The difference YOUR gifts to United Way have made.
The Dream: A stronger, more vibrant Omaha-Council Bluffs metro.
YOU share this dream. You know that when more people get the opportunity to GROW and THRIVE, our community will be better off.
But dreams don’t become reality without hard work – and teamwork. In 2015, we set our 2025 goals to guide how we would invest and measure progress over the next ten years, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to reach them alone.
So we asked for your help. And without fail, you answered the call.
Because of you, we’ve made great progress toward our goals and our community is stronger. We’re excited to share our results with you within this report, as well as the learnings we will be utilizing as we move forward.
MEET SARAH AND JOEY:
You helped more than 246,053 people in the past year by donating to United Way of the Midlands.
Sarah and her son Joey are two of them.
When Joey was in first grade, he missed 24 days of school. He was struggling through group activities and lacked friendships. For Sarah, parenting Joey felt overwhelming, especially while she was receiving treatment for a mental illness and navigating a stressful move.
That’s when Joey was referred to the SAFE program, a collaborative, United Way donor-funded effort between Omaha Public Schools, Millard Public Schools, Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare and Child Saving Institute.
Grace, a SAFE family support specialist, began visiting Sarah and Joey. With Grace’s support, Sarah began to feel more confident as a parent and Joey began to feel more comfortable discussing his feelings. Sarah started laughing more and planning family outings, and Joey began to set goals for himself and learn social skills.
Now, Sarah feels capable of coping with stress and is spending one-on-one time with each of her children. Joey gets to school almost every day, is the leader of his soccer team, enjoys reading and archery and will be in the accelerated STEM program in third grade.
“Growth mindset is when you believe in yourself.” –Joey, 2nd grade.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Our 2019 Community Assessment
As we work toward our goals, we remain as committed as ever to maximizing the impact of your dollars. We want to ensure they are funding programs that address the most pressing needs in our community – and the needs that are going unseen or unmet.
It’s been five years since UWM’s last inventory of community needs, so we knew it was time to reaffirm our understanding of the issues affecting people in the metro. In partnership with Mutual of Omaha and the Omaha Community Foundation, we conducted a mixed methods study that identified community priorities and ultimately validated our areas of investment.
WHAT WE FOUND
1. Working families are struggling to meet their basic needs.
Even when families are earning as much as $62,000 annually, they are still struggling to obtain food, healthcare, housing and more.
United Way invests in nonprofit programs that meet families’ basic needs so children are more likely to stay on track in school and adults are more likely to be productive at work.
2. Informal support is critical.
100% of the people interviewed in our study said their informal support network has a direct effect on the stability of their lives.
But according to the Community Health Needs Assessment (2018), less than 70% of individuals living in poverty have someone they can turn to when they’re facing one or more life challenges.
This makes the support provided by United Way donor-funded programs more important than ever – people need somewhere to turn when they’re experiencing hardship.
3. Families have multiple, interconnected needs.
We know that someone who needs food might also struggle with physical and mental health, job stability and more.
It’s hard for one company or one nonprofit to address all the challenges these families are facing. That’s why we invest your dollars into basic needs, education and financial stability programs. Together, these programs form a circle of support that addresses the many barriers families encounter and helps them start down a path to independence and stability.
United Way works to foster an integrated and coordinated circle of support to help individuals and families attain their full potential.
OUR FOUR-YEAR PROGRESS: Your support made it possible to deliver 4.5 million services–including access to healthy meals, safe and stable housing, physical and mental health services, domestic violence services and referrals– to people living in or at-risk of poverty.
IN 2019, THANKS TO YOUR INVESTMENTS:
7,965 people improved their behavioral or physical health because they received 63,362 services.
3,091 families with young children received 4,615 family support services to help set them up for success from the start.
1,742,073 meals were served to people in need.
5,923 survivors of domestic violence were provided 18,580 nights in a shelter or other services to help them move forward.
6,484 people received 247,621 emergency shelter and transitional housing services, such as referrals or nights in a shelter.
76 partners came together to create Healthy Food for All, a food plan to reduce the number of people who do not know where their next meal will come from. United Way of the Midlands served as a neutral facilitator.
The 2-1-1 Helpline has responded to 57,692 calls, texts or emails from people in need. 31,821 people received information about available services and resources in our community through the 2-1-1 Helpline website. 62,028 people received referrals to services that could help them in their time of need through the 2-1-1 Helpline.
More than 6,000 individuals in Nebraska and Iowa were able to access food, shelter and other disaster recovery supports following the devastating spring floods. That’s thanks to donors who contributed $1.1 million to our Nebraska and Iowa Flood Relief Fund!
Our 2-1-1 Helpline is a free, comprehensive information and referral system linking Nebraska and southwest Iowa residents to health and human services, community and disaster response and government programs. With the support from Senator Mike McDonnell, the Nebraska legislature unanimously passed state bill LB641, ensuring the Helpline will receive $300,000 in state funding annually.
Thanks to our new 2-1-1 funding, we are now able to operate the helpline 24/7.
Through our partnership with the Combined Health Agencies Drive (CHAD), health charities received funding to conduct innovative research, provide critical client services and offer education and prevention programs to members in our community.
United Way invests in wraparound supports to ensure our local children come to school prepared to learn the academic and essential skills needed to succeed.
OUR FOUR-YEAR PROGRESS: Your support has played a role in ensuring 88,390 students could access education supports like mentoring, out-of-school time programs and early childhood education programs so they are on track to succeed in school and life.
IN 2019, THANKS TO YOUR INVESTMENTS:
79% of students enrolled in UWM-funded programs reached development goals and milestones. 2,138 kids were matched with a qualified and caring mentor.
15,044 students received academic, mentor, attendance and other related supports.
Out-of-school-time providers received evaluation support, ensuring 7,400 youth had quality experiences.
In conjunction with Metropolitan Omaha Educational Consortium (MOEC), and The Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, we are supporting the local Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, known as “Raise Me to Read.” The Omaha metro is the first community in Nebraska to join the Campaign, a collaborative effort to improve reading proficiency and early school success for children.
A partnership with the Siemer Institute and Family Housing Advisory Services made it possible for 169 children to remain at their school rather than suffer a disruptive move.
A partnership with the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and local school districts allowed 1,257 families to attend the zoo free of cost and participate in enrichment opportunities.
With support from Emerging Leaders, we provided 134,602 books to students.
United Way invests to improve the financial stability of local residents. We support the development of essential interpersonal, academic and technical skills so people can gain and sustain a living wage job and maximize the positive impact of their work.
OUR FOUR-YEAR PROGRESS: Your support has played a role in ensuring 57,988 people in our community could access job training, personal finance classes and post-secondary education so they could become more financially stable.
IN 2019, THANKS TO YOUR INVESTMENTS:
8,467 people learned how to better manage their income and grow their financial assets. Tax-assistance programs were able to put $9.5 million back into community members’ pockets.
4,659 people received supports on the path to employment.
895 people served by UWM-funded financial stability programs obtained a better job.
699 Opportunity Youth – 16-24 year-olds who are disconnected from school or work–received supports through the Opportunity Youth HUB. Housed at the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, the HUB helps youth navigate and access supports provided by more than 50 nonprofit partners. Opportunity Youth is proudly supported by Women United.
Our partnership with the Omaha Federation of Labor promoted skilled trade careers, helping people secure meaningful jobs and support themselves and their families.