UWSD’s Strategy for the Future, EDICT 2030, Aims to Reduce Disparities 

By |2021-04-23T11:55:04-07:00November 12th, 2020|Categories: Early Childhood Success, Family Stability, Youth Success|

UWSD’s Strategy for the Future, EDICT 2030, Aims to Reduce Disparities

A montage of different people

This year, we have been celebrating the 100 year anniversary of United Way of San Diego County. 100 years is epic, particularly in a world where changes happen by the hour. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to ensuring that every child, young adult, and family – regardless of zip code or income – has the chance to succeed.

It is clear to us at UWSD that the stability of the family plays a critical role in early childhood development. We’re also keenly aware that there are many families in San Diego who can’t afford to meet their basic needs. This scarcity cripples a child’s ability to learn. As a leader in our community, we are bringing together partners to align goals and leverage resources and expertise. That way, we can reconstruct systems and resolve inequities to transform lives.

This is what we have valued for the past 100 years and what we will continue to value for the next 100.

2020 has been an unprecedented year, to say the least. The public health and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 and the proliferation of the social justice movement when George Floyd was killed at the hands of police have illuminated the truth that our most marginalized communities are not included in the American Dream.

As our nation works to respond and recover to these issues, we must also reimagine our future and rebuild our community in a way that ensures a more equitable society. Now more than ever, we must realize that we are all in this together – and it will take all of us working TOGETHER to overcome the systemic barriers that have led to inequities in our communities.

That leads us to our strategy for the future – “Mind The Gap: EDICT 2030”. EDICT stands for “Ending Disparities In Communities not Thriving”. It is our north star and an audacious goal. And the work cannot be done alone.

What do we mean by “gap”? Let’s use data to describe it:

  • 80% of White and Asian third graders read at grade level, but only 50% of their Brown and Black classmates do.
  • Nearly 24,000 students in grades K-12 live in households that are doubled up with family or friends because they are unable to maintain housing on their own. This can be uncomfortable, make it difficult to learn, and can impact education success. It’s not just about a child not reading at grade level. Students are facing challenges like this and if there’s instability in the household it can impact a child’s ability to learn and thrive.
  • Black and Hispanic students are twice as likely as white students to have received no live contact with teachers while learning remotely.
  • Students on average could lose five to nine months of learning by the end of June 2021; students of color could be six to 12 months behind, compared with four to eight months for white students.
  • 31% of San Diegans are food insecure. When families don’t have access to food, that becomes their first priority and daily stressor, making it difficult to focus on other important tasks like finding a job or getting their kids to school. If parents or guardians don’t know where their next meal is coming from, this can also significantly impact a student’s education success.

These few data points are evidence that today’s pandemics have a vastly disproportionate impact on our Black and Brown kids. “Mind The Gap” is all about ending these disparities. With a commitment to racial equity and justice, our entire organization pledges to achieve this vision.

Our team at UWSD doesn’t only IMAGINE this; we are the CATALYST for this. And we’re doubling down with our partners for solutions. Our super power is elevating the best ways to support early childhood success and family stability built on proven practices and solid data, along with our partners’ expertise. We reimagine a future for our region where “The Gap” closes by 2030.

Will you join us?

Updated April 2021

Centennial Celebrating the 1970s

By |2021-05-27T09:36:11-07:00June 29th, 2020|Categories: Centennial, Family Stability, Giving, Volunteer|

Centennial Celebrating the 1970s

Written by: Claudia Chow, Digital Marketing Manager, UWSD

United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) continues to observe our Centennial Celebration by highlighting each decade with this month’s salute to the 1970s, a time full of innovation and incubation.

In 1973, we adopted the name United Way of San Diego County in keeping with national trends. During the 70s, UWSD flourished thanks to growing relationships with local companies and their workplace campaigns. We joined forces with 11 local affiliates to create the Combined Health Agencies Drive (CHAD). Then in 1975, UWSD helped create The San Diego Foundation. The following year, we helped launch the San Diego Community Leadership Development Program, a predecessor of LEAD San Diego. United Way also created a volunteer bureau to help people get involved in community service. Last but not least, during this era, Guideline was created, a countywide information and referral service that later became 2-1-1.

This year, in conjunction with the Centennial anniversary, UWSD expanded our Day of Action work to a month-long campaign to bring awareness of food insecurity as well as support vulnerable senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each June, United Ways across the globe participate in Day of Action, a day to address and tackle a variety of challenges that communities face. It is a day that United Ways ask their community members to help put the mission into action by volunteering to improve the building blocks for a good quality of life – education and family stability.

In addition to bringing attention to National Hunger Awareness Month, UWSD team members and partners from the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council honored the staff of Unions United with a surprise no-contact parade that doubled as a food drive. To help support the mission of the food pantry, we hosted a month-long virtual food drive to help restock the pantry! The staff members in the emergency on-site food pantry have provided over two decades of commitment and support to those vulnerable in our community. They have been working hard everyday face to face with clients throughout this pandemic.

Not only did we celebrate the Unions United team, but that weekend UWSD staff and volunteers joined the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council for a food distribution at SDCCU Stadium, providing over 640 individuals and families with produce and canned goods during these unprecedented times.

Now, more than ever, seniors need to remain safely in their homes. Many seniors are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and cannot venture out to find basic hygiene and personal care items. This year with the expanded Day of Action, UWSD collaborated with ElderHelp, a local nonprofit whose mission is to help seniors remain independent and live with dignity in their own homes, to assemble personal care kits. Volunteers were given supplies to take home, assemble, and instructed to return the completed kits to ElderHelp’s building. All coordination efforts, including picking up and dropping off the kits, were a no-contact transaction. Our eight volunteers put in 25 hours of service to supply ElderHelp with 300 kits for their seniors!

During these challenging times, United Way, with the help of individuals like you, can continue our impactful work as we have for the past 100 years for those in need in our community.

To learn about the Centennial Celebration, visit uwsd.org/centennial.

Centennial Celebrating the 1960s

By |2021-05-27T09:37:15-07:00May 22nd, 2020|Categories: Centennial, Family Stability, Workplace Giving|

Centennial Celebrating the 1960s

Written by: Alli Temnick, Senior Development Executive, UWSD

In celebration of our Centennial Year, United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) is revisiting our history by highlighting a different decade each month. This month, we are taking a closer look at the 1960s, which was a pivotal and transitional decade in history.

The population of San Diego grew by 30% during the 1960s, and the city transformed to accommodate its increasing size. The formerly dilapidated downtown area became the focus of an urban renewal project that resulted in the Gaslamp Quarter. The Mission Valley Shopping Center and Sea World were built, as well as the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. In addition to new construction, the city gained prominence when the American Football League Chargers started their first season in the fall of 1960 and the minor-league San Diego Padres became a Major League Baseball team in 1969.

With all of these changes in mind, it is probably not surprising to learn that the 1960s was a transitional decade for United Way as well. As the decade began, fundraising had stalled and local leaders began to lose confidence in the organization. Community leader James “Jim” Mulvaney created a committee to discover the source of the problem. The committee recommended increased partnership in the community and, as a result, United Community Services of San Diego County was formed in 1962. In 1965, this partnership was bolstered by the addition of the Combined Federal Campaign which allowed federal employees to give to the community through United Way. The next seven years brought increased growth in fundraising for the organization.

James “Jim” Mulvaney’s involvement in numerous nonprofit boards and organizations for 50 years would later be recognized by United Way with the creation of the James F. Mulvaney Community Leadership Award. This award is given to exceptional local leaders who have demonstrated long-lasting service to the San Diego community.

As we look back at our history, we are reminded of two things. The first is that we must always be willing to adapt to meet the demands of our time. Our team is proud to have launched the Worker Assistance Initiative to meet the needs our neighbors who have experienced job loss or reduction of wages as a result of COVID-19. Secondly, the change that we instituted at United Way in the 1960s laid the groundwork for the organization that we are today. Our strength is derived from our partnerships, and this year alone we will align over one hundred partners, to leverage resources and transform lives.

We hope you will partner with us by giving your time, treasure, or talent to help continue supporting the critical needs of our community.

To learn about the Centennial Celebration, visit uwsd.org/centennial.

Centennial Celebrating the 1950s

By |2021-05-27T09:37:35-07:00April 21st, 2020|Categories: Centennial, Family Stability|

Centennial Celebrating the 1950s

Written by: Alli Temnick, Senior Development Executive, UWSD

United Way of San Diego County is celebrating our Centennial by looking back over our 100 year history. Each month this year, we have considered a different decade and United Way’s role in it. To continue this trend, we are taking a look at the 1950s in April. You may be surprised by some of the parallels between life in the 1950s and our lives today.

In the United States, the 1950s were marked by concerns about polio – an infectious disease that was spread from one person to another. As numbers surged in the early 1950s, families grappled with anxiety and fear about what the future might hold. Fortunately, Jonas Salk (who spent the later part of his life in San Diego County) discovered one of the first successful polio vaccines. Years later, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies opened in La Jolla to give future scientists opportunities that he was deprived of earlier in his life. Because of his legacy, scientific research and vaccine development continues here in San Diego County.

Another key marker of the 1950s was the rise of consumerism. Increased media created a desire for more that left many families feeling strapped for cash. The first credit card was introduced in 1950 and the concept increased in prominence throughout the decade. This phenomenon created an increasing awareness of the need for financial literacy –  an issue that United Way of San Diego County has focused on over the years.

Building upon our history, United Way of San Diego County continues to promote financial literacy and family stability for San Diego residents. One way in which we advocate for financial literacy is by leading the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition which offers free tax preparation to individuals and families who qualify. Just last year, the Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition helped return $47,000,000 in federal and state refunds to San Diego County residents. We are proud to lead this important work to help families receive tax refunds and credits that they deserve.

Additionally, with the spread of the novel Coronavirus, many local families are struggling with anxiety about their health and financial situations, much like they did in the 1950s. Over the last few weeks, we have heard directly from thousands of low-wage workers who have been laid off or had their hours cut as businesses adjust during this crisis. In response, United Way of San Diego County created a Worker Assistance Fund that will pay utility bills, rent, and mortgage payments for low-wage earners who are struggling during this increasingly difficult time.

We are proud of our legacy of supporting financial literacy and family stability throughout the region. Will you join us?

To learn about the Centennial Celebration, visit uwsd.org/centennial.

United Way’s Guide to Free Food in San Diego During COVID-19

By |2021-04-23T11:36:08-07:00April 7th, 2020|Categories: Family Stability, Giving|

United Way’s Guide to Free Food in San Diego During COVID-19

person holds a bowl with a salad in it

Many San Diego County residents have lost their jobs, are hurting financially and worried about where their next meal will come from. Fortunately, there are many different ways to get food in San Diego, whether it’s from a local business, food bank, or other nonprofit program. The San Diego County response has been overwhelmingly impressive in this time of incredible need by making food more available. We applaud the businesses who are stepping up to serve the community, whether offering food for people who have lost jobs, or the workers on our front lines. If you can, support local businesses, especially the ones donating meals, as this will help them continue to serve the community. 

Here’s a rundown of the many places offering food for those in need:

Unions United

If you are food insecure and do not qualify for free meals at the restaurants listed below, please check out UWSD’s Unions United program, which helps local families get food and other basic necessities in times of need.

The San Diego Hunger Coalition

The San Diego Hunger Coalition has compiled extensive resources about where you can get food from food pantries and other relief options. Learn more here.

San Diego 2-1-1

If you need help getting access to food near you, you can also call 2-1-1 or go to the 2-1-1 website for a list of resources.

Free Meals at Schools

Any child 18 or younger can go to any school site providing meals and receive food during this period of school closures due to COVID-19. The San Diego County Office of Education has a comprehensive list of places offering free meals. They also have a mobile app to help people find the nearest locations. 

Feeding San Diego

Feeding San Diego is open to serve people right now. Click here for a list of locations

San Diego Food Bank

The San Diego Food Bank has food distributions scheduled from Monday, April 6 to Saturday, April 11.

Breakfast Republic – Mission Valley

For: Laid-off hospitality industry members

What: Pre-packaged comfort meals

When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Mission Valley at 1570 Camino De La Reina

Contributions: Breakfast Republic is suggesting a $10 contribution for these meals, but the food will be free for those who can’t afford to pay. Patrons can also “pass it forward” and buy an extra meal for another customer.

Source: San Diego Eater

Karina’s Mexican Seafood – Bonita & National City

For: All first responders who show proper credentials — from firemen and policemen to hospital medical staff, EMTs, and paramedics

What: A free carnitas, fish, or sautéed vegetable burrito 

When: 12 p.m to 6 p.m. 

Where: 1705 Highland Ave, National City, CA 91950 and 89 Bonita Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910

Contributions: Contact Karina’s Mexican Seafood 

Source: San Diego Eater

Metl – Downtown San Diego

For: San Diego’s unemployed hospitality industry workers

What: Free meals 

When: 12 p.m to 8 p.m.

Where: 748 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

Contributions: GoFundMe page

Source: San Diego Eater

Farmer’s Table Little Italy or Saltwater Restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter

For: Anyone on the front lines trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic

What: Free meals 

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

Where: 550 W Date St. Suite A, San Diego, CA 92101 and 565 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

Contributions: Contact San Diego Dining Group

Source: KUSI

Common Stock – Hillcrest

For: San Diegans who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis 

What: One free menu item per person

When: Regular business hours 

Where: 3805 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103

Contributions: Customers can donate a meal when ordering for pickup or delivery

Source: San Diego Eater

Note: The eatery has implemented a “passphrase” for those shy about asking for a handout; today’s code for free food is “Sirius Black was never evil”, and daily codes will be posted every morning on the restaurant’s Instagram page at @eatcommonstock.

The Prado at Balboa Park and 333 Pacific in Oceanside

For: Employees of the Cohn Restaurant Group

What: Free family-style meals for takeout 

When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 

Where: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 and 

Contributions: Contact the Cohn Restaurant Group

Source: San Diego Union Tribune

Starbucks – Multiple Locations

For: Any customer who identifies as a first responder or frontline worker supporting our healthcare system

What: Free tall brewed coffee, either hot or iced.

When: Business hours

Where: Multiple locations

Contributions: Contact Starbucks

Source: USA Today

How United Way of San Diego County Is Helping

UWSD supports family stability year-round, not just during times of crisis, with rent/mortgage payments and food assistance. You can learn more about our Unions United program that supports families in need, as well as what we’re doing specifically to address the Coronavirus Crisis, with our Worker Assistance Initiative. The Initiative is designed to support low-wage workers who need assistance paying utilities and rent/mortgage bills due to layoffs or reduced hours.

How You Can Help

Is there something we missed? Let us know in the comments below. 

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