Education. Income. Health. These are the building blocks for a good life. But these needs of our community are layered and complex. At times, they can seem overwhelming.
United Way of San Diego County identifies specific issues and their causes; the proven ways to solve them; and the best partners for implementing these changes. This is Community Impact, a business model we switched to in 2006.
In the past five years ago, we have invested $14 million and helped more than 170,000 people throughout our county.
“United Way of San Diego County is leading the national United Way network in mobilizing the caring power of people to improve lives. At United Way Worldwide, we’ve watched San Diego become a powerful agent for social change,” said Stacey Stewart, executive vice president. “They’ve changed the way they do business – boosting collaboration and innovation to help make San Diego County a place where all children and adults can thrive.”
Check out some of the results:
The SafeCare initiative helps reduce child abuse and neglect by training adults on how to keep their children safer, healthier and happier. Working with Child Welfare Services, different modules of training taught core aspects of good parenting and positive interaction with children. Through a countywide rollout of SafeCare, we helped nearly 2,000 children and 1,200 families and helped drive a 35 percent decrease in confirmed child abuse cases in our county.
“I didn’t have a stable home. I didn’t know what a stable home was. Where I grew up, there was a lot of hitting …,” said Sofia, a young mom in SafeCare. “[SafeCare] taught me a lot about what not to do … It helps me be more understanding and patient … Because it’s not about me; it’s about my baby.”
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Led by UWSD in partnership with the County of San Diego and the IRS, the EITC Coalition offers free tax preparation and benefits screening to low- to moderate-income residents at locations countywide. We’ve invested in this initiative for many years to help San Diegans of all ages move toward financially self-sufficiency by putting extra money into their family budgets through refunds or by seeing if they qualify for CalFresh, MediCal and other benefits.
Since 2005, we have prepared nearly 109,000 free tax returns and brought $44 million in refunds back into the San Diego economy, with another $10 million this year.
United Way’s Project 25, a partnership with the County of San Diego and City of San Diego/San Diego Housing Commission, provides permanent housing and supportive services to at least 25 homeless individuals who are the most frequent users of public resources, including ambulance rides and medical services. Exceeding expectations, the three-year pilot program moved 35 chronically homeless individuals off the streets and into permanent housing in its first year.
“I cried. I can't even remember the last time I had a key to my own place,” said James Marsh, a Project 25 participant. “And when I walked in and looked at it, it was like, this is mine, this is my home; I'm not in a bush; I'm not under a park bench somewhere."
In addition to saving lives, Project 25 saved taxpayers $7.6 million in public resources in its first year.
This is a small snapshot of the many people we have been able to impact over the past five years.