Advocacy is defined as public support for a particular cause or policy. But it's also the life blood of positive, lasting community change.
Public policy advocacy is a cornerstone of United Way’s work. We've seen how speaking up -- and speaking out -- to elected officials can bridge the gap between a short-term fix and a long-term solution.
Across the globe, United Way joins with partners, donors and volunteets to our help people find shelter, put food on the table, pay the air conditioning bill, make this month's rent, find childcare, or escape domestic violence. But with advocacy, we can also advance solutions to tackle homelessness, combat food insecurity, boost financial stability, and shift the odds so that everyone in every community gets access to a good education.
United Way is about finding solutions. Whether that's getting food to isolated seniors in innovative ways, or helping students catch up on academic and social-emotional skills after two years of COVID, or supporting job training for under-employed single moms to accelerate their economic mobility, we're working in 37 countries and territories to build stronger, more equitable communities where everyone can thrive.
We do this in collaboration -- within our communities, including nonprofits, business leaders, organized labor, donors, volunteers, engaged citizens, as well as local, state, and federal government leaders. We are all in this together.
We also have our finger on the pulse of America's biggest challenges. Through 211, the 24-7 resource supported by United Way that connects people to local help, we know what people are facing. Last year, trained 211 call center operators fielded more than 23 million requests for help, with the #1 need being housing or utilities, followed by food and healthcare.
Because of our hyper-local presence and national-global reach, United Way is uniquely positioned to advise policymakers at all levels about challenges facing communities, and what's needed to address those challenges. We know what works and what does not.
That's why more than 100 local United Way leaders will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 15. We'll be informing our federal elected representatives about what we're doing to solve communities' problems, and how Congress can help. We'll be reinforcing to policymakers that American communities and families need policies to help them rebound and thrive. And we'll be continuing our vocal support for policies that bring equity in access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities, such as:
- Permanent improvements to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, to help reduce poverty, address racial inequities, and support low-income workers and their families;
- Modernizing the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that offers free tax filing to lower-income people so they can get more of their hard-earned money back; and
- Relief for the nonprofit sector by reinstating the ERTC (Employee Retention Tax Credit), and working to restore the nonitemizer charitable deduction so millions of low- and middle-income donors can benefit from the same tax deduction wealthy donors have.
United Way's federal advocacy is fueled by the 1,068 local and state United Ways across the U.S., serving 95% of all Americans. We speak out regularly on important issues at the local, state and federal level. But there is more for us to do. Join us!
If you would like to get more involved in advocating to the U.S. Congress, please contact United Way's Public Policy Team here. We need your voice.
Check out United Way's current public policy agenda here.
Connect with your local United Way here.