The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) and United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) are partnering with UpTogether, an antipoverty nonprofit that provides direct cash to families and an online platform for them to connect with others to share resources and support so they can move out of financial insecurity.
AAACF and UWWC plan to serve an estimated 45 families over the next two years, and are partnering with seven (7) local nonprofits (in both rural and urban areas) to identify families who may benefit most from this resource: Aid in Milan, Buenos Vecinos, Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach, Faith in Action, Manchester Community Resource Center, Mentor2Youth, and Trusted Advisors of the Success by Six Great Start Collaborative.
“Through our COVID-19 relief efforts, our organizations saw the power of mutual aid in the form of cash assistance to families. UpTogether members work alongside each other to build social capital, financial knowledge, as they use their cash investments to manage their individual household needs. We feel urgency around piloting a permanent solution to the continued financial insecurity experienced by Washtenaw County families given that 31% of Washtenaw County people struggle to afford their basic needs. We must do something radically different to shift these community conditions,” noted Pam Smith, President & CEO of UWWC.
“We were compelled to partner with UpTogether due to the significant longitudinal data they compiled over the past 18 years, which demonstrates that before COVID-19, on average, families who engaged with UpTogether for two years experienced annual income increases of 21%, government subsidy decreases of 42%, and fourfold increases in savings along with a greater sense of community and self-worth,” shared Shannon Polk, President & CEO of AAACF.
The Washtenaw County pilot launches this month and will continue for two years. Selected families will receive quarterly payments of $625 to meet their family needs as they see fit.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to launch UpTogether in Washtenaw County,” said Tiarra Comer, associate partnership director at UpTogether. “This is a powerful opportunity to trust and invest in families while providing another way for them to build community.”
About the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) manages more than $220M in charitable assets and enriches the quality of life across Washtenaw County by distributing millions of dollars annually in grants, scholarships, and investments. AAACF prioritizes community through its core values of pursuing equity, earning trust, leveraging knowledge, and enhancing collaboration. To learn more visit, aaacf.org.
About United Way of Washtenaw County
As part of our 100 + year history, United Way of Washtenaw County brings people, organizations and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. Our focus areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability provide the building blocks to strengthen the community and create opportunities for individuals and families. Our virtual Volunteer Center is an easy, online way for people to connect with nonprofits in the community and our 2-1-1 helpline connects thousands of people annually to critically needed services. To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit uwgive.org.
UpTogether is a national nonprofit that highlights, accelerates and invests in the initiative people in financially under-resourced communities are taking to improve their lives and move up, together. Through its signature online platform, the UpTogether Community, individuals and families can build resources, strengthen their social networks, and access unrestricted capital, so they, their friends, family and neighbors can support each other while reaching their financial and personal goals. Together, with its partners, UpTogether is championing a community-led movement to boost long-term economic and social mobility in communities that have been undervalued for far too long. To learn more, visit UpTogether.org.