significantly more likely to say they were concerned about paying household expenses and bills, providing enough food for the household, and the loss of one or more jobs. Seventy-three percent of all respondents with children said that they had experienced issues or had concerns related to childcare and education.
NEW FAMILY CENTER IN COLUMBIA
Parents who live or work in Howard County—where the average cost for childcare for two is almost $2,000 a month--will soon have a much-needed option for affordable, accessible care for their children thanks to United Way and our partners. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in early May for our Family Center in Columbia, which will be a resource hub focusing on early childhood education and a wide range of support services for parents and their family members.
SMILES ALL AROUND
Twenty-eight people received free dentures in early May at our first Dentures Access Day clinic, a partnership with the Maryland State Dental Association Foundation and local volunteer dentists. Watch the reaction of one patient here! Dentures aren’t covered by Medicaid or Medicare, which means they’re particularly out of reach for low-income patients. We’re proud to break down a barrier that can keep people out of the workforce, devastate their mental health, and affect their diet and health.
The City of Baltimore honored the Family Center at our Neighborhood Zone in Poppleton with a Certificate of Recognition for fulfilling a critical need by providing free, quality childcare for children of teen parents enrolled at Excel Academy (site of the Family Center), enabling these students to stay in school and graduate. And Wainie Youn, United Way’s Director of Equity and Executive Office Operations, was honored by the Baltimore Business Journal as a 2021 Leader in Diversity.
PARTNERS FOR ACCESS
United Way held an April press conference with Delegate Brooke Lierman, Councilman Zeke Cohen, Rowdy Orb.it founder and CEO Jonathan Moore, Baltimore City’s Director of Broadband and Digital Equity, Jason Hardebeck, and community and business leaders to kick off our latest WiFi hotspot in South Baltimore and to celebrate the passage of the Digital Connectivity Act. United Way provided important data supporting the passage of the act, which established a new Office of Statewide Broadband to improve access to affordable, high-speed internet across the state.
Watch what our partners and a young resident had to say about the need for equitable digital access.
STEP (STRATEGIC TARGETED EVICTION PROGRAM) EXPANSION
Our nationally recognized STEP (Strategic Targeted Eviction Prevention) Program assists people behind on rent because of the pandemic's impact on their lives and livelihoods. Our June press conference announcing its expansion and $43 million in funding for rent relief included leaders from housing departments in all STEP 2.0 jurisdictions: Baltimore City and Baltimore, Harford, and Howard counties. The program covers past-due rent, up to three months of future rent for qualified households, and past-due utility bills.
Our events and activities this quarter generated financial support and built awareness of critical needs in our key focus areas: housing, health, employment, and education.
The Realities of Inequity
Hundreds logged on for our ongoing Realities of Inequity panel discussions that focus on obstacles preventing people in our region from getting ahead—or even just getting by. In April, local leaders in housing explored the coming “eviction tsunami” and what stands between an estimated 200,000 renters and homelessness. In June, leading Central Maryland lawmakers shared their biggest achievements in the 2021 legislative session. Their commentary showed how intertwined basic needs like housing, transportation, childcare, and food are—and their impact on the economic stability, health, and well-being of Maryland residents.
Watch all of our Realties of Inequity sessions here.
Volunteers Step Out—and Up
More than a year after the pandemic began, we deemed it safe to participate in socially distanced, outdoor volunteer activities and launched our Spring Back into Volunteering Day in late May. More than 100 people joined us at sites across Central Maryland for gardening and beautification projects. A virtual baby shower for parents in our Family Center in Poppleton (opening September 2020) raised more than $2,500, and 250 baby items were purchased from our special registry. Volunteers also prepared 1,000 stress relief kits containing important information about mental health and tools to help, which will be distributed in the communities we serve.
Have You Heard?
Our podcasts are drawing the attention of people across Greater Baltimore (and beyond!). Our latest episodes include Coming Together to Improve Lives, about volunteers who are not only making an impact as individuals but inspiring their colleagues and networks to create social change, and A Beautiful Picture: Women Helping Women, featuring those who are paving the way for other women by breaking down barriers to access and opportunity. Listen to these and all of our podcasts here.
In Their Own Words
Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford was our honored guest at a May “In Their Own Words” presentation for Tocqueville Society members. He shared his administration’s efforts to overcome barriers, provided an update on vaccinations, and talked about the importance of the state’s role in supporting the community and United Way in combating inequity and systematic injustices.
Our membership groups held a number of virtual events this quarter to focus attention on new and emerging needs in our region. Women United’s popular Conversation Starter series included presentations on mental health concerns for working women and children, a session on reimagined workplaces post-pandemic, and a book club and movie viewing event explored The Hate You Give, a book and movie that explores issues of racism and police violence. Our Community Impact Leadership Institute featured a session on creating meaningful community impact through partnerships. And Bystander Intervention 101, sponsored by all of our membership groups, showed participants what they can do to protect their communities when bigotry and harassment strike.
Data above as of ??/??/??
Engaging hundreds in enlightening online events
people have access to free internet
via our newest WiFi hotspot at
Transformation Center in South Baltimore.
in rent relief will be distributed through
our expanded STEP eviction
STEP (Strategic Targeted Eviction Prevention) Program expansion, and media links from the STEP highlight
United Way and our partners are bridging the digital divide.
Baltimore Business Journal
The Way Home project helps those who were chronically homeless with safe, secure, and well-stocked housing.
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