It's been a bumpy start to 2021. Like many of you, I entered the new year with a fervent hope that our darkest days were behind us.
But an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol followed by a contentious presidential impeachment trial, a convoluted coronavirus vaccine roll-out, and unrelenting winter storms made it clear, that alas, our challenges did not retreat with the onset of a new year.
Nearly a year after it started, our communities remain ravaged by the pandemic. Women with children at home are hitting a pandemic wall. The distribution of the vaccine has sadly – and quite predictably – been inequitable. And the political divisions in our communities seem even more entrenched now than ever before.
But there is good news.
We know what it takes to fight for America's recovery and bring our communities together under a common agenda and a shared vision for the future. This year, we released a new national policy agenda that outlines the policies and programs that we know will build stronger, healthier, more resilient and equitable communities.
This week, some 60 of our United Way leaders elevated this agenda and lifted up the personal stories of children and families in their communities with members of Congress. They lobbied elected officials on Capitol Hill (virtually) to advocate for the health, education and financial stability policies that can help our communities respond, recover, rebuild and reimagine a brighter future.
And they called on Congress to pass another much-needed COVID relief package that addresses the overwhelming needs in our communities, including:
- Preventing millions of Americans from sliding into poverty by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) for children, workers and families
- Responding to the continuing food insecurity needs of children and families by extending the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Saving the child care sector from the brink of economic collapse by providing a total of at least $50 billion emergency funding
- Enhancing charities’ ability to raise private donations by expanding and extending the nonitemizer charitable deduction and providing nonprofit grants and forgivable loans like the Paycheck Protection Program to help nonprofits continue and scale up service delivery
We invite you to join us in the fight. Take action and send a note to your legislators today to tell them they need to fight for our nation's recovery.
Our unprecedented challenges are far from over. But Unted Way remains committed to furthering an agenda that fights for every person in every community.
Together, we can face this crisis by taking meaningful steps to create systemic, transformative, and equitable social change in our communities.
Together, we can – and we must – stay in the fight.