United Way Of Northern Fairfield County, Inc.
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85 West Street Danbury CT 06810 USA
To improve lives by mobilizing the power of caring communities to create lasting change. United way is a local, volunteer-led organization that brings together community leaders, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and businesses to focus on the most pressing needs in the communities of northern fairfield county, stamford, and southern litchfield county. United way is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. These are the building blocks for a good life and a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement and good health.
Community impact grants and other distributions-united way supports programs that make a clear diference in people's lives in the areas of education, financial stability and health. Both dollars and volunteer efforts are leveraged, and united way invest in programs that demonstrate strong outcomes, community partnerships, and focus on long term change. Community grants are distributed for varying amounts of time, from annually to every four years. Volunteers make funding decisions, and those decisions are made on a local level in three communities that represent the western connecticut region. The process is competitive. 120 programs were funded for fiscal yar 2013-2014. These grants help support approximately 75,000 residents in western connecticut. In addition to 120 programs being funded, one third of the contributions are designated by donors to specific 501c3 organizations.
community impact programs- united way funds several initiatives that focus on early childhood education, childhood obesity and financial stability for families. Education:united way has been the lead fiscal agent for two early childhood collaboratives, investing funds for infrastructure, and providing significant in-kind support and leadership. Research has shown that one of the best ways to prepare children for kindergarten is to read to them. The imagination library program operated by united way, has helped over 8,000 children and delivered over 170,000 books to children under the age of five in an effort to increase access to books and in increase in reading to children. Back to school efforts from united way resulted in over 750 children having adequate supplies and clothing for the start of school. Volunteer programs run through united way include spring buddy baskets, book drives, and volunteer readers in preschool and elementary schools. Health;united way supported two programs in 2013 that work towards reducing childhood obesity. Over 1,100 children ranging from two years old through elementary school benefited from these united way grants. The goal of these programs is to increase physical activity and healthy eating, and educate families on how to raise healthy children. We have promoted the message of 5-2-1-0 across the western connecticut region; eat 5 fruits or vegetables a day, limit recreational screen time to 2 hours or less, get 1 hour of physical activity every day, and drink 0 sugary drinks and choose low fat milk or water instead of soda. Financial stability:the united way launched the financial resource center in 2012 in response to the increasing number of families struggling financially in the community. This program provides budget coaching and financial education through trained volunteers. It also helps to connect people, many who may never have accessed the support system before, to navigate the various agencies in the community who are able to help them through difficult financial situations. In addition, the united way has formed a food collaborative of various pantries located in danbury. Together, this group has partnered with an organization that rescues fresh food from grocery stores, held a community wide food drive and created and distributed a food resource guide. United way also promotes the family wize program, which is a discount prescription program that has saved over 1. 7 million for participants within the last few years. Finally, united way leads a financial stability collaborative in the community to help determine the ongoing needs of the area and to work together to address those needs. Volunteer services;united way has had two volunteer centers merge into its organization over the last 4 years. This has built the capacity for the organization to use volunteers as a resource in all of its efforts. A volunteer council was established with former board members of the volunteer centers to help guide the volunteerism efforts within the organization. The united way offers a boardserve program that trains corporate and community volunteers to serve on local boards, and works with the participating nonprofits on training and matching. The volunteer services also support a youth leadership program in southern litchfield county, and a youth volunteer corp in northern fairfield county. Youth participate in projects throughout the year that support united way initiatives, as well as other charities and causes that are important to the business. Volunteer councils in danbury and stamford bring together corporate volunteers to address community needs and assist with projects around education, financial stability and health, such as back to school drive, thanksgiving baskets, book drives, etc. A senior tax program in danbury allows residents to volunteer and receive a $600 tax credit when they complete 100 hours. These seniors are placed at agencies that the city of danbury supports. United way volunteer center manages this program. Other services;the united way of western ct formed a partnership with the city of danbury to facilitate a grant process for city dollars allocated for social service organizations. Residents are recruited to review grant requests and provide recommendations to the mayor for funding allocations. This is a model that could be replicated in other municipalities and has been very successful. 211 is a service that united way of western ct supports that provides trained counselors to help direct residents of ct to appropriate resources. Operated as a partnership between the united way of ct and the state of ct, this information and referral program provides a central place for residents to access help for a myriad of issues, including childcare, subsidies, emergency planning, utility assistance, elder care providers and a suicide prevention hotline. Information is provided to communities that tell the number of request for services, and what the most common requests for help are in each town.
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