Community Impact

Our Goal: Lift Nearly 5,000 Saginaw County Residents Out Of The ALICE or Below CLassifications

Across Michigan, 43% of households struggle to afford the basic necessities of housing, childcare, food, technology, healthcare, and transportation. That's why United Ways across Michigan, with help from the Consumers Energy Foundation, have come together to bring you the ALICE Project. Standing for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - ALICE represents those in our communities who are working yet still struggling to make ends meet. 

United for a Better Community

United Way of Saginaw County helps create community impact everyday by connecting community resources and volunteers. Currently, United Way facilitates community partnerships, administers grants and implements community impact programs designed to achieve outcomes. These programs allow UWSC and our partners to unite together, enhancing capacity and adding value to the community. Each program allows us to partner with people from all walks of life. From community volunteers, to nonprofits, college students, businesses, public safety and more - these programs would not be possible if it were not for the multiple community partnerships within each program.

United Way 2020 - 2021 Funded Programs 

  • Boys and Girls Club of the Great Lakes Bay Region – Alice Academic Success Program
  • Child and Family Services of Saginaw – Counseling Center – Mental Health Counseling and Outreach Groups
  • Child and Family Services of Saginaw - Sexual Assault Center Victim Support Services
  • First Ward Community Center – The LACER Program
  • Hidden Harvest – Food Rescue and Redistribution Program
  • Houghton-Jones Neighborhood Task Force – Sis. Lois A Sheffer Enrichment Programs
  • READ Association of Saginaw County – Raising Readers
  • READ Association of Saginaw County – Youth Literacy Mentor Program
  • Saginaw County Business and Education Partnership – Project Transportation
  • Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for  Humanity – Financial Capabilities Program
  • Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity – Home Repairs Program
  • Saginaw Youth Protection Council – Teen Parent Services
  • Saginaw Youth Protection Council – Innerlink
  • Samaritas Community Center, Saginaw – Get To Work
  • Samaritas Community Center, Saginaw – Drive to Succeed
  • Underground Railroad – Counseling Center
  • YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region – Getting Ahead Program
     

 

Fighting the Root Causes of Financial Instability

United Way fights for the financial stability of Saginaw County residents. United Way funds local non-profit programs that combat the root causes that prevent residents classified as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Contrained, Employed) or below from gaining financial independence.

United Way of Saginaw Countyis fully accredited by United Way Worldwide, passing annual requirements. The certification mandates completion of 13 requirements for United Way membership along with verification of the status of 40 indicators that demonstrate United Way embodies the intent of the membership requirements.

 

Career Readiness

Attendence, getting Saginaw County to jobs that enable families to meet their basic needs, is a key element to United Way's goal of putting nearly 5,000 ALICE or below households on a path to financial independence. United Way's focus on career readiness is aimed at empowering Saginaw County residents to overcome high barriers to reliable employment. United Way funds programs that allow employees transportation to and from work sites (reaching as far as the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth). United Way also understands that mental health and trauma can be barriers to succeding in the workplace. Finally, soft skills are also a critical component to achieving gainful employment.

United Way funded programs addressing Career Readiness

  • Samaritas Community Center, Saginaw – Get To Work
  • Samaritas Community Center, Saginaw – Drive to Succeed
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Great Lakes Bay Region – Alice Academic Success Program
  • First Ward Community Center – The LACER Program
  • Houghton-Jones Neighborhood Task Force – Sis. Lois A Sheffer Enrichment Programs
  • READ Association of Saginaw County – Raising Readers
  • READ Association of Saginaw County – Youth Literacy Mentor Program
  • Saginaw County Business and Education Partnership – Project Transportation
  • Saginaw Youth Protection Council – Teen Parent Services
  • Saginaw Youth Protection Council – Innerlink
  • Child and Family Services of Saginaw – Counseling Center – Mental Health Counseling and Outreach Groups
  • Child and Family Services of Saginaw - Sexual Assault Center Victim Support Services
  • Underground Railroad – Counseling Center
  • YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region – Getting Ahead Program

 

Lack of Financial Capacity

Lack of personal Financial Capacity is the result of three key items: lack of financial literacy, low level of savings and lack of affordable credit, and the potential under-utilization of benefits among qualifying households. United Way is providing Saginaw County residents with the critical support needed to gain financial independence. Through financial literacy education and funding programs that provide an immediate need, United Way is able to assist residents as they plan for the future and balance a tight budget while maximizing their resource utilization. Residents that fall into the ALICE and below classification are often not able to meet their basic needs. By funding local non-profit programs, United Way is able to fight food insecurity, provide free tax services, and lift up dislocated workers when they have a limited income.

United Way funded programs addressing Lack of Financial Capacity

  • Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for  Humanity – Financial Capabilities Program
  • Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity – Home Repairs Program
  • Hidden Harvest – Food Rescue and Redistribution Program

 

Fractured Community Activities

United Way has seen an increase in demand for a hollistic approach to combating Financial Instability. United Way staff dedicate time to sit on committees for events such as Saginaw Community Connect, a one-stop-event that brings together services and items to residents in need, and Light Up the City Saginaw, a summer series of walks through the City of Saginaw designed to create a safer, more connected community while informing residents about local resources. Additionally, United Way fully funds 211 for Saginaw County. 211 is a service directory that allows individuals to interact with trained operators who connect residents to local support. 211 also provides United Way with quarterly reports of the needs that go unmet in the community. United Way is dedicated to advocating for the financial stability for Saginaw County residents by educating our business and non-profit partners through campaign presentations and participaiting on the planning committee for events such as the 2020 ALICE Summit.

 

 

Mismatch Between Available Skilled Jobs and the Requirements

Saginaw County is experiencing a historically low rate of employment and a resurgence in industries that call for skilled labor. Despite the demand, the labor force rate remains reletively low. There is a gap between the needs of employers with more-than-living-wage open positions and adequete adults skill levels. United Way is focused on cultivating an interest in these in-demand fields through the STEM AmeriCorps internal program. 

 

 

United Way Internal Programs

 

 

Imagination Library

United Way is proud to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Saginaw County! Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth to age five. Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write Dolly started her Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county. Today, her program spans four countries and mails over 1 million free books each month to children around the world.

 

 

Emergency Food and Shelter

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is a federally-funded program administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Unlike FEMA's disaster assistance programs authorized under the Stafford Act, EFSP is authorized by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 (PL 100-77).

 

 

 

Project Independence

Project Independence is a volunteer effort coordinated through United Way's Labor Liaison. This program donates free of charge mobility ramps for those in need. All materials, supplies and tools are furnished through grants applied for and received by United Way. Financial management is handled through SVRC Industries, Inc. United Way hosts a blitz build every September in which mobility ramps are assembled throughout the community.

 

 

Youth Service Day

United Way of Saginaw County is dedicated to fostering community pride and volunteerism. United Way partners with the Saginaw Community Foundation and members of the Giving Back Task Force to organize Youth Service Day. High school students from accross Saginaw County come together for one day of volunteering. Students participate in beautification projects and connect with community leaders.

 

 

 

STEM AmeriCorps

The STEM AmeriCorps program (STEM Corps) places 20 AmeriCorps members at sites throughout Saginaw County. STEM Corps members enhance youth skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with the mission to make these subjects more appealing to area youth.

 

 

 

Project HOME

Project HOME (Household Occupancy Maintained Efficiently) utilzes grant dollars for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services. Project HOME continues to be an essential resource in the Saginaw County community for providing short-term emergency assistance with homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing.

 

 

 

VITA Program

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, run through United Way of Saginaw County, provides free income tax preparation to taxpayers who generally earn less than $55,000 a year. IRS-certified volunteers provide quality tax preparation and ensure taxpayers access all tax credits for which they are eligible.

 

 

 

LEXIA Literacy Program

The ability to read at grade-level is essential to the educational success of Saginaw County youth. United Way of Saginaw County has coordinated and aligned services with United Way affiliated programs, faith-based and other community organizations to provide a platform for students to gain reading and writing skills necessary for succeed in school, work and life.