A Look Back at UWP’s 2020 Accomplishments

2020 was a busy year for United Way of Pennsylvania! Read on to learn more about our specific initiatives and achievements, plus, our plans for 2021.

  • Played an instrumental role in supporting the United Way and PA 211 networks through COVID-19 response in communities across PA. This included:
    • Provided timely updates to members on need-to-know information regarding the Governor’s mitigation orders
    • Conducted teleconference and webinar convenings of the network to share ideas and coordinate around immediate response, and then shifting to virtual fundraising in the COVID environment
    • Created a nonprofit resource hub, and a public resource hub, on the UWP web page to provide accurate, up to the minute information on COVID-19 resources and supports. The COVID-19 Resources for Pennsylvanians page, which connects member of the public to COVID-19-specific resources, had 40,000 pageviews from March 26 – November 18, 2020.
    • Launched a PACOVID text alert opt-in about key COVID-19 news developments, access to resources designed to alleviate the economic effects of the pandemic, and guidance on relief legislation.
    • Provided information and contact/needs data to help 211 and United Ways access CARES and CDBG funding at the county level.
    • Awarded a COVID-19 relief grant from 3M to the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation, Inc. This $15,625.00 grant provided individual assistance for Pennsylvania restaurant and hospitality workers for cost of food, housing, utility, child care, medical, and mental health counseling.

  • Distributed over $640,00 in funding out to Local United Ways and 211 partners via:
    • $400,000 to support 211 operations at the regional level
    • $60,000 in funding to support PA 211’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
    • $9,500 from the Land O’Lakes Foundation to address hunger
    • Partnered with PA public media to help 13 PA United Ways provide 49,000 high quality books to under-served Pennsylvania kids, valued at $170,000
  • Continued to lead advocacy for ALICE and educating partners and decision-makers about the ALICE data.
    • Designed and promoted a survey on the economic impact of COVID-19 on Pennsylvanians, including ALICE.
    • Designed legislative district fact sheets which explain ALICE in every PA House and Senate district, and additional fact sheets which explain the challenges of affordable, high-quality child care for ALICE in every legislative district.
    • Made presentations to the Governor’s Workforce Command Center and the State Workforce Development Board, the PA AFL-CIO, the Coalition for Low-Income Pennsylvanians, and the PA Community Alliance Summit.

  • Increased voter engagement and promoted participation in the Census. UWP connected people to accurate, vetted information about voting in PA with the help of a $10,000 grant from United Way Worldwide by running Facebook and Instagram ads in English and Spanish. UWP’s Census work focused on people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Leveraging PA 211 as the coordinated entry access point for homeless services, the project targeted 34 counties based on hard-to-reach population data from the 2010 Census, and was supported by a $25,000 grant UWP obtained from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

  • Advanced PA 2-1-1 services by:
    • Completing a merger of UWP and PA 211 that took effect on January 1, 2020. PA 211 is a sole-member subsidiary of UWP, with UWP retaining majority of the seats on the PA 211 board, and certain reserve powers for UWP.
    • Adopting a PA 211 strategic plan recommended by the PA 211 board. This plan includes a new mission and vision statement as well as plans to continue to increase the quality and consistency of 211 service across PA while generating additional financial support for 211.
    • Launching a 211 brand refresh, followed by a statewide marketing campaign for PA 211, in order to educate more Pennsylvanians about this free information and referral service. The campaign utilized print materials, videos, and digital marketing efforts, including social media and Google Search Ads through Google Ad Grants.
    • Launching a new website at pa211.org, with an easy-to-use interface designed to allow the public to seamlessly search the 211 resource database and find the help they need. From May 26 – November 18, 2020, the website has helped 45,000 users find local resources and learn more about PA 211.
  • Secured capacity for nine AmeriCorps VISTA Members at five local United Way sites, and partnered with LUWs to successfully fill four of those VISTA positions in 2020. UWP is recognized as a key convener of Local United Ways across the state and as a key partner for the Corporation for National and Community Services. The 2020 UWP VISTA portfolio includes diverse projects focused on early childhood education, K-8 education, responding to the opioid epidemic, and providing key emergency services and accurate referrals to partners.
  • Advocated as a governing partner for the Start Strong PA campaign, helped deliver pandemic assistance for child care programs – approximately $116 million in CARES funding, and line items in the state budget were flat-funded for FY 2020-2021.
  • Advocated as a governing partner of the Pre-K for PA campaign, to secure one year of level-funding for Pre-K and Head Start in FY 2020-2021.

  • Coordinated network advocacy on state and federal legislation and regulations, including:
    • SNAP expansion to include vulnerable households during the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Housing and rental relief programs and extension of the eviction moratorium. Participated in developing a landlord tenant mediation toolkit.
    • Expansion to the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
    • Broadband internet bills: SB 835, HB 2348
    • Liability protections for child care centers: HB 1737
    • Unemployment Compensation for non-profits: Congress passed the Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act of 2020.
    • Charitable deduction expansion.

Looking Ahead to 2021

The United Way of Pennsylvania Roadmap to Recovery is our 18 month strategic plan which focuses on how to help our network through a critical time of rebuilding post-COVID. We will focus on:

  1. ALICE Advocacy – launching a data refresh report in January 2021, accompanied by data from our COVID-19 economic impact survey. Launch a statewide advocacy campaign for a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit, and continue to advocate for ALICE households in workforce development, child care access and basic needs.
  2. PA 211 – continue to increase awareness while building new partnerships to raise more resources to support the service across our state.
  3. Help members thrive – UWP plans more cohort models for training and best practice sharing, more virtual training that focuses on recovery, and more technical assistance for digital marketing
  4. Pursue excellence in leadership, operations and organizational culture, including fostering inclusivity and maintaining the organization’s financial stability while diversifying the Board of Directors.
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