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United Way Blog

Celebrating Community Resilience on World Environment Day

On World Environment Day (June 5), we recognize the persistent environmental threats that impact us all – and take action to make a positive impact. As part of an effort to build resilient communities around the world, United Way has adopted a comprehensive approach that includes educational efforts. Around the world, we are informing communities, engaging them in solutions, and preparing them for local jobs that support environmental resilience.   

Last year, Hurricane Otis struck the coast of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, leaving considerable damage. As part of the long-term response, United Way México and United Way of Chihuahua are implementing strategies that focus on rehabilitating community spaces and conducting disaster preparedness awareness campaigns in schools.  

United Way Chihuahua's work demonstrates how land restoration and conservation can only be achieved collectively. Between March and April, two hundred fourteen volunteers from the private and public sectors planted around 250 trees and cleaned up nearly 21 parks in several states of the country.  

Meanwhile, United Way British Columbia released two emergency guidebooks in Canada to help their communities cope during the warmer months of the year. The intervention focuses on seniors and families, empowering them to create long-term sustainability and resilience.   

United Way of Collier and the Keys is leading efforts to restore coral reefs—an environmental treasure and economic engine—with a comprehensive effort that includes attracting youth and adults to the region's critical marine science work. United Way announced a $3.5 million grant from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020, supporting NOAA's Mission: Iconic Reefs program to preserve the coral reef ecosystem.  United Way introduced the UWCK-UAE Marine Science Educational Advancement Scholarship to ensure sustainability. This scholarship supports Monroe County residents who've lived there full-time for two years and demonstrate involvement in the Florida Keys marine science activities. It helps residents who want to train for marine science or marine technology jobs and careers at institutions with Florida Keys reef restoration efforts.  

Leah Stockton, Florida Keys Area President, highlighted the impact of this initiative with the story of a single mom who returned to school through this United Way scholarship. "She's lived here in the Keys for many years and decided to return to school and learn about marine science... She has since graduated and is now working within Mission: Iconic Reefs, helping support this overall project." This program is one of the many ways United Way is creating a more resilient community equipped to protect and preserve the environment, demonstrating its commitment to fostering local talent and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Florida Keys marine ecosystem.  

In New York, United Way of Long Island's NET ZERO Energy Building Campaign provides essential skills training for needy populations while setting a new standard in renewable energy for non-profit organizations throughout the region.  

The project transforms United Way's headquarters into a building that produces as much energy as it consumes. With one of the largest solar arrays of any not-for-profit commercial building in New York State, United Way will avoid more than $65,000 per year in energy costs, which will be reinvested into existing United Way programs.  

The headquarters—renamed the Entenmann Family Center for Hope—will serve as a hands-on training ground for United Way's Workforce Development Training Academy, which includes YouthBuildVetsBuild, and PowerUp! Programs.  

United Ways are also contributing to environmental resilience in Asia. As part of the Shinhan Square Bridge Project, United Way Vietnam partnered with the startup RE: Harvest to address concerns on value-based consumption in 5 locations of the country. Conducting preliminary market research, opportunities for sustainable food practices reached more than 312 individuals with 5.000 nutrient-rich upcycled products. The project contributed to environmental consciousness in the food industry through educational workshops designed for 264 young people.    

United Way mobilizes communities to action so all can thrive. This commitment underscores our ongoing dedication to health, education, and financial stability, fostering sustainable progress for individuals and communities. Learn about some of these efforts below. 

Learn more about what United Way is doing in your community and how you can get involved. You can find your United Way here.