Together, these various organizations serve over 13,000 families between the two counties.
Through donations from corporate partners and community investments, United Way of Greater Austin aims to fight poverty in the community. The organization also has values of inclusivity and equity, and chose to highlight nonprofits that help Black and Indigenous communities as well as people of color, according to a statement from the nonprofit.
“The selection process was definitely geared to equity. I know equity can be an overused term, and people aren’t really sure what that means. All it means for us is that everybody be given the same chance to be considered,” said David Smith, United Way for Greater Austin CEO.
Nonprofit Todos Juntos Learning Center, which provides a dual-generation education program, aims to support refugee and immigrant families through community support, education and empowerment. The organization received a $75,000 grant from United Way.
“This grant will help sustain our dual-generation model, it’ll also help us grow our dual-generation model and help grow the infrastructure of the organization to help support even more families,” Founder and Executive Director Christina Collazo said. “We’re looking for ways to grow the number of families we can serve and also develop new programs to help support the families even deeper than we already do.”
In addition to the monetary grants that Todos Juntos Learning Center receives, Collazo said the partnership with United Way helped the organization become more well-known within the group they want to serve.
“Working with United Way really helped to build our credibility and solidify our credibility and our reputation in the community. Working with them ensures that we’re working collectively, collaboratively with other organizations like ours to create greater impact,” Collazo said.
Austin’s oldest preschool, nonprofit Mainspring School, which gives underserved families and their children high-quality education and support, received $115,000 from United Way. Mainspring Executive Director Jason Gindele said that money allows the school to hire quality teachers and social workers for the families; provide a food program; and create solid foundations for the families the school serves.
“The grant from United Way is the difference between being a day care and being a school. It allows us to take our level of quality to a point where we’re making meaningful changes for these children and these families and giving them a foundation to succeed,” Gindele said. “That United Way grant is such a substantial portion of our budget to be able to provide a high-quality service. I’m not sure where we would be without them.”
The process for picking nonprofits, Smith said, comes from a perspective of determining which organizations are going to have the most impact in the Austin community.
“One way United Way is so unique is we bring everybody together to the table to solve our communities' largest challenges,” Smith said. “We are not at all about Band-Aid solutions. We are about long-term, sustainable solutions so that people are given the opportunity, so that people can go on and reach their potential.”