Resource Development

Resource Development

JANUARY ARTICLE

Our Loaned Executives were focused on wrapping up campaigns this month. They have done phenomenal work in this inaugural year of the program through fostering relationships and working to make sure our companies have the resources to run successful campaigns. This year the program was filled with learning opportunities for United Way Staff and our LEs. We have been able to reflect and begin to solidify the framework for our second year of the Loaned Executive Program.

This program is to help foster the relationships between the business community and the organizations that need dollars to support their work. Loaned Executives are also a crucial part of how we raise the funds that are then granted out to organizations in our community. By having Loaned Executives as United Way Brand Ambassadors helping to communicate the importance and necessity of Living United in Waco and McLennan County, we are able to support more work in our community.

Our United Way has been focused on a series of strategic pivots over the past few years and the Loaned Executive Program is one of the foundational pieces of those actions. We are working to build the Loaned Executive program as a mutually beneficial relationship between McLennan County professionals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Over the past six months we have attempted to train and develop 13 professionals from McLennan County to work as liaisons between campaign coordinators and United Way staff. Our LEs have led to 4 concrete connections with new companies in our area and has allowed us to be more accessible and communicative with individual campaigns. We were also able to offer 4 professional development trainings to elevate our LEs skillset. As mentioned earlier, the program offered a steep learning curve, and we are confident with the feedback from this year, we will have a solid base to continue building the program.

Several of our Loaned Executives have expressed interest in continuing the program in 2023-2024. The LE program operates as a long-term opportunity for participants to build their experience and understanding of our community and the needs while also networking and forming new connections. The exposure to the work happening in our community is invaluable. So often our daily lives interact with people utilizing the assistance offered by countless nonprofit organizations, but unless we are the ones utilizing the services, we might not know about the work that they do in the community.

The abundant number of causes to support can be overwhelming and that is where United Way comes in. We amplify impact through our fundraising by combining smaller donations and then granting that money out to organizations that run effective programs to better our community. United Way makes it easy to give, and we are on a mission to spread that message. Local giving has local impact and change does not happen alone. Our Loaned Executives have seen the work that our funded partners do firsthand and are focused on increasing support that will benefit proven programs at our partner organizations to serve our community.

Our LEs will wrap up the program in February and then will have the opportunity to get involved with our Community Investment Councils (CICs). After seeing the work that our funded partners do in our community, several LEs have begun the process to be on one of our CICs. They remain committed to lifting our community voice to create a place where everyone belongs and has the opportunity to live their best lives. This is a movement, and we are just getting started. If you are interested in joining the LE program this year, please email us at info@unitedwaywaco.org.

DECEMBER ARTICLE

This month, our LEs were able to learn more about ALICE data and its growing importance at United Ways across Texas. Texas area United Ways have been at the forefront of seeing the importance of ALICE data. It refers to people who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and seeks to bring awareness to the households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but less than the basic cost of living for their county. People at this threshold are often people that you interact with on a daily basis whether they work at the gas station where you get your gas or the hotel you stayed at on a recent vacation. Even the servers you find at every restaurant may be a part of ALICE. They are hard at work and often have two jobs trying to bridge the gap from paycheck to paycheck.

The training was focused on data from the last report and hope for improvement remains low as inflation and cost of living has increased significantly over the past year. A new report will come out in the spring of 2023 and the impacts of Covid-19 and a slowing economy will be seen. McLennan County was found to have 18% of households in poverty compared to the state average of 14% and a median household income more than $10,000 below the state average. This data predates the pandemic and our training was focused on recognizing the data and how we can continue to use it to shape the ways in which we look to impact our community. 27% of households in McLennan County fall into ALICE on top of the 18% of households being at the poverty level. That means that almost half of our community members are struggling to make ends meet despite working hard to do so.

A big focus in McLennan County nonprofits and in the programs that United Way of Waco McLennan County funds is on helping people that are already trying to help themselves. ALICE households represent this especially as they are already employed, however, several factors come into play, including a limited amount of funds, leading them to make difficult decisions regarding their individual and family well-being.

The labor landscape is challenging for ALICE workers because a significant portion of full- and part-time workers are paid by the hour. These workers are more likely to have fluctuations in income and are less likely to receive benefits from their employers. Oftentimes, this will lead to ALICE households utilizing public assistance based programs like SNAP to help meet their basic needs. These households are then faced with a dilemma because they are looking to improve their situation and start on a trajectory towards a more stable economic position, but they are faced with “benefits cliffs,” a term used to describe a barrier for low-income families trying to improve their economic status.

Benefit cliffs occur when career advancement puts a family above the income eligibility threshold for public assistance programs. Due to the gradual or sudden loss of these programs, career advancement can actually worsen a family’s financial situation. A recent development to help with this issue is the CLIFF dashboard. The CLIFF dashboard was created in partnership with RAISE Texas and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and stands for Career Ladder Identifier and Financial Forecaster. The CLIFF dashboard will help individuals understand which in-demand career pathways will allow them to overcome a potential loss of public assistance based on their income, region, occupation, and family dynamics.

Our LEs were grateful to learn about this data and are discussing ways to utilize it to help companies in our community understand equitable ways of helping stabilize the economic position of their employees.

NOVEMBER ARTICLE

In this season of giving thanks, we are excited to announce our partnership with Kendra Scott Waco to host a Give Back Event in support of the United Way of Waco-McLennan County. The event will take place in-store on Giving Tuesday, November 29th from 4-7 pm. One of our LEs, Belinda Jennings, was able to reach out to the new Kendra Scott Waco along with some of our staff to build a new relationship. We have been hard at work planning for Giving Tuesday on November 29th and are excited about being able to support a business new to our area while also raising funds to go back into our community.

We encourage you to put it on your calendar and join us in-store or online. There will be an online code to use if you are unable to go in store the day of the event. Check out our Facebook event and let us know if you will be joining us! We hope to see you there so you can find all that there is at Kendra Scott Waco. What better way to get gifts this holiday season than to give back while you are at it!

If you want to find out how your company could get more involved in our community and giving back, we can set up a meeting with one our local LEs. Send us an email at info@unitedwaywaco.org to get started.

In other news, our LEs have been hard at work as several of our workplace campaigns began in October and ran through November. At our October meeting, they were able to learn more about the impact that United Way is focused on having in our community. We specifically discussed our Language Justice work and our new impact framework for our grants. This information equips our LEs with knowledge about what is going on in our community so they can share with others what is happening in Waco and McLennan County. In November, we further discussed ways of engaging the community and business partners in how we are implementing the strategies outlined in the Community Action Plan.

All of our LEs are doing an amazing job even though it can be tough to connect with new and returning companies all while completing the normal duties at their jobs. Change does not happen alone and we are so thankful for their commitment to our community! Along with the monthly meeting in October, some of our LEs made it to the site visits we completed the third week of October with our Grants & Impact team. They loved getting to see the work that is happening in the community and the programs that are supported by local dollars through United Way.  

In the past two LE meetings we have had some great professional development sessions with Jay Mathis and Dr. Michael Godfrey. The trainings provided insight on how to maintain a healthy work environment and how to engage in open interpersonal communication, respectively. These have been important in helping to understand how individuals should match their communication styles to the person they are communicating with. It is an easy way to create an open space for communication when you understand a person’s strengths and they can be communicated with most effectively.

Our Loaned Executives have been key players in gathering new community support over the past few months. We have been working to begin some exciting new partnerships in our community. Waco is attracting a lot of new business and so it is important to continue to advocate for our community as new businesses move to town. Within our community, Giving Tuesday (November 29th) is a day where we can commit to giving back as we enter a busy season sometimes focused on getting the best deal for the best gift. We hope that this Giving Tuesday you consider supporting efforts in our community to help the most vulnerable among us.

OCTOBER ARTICLE

The Loaned Executive team met in September for company assignments and professional development with Elaine Botello of Victory Employer Services. We focused a great deal on the ways in which LEs can support our campaign coordinators and advocate for ways to increase campaign giving. Over the past few years, the presence of special events during campaigns have fallen off. As we continue returning to normal, it will be fun to see the new ways in which companies can incorporate some fun events, like a chili cook off, into their campaigns.

Our LEs are enthusiastic and have been eager to learn about their companies and strategize with them. The Loaned Executive Planning committee has been a great resource to help foster ideas and answer any questions our LEs have. We are thrilled about what our LEs are doing and the impact it will have on our 2022 campaign!

They will meet this month to further discuss assisting our workplace campaigns while also gaining additional professional development from a renowned Waco native, Jay Mathis! He will share his secrets for building a healthy organization. Our Loaned Executive program is a great way to get plugged into the good work going on in our community while also improving individual skills. Check out the Loaned Executive Booklet for more information.

Our Annual Campaign officially launched last month, but October tends to be a busy time where lots of companies hold their kickoff events. We are coordinating speaker events at our different corporate partners where we have been able to also highlight the good work we are able to fund in our community by connecting with our funded partners.

With three months left in the year, we are counting down to the start of our 100th year operating in Waco. Waco has changed a lot over those years, but we have always stayed committed to our mission to be a collaborator and convener in our community to pool funds as a way to better support our community nonprofits.

2022 has offered a more normal experience and we are hopeful that this year, we can grow our support for the nonprofits in our community that continue to do good work. At United Way, we lift our community voice to create a place where everyone belongs and has the opportunity to live their best life. It is a pivotal time where we can affect so much good in the world. Our community has spoken and now it is our job to convene organizations that meet those needs. We have already begun our work by partnering with organizations best equipped to handle certain action items. Follow along with the Community Action Plan to understand how we are creating the mechanisms to deliver change in our community.

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE

Over the summer, our United Way office worked to bring back a program that operates at several United Ways across the country and was once part of our programming at United Way of Waco-McLennan County. We realized we need to bring more people into the work that we do, so that we can continue to grow the team working for positive change in our community. Change does not happen alone and we are thrilled to be launching this program as a fun and practical way for business members of our community to get involved with United Way and the work we do. The Loaned Executive program brings business members from Waco-McLennan County under the roof of United Way so they can understand what we do as an organization and as well as what our funded partners do for our area. We lift our community voice to create a place where everyone belongs and has the opportunity to live their best life. In doing this, we want to continue to work with community members to make this vision a reality. Our Loaned Executives will bring new life and perspective to our campaigns, so we can continue to make a positive change to impact the lives of everyone in Waco-McLennan County. We kicked off the launch of the Loaned Executive program at our annual campaign training and kickoff event in August.

On August 17th, we gathered several of the community members involved in our work and focused on “Throwback to Give Back.” As we approach 100 years of serving the Waco-McLennan County area, we wanted to reflect on our history and have some fun remembering the generations of McLennan County residents who have made our work possible. As a volunteer-led organization, without a community with a heart for service, we would not have been able to sustain our work over the last 99 years. Several of our Campaign Coordinators and our new Loaned Executives participated in our kick-off. The training was informative and helpful in spurring new ideas about how to grow campaigns as we continue to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are excited to have so many people invested in United Way and our community. The official Campaign Season began on September 1st, and we will work to support all of our workplace campaigns through the end of the Campaign Season in January.

Remember, local giving has local impact when you give through United Way. Your dollars stay here and help find ways to improve the quality of life for children ages 0-5 and their families through our Child Well-being work. In addition, 43 local non-profits are also supported through designations and our grant program. For more information on how and why to give, visit us at unitedwaywaco.org.

“As a United Way CIC member, I’ve had the opportunity to champion the way forward at increasing the equity in grant-making. Collectively, we strive to move the dial in a direction whereby funded programs are representative of the communities they serve.”

Paula Solano, 2021 Community Investment Council Member

1516 Austin Ave., Suite 2
Waco, Texas 76701
254.752.2753