Mission: The mission of United Way of Greater Augusta (UWGA) is to serve as a catalyst to improve the lives of people in the community.
Community Need: While UWGA’s focus has been financial stability for local individuals and households, the Community Investment strategy has shifted away from the idea of a “financial stability center”, and moved toward adopting programming specific to Community Needs. Poverty rates for Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County indicate that 32.8% of roughly 140,000 residents fall at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line. Almost 46,000 people need support services to attain stability. According to the CAPSAW Needs Assessment Report, poverty rates in the area are expected to grow. And, according to basiceconomicsecurity.org, and using a living wage calculator and area cost of living estimates, it would cost a single mother of two children more than $50,000 to be financially secure in this area.
Primary Activities: UWGA offers the following programs:
- Community Investment Awards: Provides grants to organizations that help individuals and families in the areas of education, income, and health.
- FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program: Manages funding from FEMA directed toward emergency food and shelter in order to reduce homelessness and hunger.
- Imagination Library: Sends one high quality, age appropriate book each month to local children.
- Familywize Prescription Assistance Program: Provides prescription discounts to local residents in addition to insurance and is affiliated to United Way Worldwide.
UWGA also offers the following programs in collaborations with other organizations:
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (Valley VITA): A free tax preparation service for local individuals and families earning less than $54,000/year.
- Greater Augusta Wellness Partnership: A wellness coalition aimed at improving quality of life.
- Valley Continuum of Care: A local branch of statewide coalition that aims to reduce homelessness and provide prevention assistance to at risk populations.
- Bank On – Potential future UWGA program. Staff is currently engaged in coalition building among financial partners locally with the goal of offering banking products that encourage financial literacy and bank usage rather than check cashing services and payday lending.
Constituents Served: UWGA serves all residents in the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, and Augusta County. Last year, Valley VITA served 759 families and individuals; the Imagination Library served 385 ages 0-5; the Investment Grant Awards funded 19 programs and served 5,933 people; and FEMA EFSP provided shelter for more than 70 bed nights at the Valley Mission.
Program Details: For the past 8 years, Valley VITA has been a CAPSAW program with UWGA as a strategic and logistical partner. Due to the growing nature of the program, it was no longer sustainable under CAPSAW, and will now be managed by UWGA. Given that UWGA has nonprofit status, (CAPSAW does not), it can also apply for additional funding and hire additional staff to allow for growth of this program.
Amount Requested: $5,000
Operating Budget: $705,000