United Way of Washtenaw County Awards $70,000 in Grant Funding

Financial Stability focus addresses poverty and economic justice in Washtenaw County 

November 15, 2016 (Ann Arbor, Mich.)–  United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) awarded $70,000 in new grant funding to local organizations focused on financial stability and economic justice.
“Poverty is a killer of opportunity.  There is growing evidence that it negatively alters the life chances of children and extends across generations.” shared Karen Bantel, Board Chair, “The data reveals what we already know-- few people ever spend their way out of poverty. Those who escape do so through living-wage employment opportunities, budgeting, saving and building their personal financial assets to achieve long-term goals.”
These grants will allow organizations to pilot or expand existing programs focused on job training, skill building, increasing financial literacy, or building the capacity of staff to provide financial literacy services to their clients.  
United Way determined the components of its financial stability initiative after partnering with local community groups, financial institutions and nonprofits to host a series of conversations around the county to understand available resources that support financial stability. The conversations moved the focus from building infrastructure to providing the funding and training to allow local nonprofits to do more of the work the community desperately needed.  
Pam Smith, President and CEO of UWWC said “We are excited to move this work forward with a new round of funding. It complements our Mobile Financial Resource Team’s work and our free income tax preparation program.  Good things are happening in this community.”
The new funding is augmented by $20,000 in funds from United Way’s annual Power of the Purse event, the proceeds of which specifically support programs that build the financial stability of women. Data reveal that more than one in eight women and more than one in three single-mother families are poor.   Despite better educational credentials than ever, women continue to be overrepresented in low-wage jobs.
Funded programs, projects or initiatives align with one or more of the following goals of United Way’s Financial Stability Initiative:
Advance the economic well-being of low-income working individuals and families.
Reduce reliance on predatory financial practices in Washtenaw County neighborhoods.
Ensure that economically vulnerable working individuals and families are aware of available asset-building resources.
Increase opportunities for low-income individuals and communities to increase their economic asset base through education, coaching and practice