We all know that Austin is one of the greatest cities in the world, and the holidays are one of the most magical times of year! It can also be a stark reminder that while many of us are thriving here, there are too many of us struggling just to make ends meet.
Too many are still making choices no one should ever have to make. Choices like: Should I buy groceries for the week or pay for my prescription? Should I pay my utility bill or buy my child a winter coat?
After sharing a delicious meal on Thanksgiving and some quality family time, Giving Tuesday, December 3, is your chance to give back to this community we call home. This Giving Tuesday is our big chance to make an impact for our neighbors, right here at home: Donate and let’s spread some cheer in our own backyard.
United Way for Greater Austin’s mission is to bring people, ideas, and resources together to fight poverty in our community. As CEO, there are two questions I hear more than any others: What exactly does United Way do? And where does the money go?
First: What do we do? We lift families out of poverty for good. Poverty is complex, and so is uprooting its generational patterns. Band-Aids simply won’t do it, which is why our focus is creating long-term solutions and changing systems that keep people from the opportunities we all enjoy.
Second: Where does the money go? Good question…simple answer. Right here. Every single dollar you give stays here to build opportunity for children and families here in Greater Austin. We invest in proven strategies with measurable results that work. And, here’s the best part: What lifts up one family, lifts up all of us!
I haven’t met all of the 47,000 people impacted by United Way’s programs, but I have met some of them and there is a single common thread shared among them all: Everyone just wants a chance. One gift in my life is meeting and knowing Cristina and her 2-year-old son Antonio. By investing in Jeremiah Program, we wrap their entire family in support, in this case by providing affordable housing and quality early childhood care for Antonio, giving Cristina a chance to get her education and setting her on course for the career of her dreams. I think Cristina captured the essence of why United Way exists when she said: “In three years we won’t need this anymore. Because of this program, we will no longer be here, but will have broken the cycle.”
‘Tis the season for giving, and so many need you to be a part of this poverty-fighting movement. When you donate to United Way for Greater Austin this Giving Tuesday, your dollars will be matched to make twice the impact! Your gift will stay here to build opportunity for families like
Cristina’s here in our Greater Austin community. Join the movement at unitedwayaustin.org.
PHOTO: Cristina and Antonio, breaking the cycle of poverty in their family thanks to United Way for Greater Austin's investment in the Jeremiah Program.
David C. Smith is CEO of United Way for Greater Austin and has been in executive nonprofit leadership for more than 25 years in Austin.