As we set goals for the New Year, we want to take the time to appreciate and celebrate the successes of the past year. We made great strides in advocating for the programs and policies that advance the common good. Thanks to your support, United Way is making a real impact on the issues we all care about: education, income and health. We want to share some highlights from 2012 and ask for your continued support to keep up the momentum in 2013.
Scroll down to see some highlights of what United Way achieved in 2012:
- Protected the Charitable Deduction and Critical Income Supports in Fiscal Cliff Deal: During months of conversations about possible modifications to tax policies, United Way led a nonprofit sector-wide effort to protect the charitable deduction. The charitable deduction was not capped or limited as had been proposed by policymakers, various commissions and pundits. Also key for United Way was a 5-year extension of Child Tax Credit provisions, expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provisions and an extension of the IRA Rollover through 2013. While the deduction may still be in play in 2013, this was a significant victory for the generous individuals that contribute to charities and the vulnerable people we serve.
- Raised our Voice for Early Grade Reading: In March 2012, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council played a pivotal role in a Congressional Literacy Briefing organized by our education partners. Marianne Fishler, the former Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Central Maryland, called on Congress to make a strong federal investment in high quality literacy instruction. Many of you joined us in raising awareness about early grade reading by writing an op-ed to your local paper.
- Cultivated Advocates for Children: In celebration of United Way Day of Action, 19 NFL players, United Way professionals and high-achieving youth from challenged high schools flocked to Capitol Hill in June. Each of the NFL players met with their U.S. senators and congress member from the U.S. House of Representatives. They shared about the importance of mentors in the life of a child and asked their Member of Congress to join United Way’s initiative to recruit one million readers, tutors and mentors for young people. Pledge now to help United Way cut the dropout rate in half by becoming a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor.
- Secured Congressional Support for Hungry and Homeless Families: In May 2012, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security approved an appropriations bill that proposed $150 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), a 25% increase over last year. EFSP is administered by United Way and provides income support to low-income Americans on an emergency basis to prevent hunger, preserve housing, provide shelter, and support their basic energy needs. Take a moment to thank your congressional representatives for supporting EFSP and urge support of the Senate's funding level of $150 million.
- Weighed in on Education Reform: This past summer, the U.S. Department of Education solicited comment from the public on the Race to the Top (RTT) Competition. The RTT program is focused on education reform at the school-district level. United Way Worldwide provided comments on the importance of parent engagement, a system of smart wraparound supports and public-private partnerships in the application criteria. In addition, several local United Ways worked with coalition partners to support and submit applications demonstrating how to better personalize education for students in their local community. Learn more about RTT-district competition.
- Launched a Social Media Campaign on Reengaging Disconnected Youth: At the beginning of the school year, United Way hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill to spotlight best practices for reengaging disconnected youth. Over 80 individuals from major nonprofit, academic and government offices attended, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the U.S. Department of Education. Using the congressional briefing as a call to action, United Way launched a social media rally raising awareness about the 6.7 million youth between ages 16 to 24 that are disconnected from both school and work. The social media campaign generated 400,000 impressions and reached an audience of over 300,000 followers within 24 hours.
We look forward to another great year of advocating on behalf of the vulnerable communities we serve. Be part of our 2013 advocacy efforts. Take action.
Finally, how were you able to advocate for a cause in 2012? What were your advocacy accomplishments and what are your goals for next year? Share your advocacy resolution. Use hashtags #LiveUnited #2013res.