Our Focus Areas
Education, Income, & Health
Education is a cornerstone for success in school, work and life. It also benefits the whole community: high school graduates have higher earning potential, contribute more to their local economies, are more engaged in their communities, and are more likely to raise kids who also graduate and go on to higher education or work.
United Way of Elkhart County had taken the lead role in funding high quality early childhood education in our community. Together with providers, local and state government, and other nonprofits, we have secured millions of dollars of tuition assistance for families in Elkhart County. In addition, United Way fully sponsors three READ UNITED initiatives in our county's public schools: Real Men Read, Reading Camps, and Spring Into Reading (Click here to learn more!). We sponsor anti-bullying, pre and post school educational programs, summer learning opportunities, leadership summits, day services for individuals with special needs, boy scout programs, and Healthy Families services to help educate and serve parents.
Over the past year, United Way of Elkhart County has invested $1,000,000 in quality pre-K education. In 2016, United Way education programs served 14,136 students and individuals in Elkhart County.
We are partnering with schools, childcare providers and businesses to create transformational opportunities to fit "learners" at every age.
We focus on helping families keep the dollars they earn, increasing their access to mainstream financial institutions, creating and building savings, and planning for the future.
United Way's financial empowerment programs include employment readiness programs, money skills and financial literacy classes, an employer-sponsored loan program (an alternative to predatory loans), a residential drug rehab program that offers recovering individuals employment opportunities, pathways to home ownership, and neighborhood development programs. We also fund emergency services for those in desperate need of assistance: helping families keep their heat on during the winter, providing food to the hungry, relief from fires and disasters, and shelter for individuals fleeing violence. Our jobs skills, emergency services, and financial empowerment programs improved the lives of 21,041 individuals in 2016.
"Despite being employed, many individuals and families do not earn enough to afford the five basic household necessities of housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care in Indiana. Even though they are working, their income does not cover the cost of living in the state and they often require public assistance to survive" -2014 ALICE Report
We are researching, creating and implementing new ways for ALICE households to hold on to the money they earn and begin to reach financial stability. Through partnering with banks, businesses and nonprofits we aim to reduce the struggle for ALICE households.
The fear of not being able to afford your diabetes or heart medicine, having a loved one in need of anti-depressant medication or having a child with a disability and feeling alone is unimaginable.
That's why we leverage over $3,320,000 in prescription medicine assistance for the uninsured and underinsured (Click here to learn about FamilyWize Prescription Assistance Program). That's why we help provide transportation access to seniors who need to get to doctors appointments. We provide emotional, spiritual, and practical care for cancer patients and their families.
"Most working famillies have health insurance through their employer, so the issues wasn't 'no insurance'. The issue was the quality of health insurance. The most common feedback was about high premiums and higher deductibles. " -ALICE Point Of View Report 2015
For every $1 given to United Way, over $70 of prescription medication is made available to someone in Elkhart County. LIVING UNITED means when things are scary, when you're feeling hopeless, when you don't know where to turn... you have a community behind you.