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Press Release

United Way Fights to ensure that all Children are Ready for Success

Alexandria, VA (August 8, 2017) – United Way Worldwide, the world's largest privately funded nonprofit, fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. When it comes to education, some of our most critical efforts focus on supporting school readiness, early grade reading and quality childcare and pre-K.

"United Ways around the world fight for our children every day. As we all know, the early years are a time of rapid brain development. Providing learning experiences that promote growth and help children start school on time is the greatest step that families and communities can take towards achieving a successful future for the next generation," said Ayeola Fortune, Director of Youth Success at United Way Worldwide.

United Way believes that all children deserve a strong start in life. We make that possible by empowering parents to support their children, improving the quality of early learning environments, and offering solutions to challenges outside the classroom. We are able to do this by creating products, influencing public policy, and developing relationships with corporate partners and other key allies to create the building blocks to early childhood success in communities worldwide. A few highlights:

  1. School Readiness: United Way is committed to helping children develop a solid foundation for success in school and in life. Some examples:
    • Born Learning®: Since 2005, United Way's national early learning initiative has given more that 15 million families in the U.S. the essential tools they need to make the most of their children's early years. It has proved so successful that the program has expanded to China, Australia and 11 other countries throughout Latin America. This global initiative consists of two key products that are available to families for free:
      • Born Learning Academies®: To help families prepare their children for kindergarten, United Way provides educational workshops in community centers or in the elementary schools their children will attend. These workshops, available in English and Spanish, are making a difference - in Kentucky, 98 percent of families attending the workshops have reported applying what they’ve learned in their daily lives.
      • Born Learning Trails®: These innovative trails are comprised of a set of interactive signs that help turn everyday experiences into teachable moments. As a result of the work of more than 10,000 volunteers, close to 1,000 co-branded trails have been installed at parks, museums, playgrounds and company campuses. The installation process offers fun and educational volunteer opportunities for employees.
      Learn more at: https://www.bornlearning.org
  2. Early Grade Reading: 1. United Way is committed, through its initiatives and policy efforts, to ensure that communities provide a quality education that begins with reading. For example:
    • ReadingPals: More than 15 United Ways across Florida have developed an early literacy initiative in partnership with Publix® Super Markets that are helping children discover the joy of reading. In 2016, more than 2,300 Publix employees volunteered as reading buddies to support children in low-performing centers and Pre-K classrooms, contributing more than 44,000 hours of instruction in 159 locations. The result: 2,141 struggling readers had a mentor for a full year, resulting in improved reading grades and school readiness scores.
    • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): United Way fights for accountability provisions, implemented at the state level, to protect disadvantaged groups. United Way works with families and communities that are engaged in these efforts and works to secure and increase funding for the critical programs authorized in ESSA that address literacy, out-of-school time and wraparound supports.
  3. Quality Childcare and Pre-K: United Way is committed, through its initiatives and policy efforts, to ensure that communities provide quality and affordable childcare. Such as:
    • The Milwaukee Succeeds Kindergarten Readiness Program: http://milwaukeesucceeds.org/, a partnership with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. Quality childcare promotes early development, preparation for kindergarten, and enables parents to go to work with the peace of mind that their children are being cared for and developing a foundation for future success.
    • Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG): Through our national and local policy efforts, United Way fights to increase funding to improve access to high quality child care and increase access to high-quality early learning opportunities via Early Head Start, Head Start, and state-sponsored Pre-K programs.
    • Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) Reauthorization: As a member of the home visiting coalition, United Way is working to reauthorize MIECHV to give pregnant women and families the necessary resources and skills to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.
    • Left Behind Children in China: One in every five children in China is left behind in rural villages when their parents leave to seek jobs in the cities. United Way and the China Charity Federation have come together to create Love and Care Children’s Home to help fill the void and provide quality care and support. Built to support children in need, these “homes” are safe and welcoming resources areas largely existing inside schools and community centers; a place where children can receive help with their emotional problems, experience regular communication with their parents and discover additional learning.

For over 130 years, United Way has been the unifying force that brings together community leaders, organized labor, faith-based groups, corporations, nonprofit organizations and governments. Together we create sweeping change that lifts up entire communities around the world, and together we fight for early childhood success.


About United Way Worldwide
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide, and more than $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Read our Annual Report. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

Media Contact

Southerlyn Reisig
United Way Worldwide
703-836-7100 ext 321

Christine Sanchez
United Way Worldwide
703-836-7100 ext 564