United Ways of California (UWCA) recently provided a comment on the current effort by the Federal Communications Commission to study the feasibility of designating a three-digit number to the National Suicide Hotline and to assess the effectiveness of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. UWCA understands that the ease of contacting assistance is a critical factor for people in crisis and friends, family and community members seeking to help. UWCA recommends that resources should be invested to improve a unified single point of access with a blended partnership of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and United Way’s 211 services. Additionally, strengthening links between 2-1-1 and crisis helplines may be the most effective approach. Please click here to read our public comment.
Children’s health coverage is critical in ensuring kids are on the path to life success. We know that when children have access to comprehensive and quality care, they are more likely to enter school ready to learn and reach graduation. Despite coverage gains in previous years, recent trends show that too many children cannot access regular, preventative health care.
A new analysis by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families shows an estimated 3.9 million children were uninsured nationwide in 2017. The number of uninsured children in the U.S. increased by about 276,000 last year, the first significant increase in a decade, according to the new report. California showed no improvement: About 301,000 or 3.1 percent of California children 18 and younger were uninsured in 2017.
Over the past two weeks, two significant wildfires have devastated in Northern and Southern California. The Camp Fire in Northern California, has burned over 142,000 acres, and destroyed the community of Paradise. As of this writing, over 600 people remain unaccounted for. The Woolsey and Hill Fires in Southern California has burned nearly 103,000 acres combined, and is affecting communities in both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
In response to the fires, several California United Ways have established disaster relief funds to help those impacted, particularly low-income families and children. We ask you to please spread the word on both of these efforts, and give today.
Camp Fire Fund in Butte County by United Way of Northern California
Text to Give: Please text BUTTEFIRE to 91999
Social Media Hashtag: #CampFire
Hill and Woolsey Fires in Southern California by United Way of Greater Los Angeles and United Way of Ventura County
Text to Give: Please text UWVC to 41444 to support those in Ventura County and 2018FIRES to 41444 in Los Angeles County
Social Media Hashtags: #HillFire #WoolseyFire
United Way urges residents to call 2-1-1 for the latest information on available fire-related resources and opportunities to volunteer and provide additional support. 2-1-1 is available 24/7/365.
Los Angeles, CA – Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the final State Budget signed today:
The final budget signed by Governor Brown today provides significant investments in California families. As a state, we are making good progress towards our ultimate goal of supporting all Californians to be healthy, educated and financially stable.
We are shocked and deeply disappointed by reports on the conditions and treatment of the nearly 2000 children that have been separated from their families at the border in just the past several weeks. United Ways of California urgently requests the Trump Administration to reverse its practice of separating children from their families at the border and take immediate steps to reunify any detained children with their parents.
Removing children from their parents can cause toxic stress that can impair brain development and cause lifelong harm, a fact well established by medical research. This is a primary reason the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and many other authoritative health organizations have called for an immediate end to this practice. Children need to be nurtured and raised by parents to feel and be safe and healthy, especially in times of upheaval and insecurity.
The U.S. would rightly decry this practice if employed by any other country. Simple decency requires that any government treat all people in custody humanely. U.S. law holds that children should only be removed from their parents pursuant to court order or a finding by local government health and social services professionals that children are at risk of imminent harm if they remain with their family. Ripping a child from the arms her/his mother goes against a child’s mental and physical well-being and is a clear violation of our values as Americans. Furthermore, reports indicate many migrant children are not granted or allowed an attorney to represent them in a court of law putting them at the mercy of a broken immigration system.
We note reports that children from families seeking asylum are among those separated from their families, though at this time it is not clear how many. Applying for asylum is a request for legal immigration and adjudication of rights under US law for families fleeing violence and persecution.
Accordingly, we call on the Administration to act quickly to halt this deeply distressing practice and immediately reunify children with their parents. A country as great as ours can surely find a more humane and effective way to treat people fleeing violence and persecution and seeking a better life for their families.
Los Angeles, CA – Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the proposed State Budget agreement:
California is the fifth largest economy in the world and is experiencing an almost $9 billion surplus, so while United Ways of California is pleased that the budget agreement between Governor Brown and the Legislature includes more workers in the state earned income tax credit and funding to address the growing housing and homelessness crisis, we also see missed opportunities for smart and much needed investments in healthcare and expanded early child care.
Los Angeles, CA – Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the Governor’s May Revise budget proposal:
United Ways of California is delighted to see the Governor’s May Revise include more workers in the state earned income tax credit and also the proposed commitments to lifting up low-income households and ensuring that more investments are made to address the growing housing and homelessness crisis.
March 26, 2018
I'm proud to announce that United Ways of California is sponsoring Assembly Bill 2066 to reduce poverty among working Californians and to boost local economies. Assemblymembers Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) have jointly introduced the measure to extend the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to working families and individuals currently ineligible for the credit, including low-income youth, seniors, and immigrants without Social Security Numbers. United Ways of California is joined by Children’s Defense Fund-CA, California Immigrant Policy Center and Golden State Opportunity Fund as co-sponsors for the bill.
The “Digital Divide” persists, despite huge improvements in the capacity and affordability of computers and mobile devices. Low-income consumers increasingly have smart phone technology few could have imagined back in the early 2000s when the term had its heyday (in fact, Latino households, are the largest users of smart phones in California), yet they often lack wi-fi at home and a laptop or desktop computer.
As many as 4 in 10 households in low-income communities still lack broadband access, though the overall rate of broadband adoption statewide is improving. These communities correlate with low-income, largely the same neighbhorhoods our Real Cost Measure study identified, as shown on these below:
True tax reform should help working middle and low-income Americans. True tax reform should maintain or expand middle class tax deductions and help families climb out of poverty.
The current bills working their way through the House and Senate do none of this! Californians will be worse off as a result.
Here's what the bills will do:
Last month, we had the opportunity to explore some of the latest American Community Survey data on median household earnings, and how they have changed over time both nationally and throughout California. (Earnings have largely remained constant for decades among most working families, but there are huge disparities among CA neighborhoods). In this blog post, we are using the same data source to explore the intersection between educational attainment and median personal earnings. This is a particularly important subject as educational attainment is universally acknowledged as a primary factor in eliminating generational poverty, and in human development.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released new supplemental demographic data on health, education, and income well-being on American FactFinder. The annual October release is significant as this new data allows us the ability to dig deeper to see how people are faring in their own local neighborhoods.
One of the critical pieces of data we look at here at United Ways of California is median household earnings, which illustrates the economic potential of families throughout the state. It is a key component of our Real Cost Measure report, which determines what it takes a given household to make ends meet in California.
United Ways of California (UWCA) is proud to be co-convener of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) Advocacy Coalition thatwas recognized with a Community Hero at the California Reinvestment Coalition's Celebrate Sacramento Valley Reinvestment event last night. The CalEITC Advocacy Coalition is composed of more than 20 organizations across the state and is led by UWCA and Children’s Defense Fund-CA.
Today United Way Worldwide released the following statement. United Ways of California stands with United Way Worldwide in asking the Senate to pass a budget that defends the health, employment and education programs that families and children depend on. The following is United Way Worldwide's statement.
Sept. 8, 2017
To: Members of California’s congressional delegation
RE: Pass Legislation to Protect California Dreamers and DACA
Dear Majority Leader McCarthy, Minority Leader Pelosi, Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris, and all members of California’s congressional delegation:
This week the White House announced its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects approximately 242,339 young people from deportation in California. Nationwide, the DACA program is a lifeline for nearly 800,000 young immigrants who came to this country as children. We urge you to take action to protect them by passing legislation to protect their status.
In 2015, United Way of California’s report on poverty, Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California, found that 31% of households in California do not earn sufficient income to meet life’s basic needs. Approximately half of those, 1.5 million, are Latino-led households.
While it is too early to estimate the long-term impact of the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Latino households in California have the most to lose than any demographic group nationally.
On Wednesday, August 30th, Pete Manzo from United Ways of California discussed affordable housing, SB3, a bill to propose state bond funding for affordable housing for approval by voters in the November 2018 election, and The Real Cost Measure, our financial stability report for California, on "AirTalk", hosted by Larry Mantle on KPCC in Pasadena. Mr. Manzo and David Wolfe from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association discussed the merrits of SB 3 and its potential implications for housing in California. Click here to listen to the full interview.
The “Better Care Reconciliation Act” released by the Senate Majority today is anything but better. It will degrade health coverage for everyone, and deprive it altogether from millions of Americans. In fact it appears to be worse than the American Health Care Act passed by the House last month.
America’s modern health system has been built around employer-sponsored health insurance. According to Forbes, 170 million Americans receive health coverage through plans sponsored by their employers. The BCRA will require most of those 170 million to pay more for worse health care coverage, by eliminating requirements for essential health benefits, allowing states the option of instituting life time caps and charging higher premiums to those over 50. In fact it eliminates the requirements for large employers to even offer health coverage and makes it impossible for small businesses to afford decent coverage if they so desire.
Medicaid is a safety net for those who are still suffering from the recession, have lost their jobs, or have low paying jobs without benefits. In the Central Valley, for example, the oil and agriculture industries have dropped tens of thousands of jobs in the past decade, and these families have no choice but to rely on Medicaid as they search for new work or training opportunities.
Children in low-income families – nearly one of every two children in the US – and people with disabilities also depend on Medicaid, which is funded in partnership between the federal government and state governments. In all, 65 million Americans are covered under Medicaid, including 37 million children; in California, Medicaid covers 14 million people, including 1.4 million children.
BCRA cuts $800 Billion from Medicaid, and these drastic cuts will force states to kick millions off the program. California stands to lose over half of its in federal funding for Medicaid ($15 billion (58%)), which would be impossible to backfill with tax increases and will mean millions will lose insurance.
Many people may not be aware that Medicaid is what allows seniors to access long-term care without imposing a burden on their families, on their children, and grandchildren. According to AARP, about 65 percent of nursing home residents are supported primarily by Medicaid, and Medicaid pays for 45 percent of the total nursing home bill. With block grants or per capita caps, it is our parents and grandparents that will suffer.
BCRA’s cuts likely would lead to severe financial hardship on millions of families, including having to quit work to care for elderly parents, and risk losing their own health coverage and financial security.
And for low-income children, the BCRA’s proposed Medicaid cuts would be a disaster. 95 percent of children in America now have health insurance coverage, 97 percent in California. In California, we’ve gone from 1.2 million uninsured kids down to less than 100,000. More than 37 million children are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 1 million in the health exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. There simply is no way to shield our nation’s most vulnerable children from Medicaid cuts of this magnitude.
The BCRA violates President Trump’s promises on the campaign and in office not to cut Medicaid, and his promise after inauguration to “come up with a new plan that’s going to be better health care for more people at a lesser cost.” The BCRA’s devastating block grants and per capita caps upon the Medicaid program are harsher than even the House bill, which President Trump himself referred to as ‘mean.’ We agree. The Senate’s decision to exempt disabled children from imposed caps only highlights how harmful BCRA is to kids. Per capita caps and block grants are bad for everyone.. This bill asks low and middle-income people (and their employers) to spend more for less coverage, and makes it impossible for states to respond to population growth, epidemics, medical advances and treatment, or emergencies like earthquakes and fires.
As damaging as the bill’s substantive provisions are, the Senate has been reckless and irresponsible in handling such a vital, life and death issue. The Affordable Care Act, which the BCRA is meant to dismantle, was debated in three House committees and two Senate committees, and was subject to hours of bipartisan debate that allowed for the consideration of 130 amendments from both sides of the aisle. The BCRA is likewise a major piece of legislation, yet it was drafted in secret, with none of the Senates’s “regular order” of committee hearings and processes. In 2009, the full Senate debated the health care bill for 25 straight days before passing it on Dec. 24, 2009. We expect 20 hours of debate total on this bill.
The BCRA will not not produce better care for anyone; instead, it will destabilize the health insurance markets, including private insurance sponsored by employers; cause risk pools to be older and sicker; cause uncertainty for hospitals and health systems across the country; require middle- and low-income families to pay more for worse coverage; and kick millions of people off insurance altogether. This is bad policy, plain and simple.
Written with Judy Darnell, Vice President for Public Policy, and Danielle Kilchenstein, Health Coverage Project Administrator
The economic well-being of hundreds of thousands of working Californians hangs in the balance as California’s Budget Conference Committee meets to work out their disagreements for the 2017-2018 budget before final negotiations with Governor Brown. This legislative budget will get us one step closer to determining whether California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) will support self-employed, “gig-economy” workers. Both houses have luckily already agreed that outreach dollars again are needed to build awareness of the CalEITC among the very low-income workers living in poverty and just trying every day to make ends meet.
The CalEITC is a refundable state tax credit that increases the economic security of working families, who can receive as much as $2,706 from the program, depending on their income, in addition to the income boost they receive from the federal EITC.
The American Health Care Act passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives will have a devastating impact on California’s children and families. This new version of the bill is significantly worse than the previous version, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in over 24 million Americans losing health insurance. Congress rushed this through before getting an independent analysis from CBO, which means that our nation’s leaders and their constituents have no idea how much worse it’s gotten and how many more people will lose coverage. At a minimum, we know that the bill guts Medicaid, cutting more than $800 billion over 10 years, and will cause at least 24 million more uninsured people within a decade. It will also expose everyone with private insurance, from their employer or purchased on their own, to discrimination for pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on care.
In March 2017, Measure of America, a trusted partner of United Way, released their latest report on disconnected youth, those not enrolled in school or participating in the labor force between the ages of 16-24.
In Promising Gains, Persistent Gaps: Youth Disconnection in America, Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis find there were approximately 609,000 disconnected youth in California in 2015, easily the highest rate in the nation. However, California also experienced a decrease of disconnected youth from 2010-15 by 18%, indicating improved well-being for that vulnerable population since the Great Recession. While that is certainly good news, it is prudent to consider how disconnected youth are spatially dispersed throughout California and the opportunities we have to better serve them.
United Way’s ask of President Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his Congressional colleagues is that any changes to our healthcare laws must improve on existing healthcare coverage, protect Medicaid from harmful structural changes and leave intact all consumer protections for all Americans. It may sound like a tall order, but it can be done, and that is the task for Speaker Ryan, President Trump and other Congressional leaders who have vowed to replace the Affordable Care Act with something better.
With that in mind, let’s look at the GOP’s proposed new health insurance law, the “American Health Care Act” (AHCA), sponsored by House Speaker Paul Ryan and championed by President Trump.
Last month, the world lost one of its greatest champions in human development and global health, Hans Rosling. Among other things, Mr. Rosling became internationally famous for visualizing complicated data and making it understandable, interactive and engaging for all audiences (even if it meant proving we are often no smarter than a chimpanzee). He taught us that despite all of the world’s ongoing challenges, we have made great social progress over the past several decades. Take for instance that:
Now that Speaker Paul Ryan has introduced the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (a pair of bills referred to as the American Health Care Act), it would be instructive to look back to 2009, the last time health insurance reform was on the table, to see what directions health reform may take.
Back then, 49.9 million Americans, or about 1 in 6, were uninsured; health care premiums for Americans who had coverage were increasing by double digits every year, and Americans paid more for health care and got worse results than citizens in any country we would consider our peers.
For the second time in 8 years, America’s elected leaders are grappling with the thorny problem of how to improve health coverage and care for all Americans.
This time will be the same in one critical respect - the simple, unavoidable market realities to providing real access to health coverage for people who aren’t able to obtain coverage from an employer.
This will again be a free market issue – whatever its faults, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was firmly built around preserving a central role for private insurers to provide coverage and for consumers to have choice of plans and doctors. This pro-market nature of the ACA has been obscured by all the politics surrounding it.
Also, we need to take luck into account, as the great conservative economist Milton Friedman observed. None of us know which of us will be sick in the future, or which of us may lose our jobs. By its very nature, insurance redistributes the burdens of the unfortunate few across the many who are more fortunate. That’s built in, that’s how insurance works.
The upshot is that to expand health coverage in a private insurance market, we need to employ three interdependent tools, like the legs on a stool:
- Require insurers to offer coverage to everyone, even if they have a pre-existing condition;
- Require/incentivize younger, healthier people to buy into the insurance pool, even though they might otherwise choose not to buy insurance and;
- Provide subsidies for lower income people who earn too little to pay the full cost of their premiums but earn too much above the poverty line to receive fully-subsidized health coverage
What would happen to income levels in Santa Barbara County if everyone completed their high school diploma/GED? Thanks to the new Common Good Forecaster developed by United Way and Measure of America, we now have the ability to find out — not only in Santa Barbara, but across California and the entire country.
California has made huge strides in recent years to ensure more families and children are healthy and excel in life, particularly by increasing access to health coverage. The state has reduced the number of uninsured children from 2 million in 1999 to just over 100,000 today who are eligible but yet to be enrolled. The number of children in California with health coverage is at 97 percent, an all-time high. This is not the time to turn back the clock. If their parents lose coverage, children are at risk too.
Yet members of Congress are proposing to do just that. Policy makers in Washington intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a concrete plan to replace it – an ill-advised scheme that would have unprecedented consequences according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
The following blog post is by Danielle Kilchenstein and Judy Darnell from United Ways of California.
Health coverage is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure overall health for any person, but perhaps most importantly for our children to ensure they’re on a path to success. Today, United Ways across California are celebrating good news about children’s health. The number of uninsured children dropped from 7% (over 700,000) to 3% (still over 300,000) between 2013 and 2015. While still too many children cannot access regular, preventive care, the trend shows we are definitely on the right path.
In the next few weeks, The Chronicle of Philanthropy will release “The Philanthropy 400,” their annual ranking of the largest charities in the U.S. For at least the last two years, The Chronicle of Philanthropy has predicted that Fidelity Charitable, one of a handful of large commercial donor-advised fund vehicles, will pass United Way on the Chronicle’s list as the largest US charity, and 2016 may be the year that actually happens.
You might shrug and wonder, why should it matter? What’s the difference between the number one spot and number 5, or 10, or 15, among the hundreds of thousands of U.S. charities?
Yesterday morning, the U.S. Census Bureau released their annual income and health coverage reports: Income and Poverty in the United States and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. Both use 2015 single-year data to measure well-being in two areas that are extremely important to United Way’s community impact work: health and financial stability.
The most significant finding in Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 is that real median household income increased 5.2% from 2014. That is the first genuine increase households have experienced since 2007, just before the Great Recession.
California United Ways are working together to help kids enter school ready to learn, from preschool through high school, and graduate high school ready for college and career. As we kick off a new school year, please join us in expanding educational opportunity for California's low-income students. To donate, please visit http://igfn.us/vfu/STUDENTS.
With the 2016 General Election just a few weeks away, we decided to look into some historical voter participation rates to determine potential turnout in November and discuss some of the steps we can take to encourage voter participation.
In a powerful infographic recently released by the New York Times, 88 million eligible voters in the United States did not vote in the 2012 General Election. Among the largest demographic of those who did not vote are young people between the ages of 18-24. Of those, only 38% voted according to recent data published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
With thousands of families being displaced and impacted by the Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino County, Inland Empire United Way has launched a relief fund to help families with short and long-term needs.
If you would like to support relief efforts, please text “RELIEF” to 40403 or visit their donation page. GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.
A woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi ……
It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but actually they didn't walk into a bar.
Instead, in Denver 1887, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman created the nation's first united campaign, and established an organization to collect the funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 for this greater good, and created a movement that would become United Way.
The following blog post was written by Betsy Baum Block, Henry Gascon, Peter Manzo and Adam Parker, authors of Stuggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015.
On April 4, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill (SB 3) that will raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Together, with the passage of a similar law in New York State and living wage campaigns throughout the nation, California’s action has brought the idea of a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of the national discussion on poverty.
United Ways of California is grateful to eBookPartnership for their outstanding help in publishling Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015 in both the Apple and Amazon Stores. In this blog post, eBookPartnership detail the various steps they took to layout the report for ebook publishing.
“Structural inequality is the fight of our time. Philanthropy, are you in it?”
Dr. Robert Ross, CEO of The California Endowment, framed this challenge in a panel at a recent conference on philanthropy sponsored by USC’s Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, and he called on foundations to “spend” their brands – to put the good will they have accrued – in fighting inequality.
This reminded me of similar excellent advice Dr. Ross shared with California United Way board members and leaders at our 2012 Capitol Day in Sacramento. Dr. Ross discussed the distinct role United Way plays in the social sector and the opportunities we have to improve well-being in health, education and income throughout California. He thanked us for getting in the fight, and also encouraged us to use all the good will we can call upon in our communities to push for positive change. Click here to read his remarks, posed with his permission.
Los Angeles, CA—Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the Governor’s proposed budget release:
United Ways of California applauds the Governor for once again making significant investments in K-12 education. With an increase of $3,600 per pupil in K-12 funding over last year, and a continued commitment to the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program, California will continue to move toward an improved education system. The Governor’s proposal also makes a very welcome increased investment in Transitional Kindergarten, a vital bridge to helping children enter K-12 schools ready to learn. Click here to read the full press release.
About 830 million people in the world are working poor—living on less than $2 a day—and more than 1.5 billion are in vulnerable employment, usually lacking decent working conditions and adequate voice and social security. - 2015 Human Development Report
Earlier this morning, the United Nations Human Development Programme released its global 2015 Human Development Report which among other things, measures well being in health education and income, the core areas of United Way’s community impact work.
The report reveals some very encouraging news, especially when we take a look at the historical data. Between 1990 and 2015:
Arrowhead United Way established a relief fund today to support the needs of those affected by the tragedy in San Bernardino. If you would like to support their cause, please text "SBUNITED" to 71777 or visit their donation page. A disaster distress hotline is also available at 800.985.5990. GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.
Los Angeles, — California. Today, United Ways of California joined Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and other California leaders to announce the launch of CalEITC4me, a statewide campaign involving community, faith, civic, labor and business leaders to ensure the first-ever California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) winds up in the hands of those who worked hard to earn it. Click here to read more.
Earlier this morning, the United States Census Bureau released its annual Income and Poverty reports, as well as that of Health Insurance Coverage. Both reports capture one-year population estimates for 2014.
Some of the key findings include:
United Ways of California is proud to announce the release of Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015, a new financial stability report that seeks to measure the true cost of living in California communities.
Struggling to Get By introduces the Real Cost Measure, a new tool that provides a more realistic picture of poverty than the Federal Poverty Line. The Real Cost Measure creates “basic needs” budgets for households, using actual costs for food, housing, transportation, health care, childcare, and taxes throughout California.
Among the questions Struggling to Get By seeks to answer are: What is the true rate of financially challenged households? How many are led by working adults? What do we know about these households? What do their family configurations look like? What regions and communities struggle more than others? What do income challenges look like across race, ethnicity and gender boundaries and more.
Click here to learn more about Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015.
Today’s budget agreement provides an opportunity for the nine million Californians who find it difficult to afford housing, food, and the basic necessities needed to survive. While there is still much work to be done, Governor Jerry Brown, the California legislature and community organizations like the United Ways of California network have embarked on an ambitious plan to reverse some of the damage done during the Great Recession.
Creating a California state Earned Income Tax Credit for low and moderate income workers will provide some much needed relief for working families by helping them secure an apartment or repair a car, and spur demand for goods and services by increasing purchasing power for tax filers in local economies that need it most.
In an overwhelming show of bi-partisan support, the Assembly today approved legislation by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) that creates a policy framework for a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Sponsored by United Ways of California with co-sponsor Alameda County, AB 43 addresses the lack of income gains for working Californians in the Post-Great Recession economic recovery and provides a much-needed economic stimulus in the most economically distressed communities.
California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Nearly 1 in 4 Californians – over 8 million people, including 2 million children - lived in poverty in 2013. These are overwhelmingly working families; almost 70 percent had at least one working adult. Many families above the poverty line also struggle to make ends meet. Our United Way research shows 1 in 3 working families earn below the threshold of a basic needs household budget.
These days, many parents worry about whether their children will have the same opportunities that they enjoyed growing up. The American Dream increasingly seems out of reach for more and more of us. Inequality has increased tremendously over the past 30 years--California’s GDP has grown over 123%, while median household income has grown only 7%.
The best way to assure our children grow up in a society where opportunity is growing, not shrinking, is to expand opportunity for all children. Perhaps the most effective and affordable way for us to do that is ensure all low-income children have access to high quality preschool.
"Good afternoon, Chairman Ting and Committee members. I’m Pete Manzo, President/CEO of United Ways of California, the state association for California’s 34 local United Ways. United Way works to improve health, education and financial stability for low-and moderate-income families, three interrelated building blocks of a good life. We are proud to co-sponsor AB 43.
California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Nearly 1 in 4 Californians – over 8 million people, including 2 million children - lived in poverty in 2013. These are overwhelmingly working families; almost 70 percent had at least one working adult.
Many families above the poverty line also struggle to make ends meet. Our United Way research shows 1 in 3 working families earn below the threshold of a basic needs household budget.
Thankfully, the EITC is a proven tool for fighting poverty.The federal EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other federal policy. That is why 25 other states have established state EITCs to supplement the federal credit.
If enacted, AB 43 would help lift over 178,000 Californians, nearly half of them children, out of poverty, and would improve financial stability for over 3.1 million, including 1 million children.
A state EITC also would boost local economies. People tend to use their refunds to make larger necessary purchases, such as car repairs, first-and-last months’ rent, or paying off debt, and each dollar received by a tax filer can generate an additional $1.50 - $2 in local economic activity, according to a study of other state EITCs.
A refundable state EITC would be good for California’s long-term future. Research shows children whose families receive more income from refundable tax credits do better in school, are more likely to access higher education, and may even earn more as adults.
We are very excited to see a state EITC becoming a priority among legislators and the Governor. And we believe AB 43 offers the best approach. It combines two elements we believe are especially important: (1) enhanced reimbursement for families with children, at least one child under 5, when the impacts of poverty can be most damaging, and (2) eligibility that matches the federal EITC, which assists workers with income up to $47,000 for a single parent and 3 or more kids.
This is critically important for many families slightly above the poverty line who earn too little to make ends meet, but earn too much to qualify for other public supports.
We are proud to sponsor AB 43, and we look forward to working with Assemblyman Stone and other stakeholders to ensure a state EITC can indeed reduce and mitigate poverty in California."
We're delighted to see Governor Brown's proposal to create a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a momentous first step to fight poverty, but we're disappointed he did not go further to invest in early education and health coverage for low-income children. Read our statement on the Governor's May Revision here.
8.9 million Californians find it difficult to afford housing, food, and some of the basic necessities needed to survive. Over the last 40 years, productivity has increased by approximately 74%, yet wages for most low- and moderate-income people have not kept pace, with median hourly compensation rising only 9% over that period, according to a report by Economic Policy Institute featured in The Atlantic Monthly.
Children bear the brunt of this, sadly. California leads the nation in residents living in poverty, and our poverty rate for children, 27%, is worst in the country, according to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The EITC is one bright spot, however; from 2010 to 2012, the federal EITC pulled 1.3 million people, including 629,000 children, above the federal poverty line in California. To make work even more effective at reducing poverty for low-income families, California’s United Ways, working through our United Ways of California state network, are sponsoring Assembly Bill 43 (Stone), which would create a state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, as twenty-five other states have done.
This morning, Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council, released Geographies of Opportunity, a new human development report focusing on U.S. Congressional Districts (114th Congress). This is an important report as it measures well-being in health, education and income nationally which perfectly correlates with United Way's community impact work. Some of the conclusions from the report include:
In a new commentary, Michael Alexander (United Way of Fresno County) and Rosemary Caso (United Way of Tulare County) talk about the latest threat to the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the impact it can have on California's low-income families. Click here to read the piece.
On December 9, Measure of America released A Portrait of California, 2014-15, California's newest Human Development Report. The report is significant for several reasons. First, human development measures well-being in health, education and income—what most of us would agree are the building blocks of a decent life.
For years, economists such as Joseph Stiglitz have argued that measures such as gross domestic product, do not project an accurate pulse of how ordinary Americans are doing. The American Human Development index measures well-being adquately because it uses common indicators we are familiar with such as life expectancy at birth, educational attainment and median personal earnings, and scales them in a simple 0-10 index that is easy to understand and talk about.
Since 1997, the federal government has been providing match funding to states to provide health coverage for low-income and families through the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While CHIP was recently reauthorized by Congress through 2019, CHIP funding is set to expire on September 30, 2015.
On October 18, the California State Controller’s Office will launch its first annual “Manage Your Money Week.” The event has several goals including: 1) promoting the importance of helping all Californians make good financial decisions; 2) connecting consumers to financial management resources in their own local communities and; 3) providing a framework for state, regional and local financial education groups to collaborate on highlighting their respective programs and services.
In an op-ed in this morning's Stanford Social Innovation Review, United Ways of California's President/CEO, Pete Manzo, talks about the opportunities 2-1-1s and other information and referral providers have in "making their resource data and their data about users’ needs usable by the whole wide world." In doing so, they can expand their social impact and further their sustainability. Click here to read the full post.
On May 20, Measure of America, founders of the American Human Development Index, released “A Portrait of Sonoma County,” which measures well being throughout Sonoma County, CA. Some of its primary findings include:
- Sonoma County residents have an average life expectancy of 81.0—two years longer than the national average of 79.0 but just under California’s life expectancy of 81.2.
- Variation in educational outcomes by census tract in Sonoma County is significant and meaningful. The range in the percentage of adult residents with less than a high school diploma is huge, going from a low of 0.4% in North Oakmont/Hood Mountain to a high of 46.1% in Roseland Creek.
- Men in Sonoma County earn about $8,500 more than women. This wage gap is similar to the gap between men and women at the state level, although it is around $1,000 smaller than at the national level.
Earlier this month, the Executive Office of the President and the U.S. Treasury Department released a proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by $60 billion. This is significant as EITC is the largest public anti-poverty program for workers not receiving Social Security benefits.
If the proposal goes through, over 7.7 million people will receive a larger EITC benefit and 5.8 million would become newly eligible. The Washington Post reports “workers would get 15.3 cents back on every dollar they earn up to $6,570, for a maximum of $1,005. Then the tax credit is frozen until the worker earns $11,500.” Once a worker reaches $18,070 in annual income, the tax credit will automatically phase out.
Under the leadership of its Board of Directors, 2-1-1 California is seeking a new Director to conduct the day-to-day management of the fiscal, contractual, personnel and other activities related to 2-1-1 California. Responsibilities include developing a strategy for building and strengthening relationships with state and local public agencies and officials, foundations and other sources of support, integrate 2-1-1 service into official emergency and disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and more. To learn more about this position, visit our posting on Idealist.org.
Three months ago, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its latest math and reading results from “The Nation’s Report Card,” an assessment typically conducted every two years that measures how well students perform in core subject areas. It is arguably the best tool we have to measure how K-12 students are performing academically across states.
The results for California students in both 4th grade reading and 8th grade math are encouraging. As illustrated in the charts below, California students have improved 11 points, on average, in 4th grade reading since 1998, and 16 points, on average, in 8th grade math since 2000.
February 11 is national 2-1-1 Day, in recognition of the free, user-friendly phone and online system that serves 90% of America's population, and connects some 16 million people a year to critical resources, information and services.
On February 6, UWCA President/CEO Pete Manzo testified before the California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee in San Francisco. We thought you'd like to read his testimony about the Bank On program and the needs of unbanked and underbanked families.
California’s finances are more solid than they have been for several years, thanks in no small part to Governor Brown’s leadership. While the Governor’s proposed budget increases investment in K-12 education, similar investments in health programs and initiatives that help families achieve financial self-sufficiency are needed to strengthen opportunities for low-income families, which are essential to California’s overall competitiveness and well being. Click here to read our full press release.
On November 8, typhoon Haiyan, the second worst Philippine typhoon on record, hit landfall leading to over 4,000 fatalities and thousands more to be homeless, scattered and hungry. To address the impact of the storm, United Way Worldwide’s Disaster Rebuilding Fund is helping to support long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts. Click here to learn more about United Way Worldwide’s Fund and make a donation today.
May 24, 2011
Elise Buik, President and CEO of The United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of the American Human Development Project and co-author of "A Portrait of California," are interviewed by Patt Morrison's Guest Host, Pilar Marrero, on this radio report: "Rating California (for the first time). Are we special or just adequate?"
May 16, 2011
Joseph W. Heston, KSBW-TV President and General Manager, discusses United Way of Monterey County's and United Way of Santa Cruz County's successful fundraising in this news editorial.
March 25, 2011
United Way of Fresno County President Michael Alexander explains the impact state budget cuts will have on the Central Valley's low-income children in a KFSN-TV Fresno news piece.
Redding Record Searchlight
May 31, 2011
Pete Manzo, Pasadena
Manzo is president and CEO of United Ways of California.
Many in Bay Area are faring worse.
Your May 20 editorial, "Report opens a window onto two Californias," missed the mark with regard to the well-being report recently released by the American Human Development Project.
Ventura County Star
May 22, 2011
By David M. Smith
When "A Portrait of California" was released last week, the results detailing the nitty-gritty of Ventura County's socio-economic profile were hardly a big surprise.
As background, the state "portrait" uses an internationally-recognized Human Development Index to rank how state, regional and local residents and communities are doing against key national benchmarks, broken out by demographic, geographic and other distinctions.
Redding Record Searchlight
May 20, 2011
It's no secret that Californians are starkly divided — socially, economically, philosophically — to the point where, when our political leaders debate, they hardly seem to be talking about the same state.
Well, maybe that's because, in an important sense, we live in different states.
KSBW-TV8 (NBC, Monterey)
May 16, 2011
Joseph W. Heston, President and General Manager
With the economy slowly slugging forward, it seems we see some gains and some setbacks almost every week. We're still waiting for the expected gasoline price reductions(!). So it was great news this week to hear that the United Way of Monterey County surpassed its 2010-2011 goal and surpassed last year's campaign results, for a total of $3,550,000 in contributions this year.
The United Way of Santa Cruz County had similar success. They surpassed their goal of $1 million and were almost even with last year.
San Jose Business Journal
April 29, 2011
United Way Silicon Valley said it is awarding $100,000 in grants each year for two years to programs that offer a new way of doing things, have the potential to be replicated and can demonstrate positive results for our community.
“With more government budget cuts looming and high demand for services, nonprofit organizations need to be innovative so they can continue to provide high-quality services to people in need,” said Carole Leigh Hutton, United Way Silicon Valley president and CEO. “United Way Silicon Valley is willing to provide the seed money to give local nonprofits the impetus to make that happen.”
July 7, 2011
California advocacy organizations committed to improving children’s health reacted to negotiations among congressional leaders that could cut health care for children and families across the state and throughout the country. A new study released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research (link below) emphasizes how critical health coverage is for low-income families.
Report illustrates the markedly different opportunities and outcomes for California residents across geography, race and gender.
Los Angeles, CA
May 17, 2011
A new report released May 17, 2011 provides, for the first time, an easy-to-understand composite number that measures the well-being of Californians in the areas of health, education and income. A Portrait of California uses the internationally recognized Human Development Index to rank how Californians are doing against key benchmarks, broken out by demographic, geographic and other distinctions. This exhaustive report was prepared by the American Human Development Project, a nonpartisan initiative that seeks to move beyond an overreliance in the U.S. on GDP as a measure of well-being.
Read the full report and find regional data here.
Los Angeles, CA
May 16, 2011
Peter Manzo, President & CEO of the United Ways of California, issued the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s May revised budget proposal to merge Healthy Families into Medi-Cal (a General Fund savings of $31.2 million) and increase funding for K-12 education by $3 billion.:
“United Ways of California believes that health, education and financial stability are the building blocks for a good life, and that addressing any of those areas effectively requires attention to all. We appreciate that, while facing an enormous budget deficit, the Governor recognized the importance of education in our children’s lives by increasing funding for K – 12 education. Clearly that is a win for our kids.
United Way Helps Americans Achieve Financial Stability.
As many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and education. Currently, 40 million Americans are working in lowpaying jobs without basic health and retirement benefits. For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way is here to help.
United Way works for a healthier California.
Whether it is a neighbor or child without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or addiction, United Ways are working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.
United Way works to end America’s education crisis.
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes. These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.
United Way Study reveals extent to which poverty is grossly undercounted in California, where 2.9 million households are living below the Self-Sufficiency Standard
Three in ten California households lack enough income to cover "bare bones" living expenses, according to a report released today by United Ways of California. The report uses a Self-Sufficiency Standard which measures the actual cost of living in California, specific to each county, for housing, food and shelter, as well as the work-related costs of transportation, child care and taxes.>
The complete report,"Overlooked and Undercounted 2009," commissioned by United Way of the Bay Area and conducted by the Center for Women's Welfare at the University of Washington.