The COVID-19 pandemic is both a health and economic crisis that has intensified existing social issues such as homelessness/affordable housing, hunger and educational gaps. This year, Valley of the Sun United Way will continue to provide relief for our Maricopa County neighbors struggling in these areas, respond to emerging needs, address racial, social, economic and educational inequities, and help our community rebuild. United Way belongs to our community and our number one focus is to nimbly and effectively respond to, and develop solutions for, our Valley’s most pressing needs.
We continue to support non-profit and school partners to address the hunger, homelessness, and education needs of our neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic. Collaborate to fill other emerging gaps laid bare by the pandemic. For instance, ensuring quality childcare and out-of-school-time partners are accessible to parents who need to get back to work.
We’re working with partners to address the digital divide and providing students the technology and internet service necessary to be successful when attending school from home. We’re exploring how United Way might support equal access to quality health care, job training, addressing systemic racism and other community needs as they emerge.
We are re-engaging in our community-centered planning process to develop long-term solutions to the issues that are most important. We launched a 5-year impact plan and rally our donors, partners and community to help develop the solutions needed. By funding programs that address root causes and using our voice to drive policy and systemic change; by creating public awareness and convening the right parties to create solutions; and by leading to ensure the change needed happens, we will successfully rebuild our community to be stronger than ever.
As the state of Arizona took action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way quickly pivoted our plans, but not our approach. Need an update? Below, we’ve compiled a selection of informative blogs to keep you in the know…and it’s organized all in one place!
United Way is the only organization in Maricopa County that unites as many vital partners to serve vulnerable children, individuals and families in our community.
United Way helps hard-working families tackle challenging issues so they can achieve stability and success through rental and utility assistance to prevent homelessness, emergency shelter for individuals and families, transitional housing to move families toward independence and Permanent Supportive Housing support services.
United Way works with nonprofit partners to address the rising food insecurity concerns for residents across Maricopa County. Providing access to the emergency food system and nutritional benefit programs, such as SNAP and WIC, allows families to put food on the table. The Pantry Packs program helps families stretch their food dollars, which is even more critical during the current health and financial crisis.
By working with partners to address the digital divide, United Way ensures every student in the Valley has equal access to a quality education, whether that’s at home or in a physical classroom. Areas of focus include early education and childcare; quality out-of-school time and distance learning programs; youth leadership development; and tutoring and mentoring, including the innovative Vello program.
Throughout development of the priorities and planning for the new Impact Agenda, we remained true to the guiding principle that we would “open up” our organization to the community to listen and learn, so our efforts continue to focus in areas where individuals and families need us the most.
“There is a lot of unknown ahead for families, individuals, schools…for all of us. What I DO know is that United Way will continue to work for every one of them and for our community for as long as it takes, and we can’t do it without you. We’re proud of this work and hope you are, too.” – Carla Vargas Jasa, CEO
United Way belongs to the community and our number one focus is to nimbly and effectively respond to, and develop solutions for, the Valley’s most pressing needs. We will ACTIVATE resources, ACTIVATE corporate and nonprofit partners, ACTIVATE change, ACTIVATE hope, and provide real solutions to the immediate and evolving needs of those we serve.