United Way funds new programs, invests more than $2 million in Martin County

United Way of Martin County took a major step to graduate more students, lift families and individuals to financial stability and create a healthier community by investing over $2 million in the community in 2017-2018.

Each year, United Way raises funds through workplace or community campaigns, grants and corporate partnerships. These funds are invested in programs that assist individuals and families in Martin County who are struggling to meet basic needs in the areas of education, financial stability and health. The organization’s $2.056 million impact makes it the largest non-government funder of social services in Martin County.

“Many people are surprised to learn that 41 percent of our households are either living in or on the edge of poverty,” said United Way of Martin County President/CEO Carol G. Houwaart-Diez. “Our problems may be well hidden, but at United Way we go looking for our community’s most daunting social crises and we find every dollar we can to address them.”

This year, United Way is investing in 50 local programs and initiatives. In education, United Way is investing in programs that increase the quality of preschools available to our kids as well as focus on achieving grade-level reading, and provide the support necessary to see our kids through high school graduation and beyond.

For financial stability, United Way is investing in programs helping individuals and families achieve and maintain financial stability with a focus on workforce development through education, job placement and retention and legal mediation. The goal is to help our community earn it, keep it and save it. United Way is also supporting food and housing programs.

And in the focus area of health, United Way is investing in programs that help our community members prevent trauma, make healthy choices, manage chronic disease and increase access to health care.

United Way invested in a number of new programs this year including:

  • Legal Aid Society, which provides pro bono civil legal assistance to those in Martin County who cannot afford legal representation;
  • Life Builders, which seeks to reduce crime, recidivism, and assist low-income individuals who are progressing through the criminal justice system or dependency court;
  • Little Lights Dentistry Program through Light of the World Charities which provides a dental practice for children ages 1 to 12 years old, including comprehensive treatment plans, fillings, cleanings, as well as educational and nutritional information for both child and caregivers; and
  • Strengthening Families program through CASTLE which is a family skills training program designed to increase resilience and reduce risk factors in high risk 6-17 year old children and their parents.

United Way’s impact goes beyond financial support. Each year the organization helps taxpayers in low-income households keep more of their hard-earned money by providing free tax preparation services. This year, trained volunteers prepared 372 tax returns for Martin County residents. This free tax preparation program brought $435,282 back to residents and into the community through tax refunds while saving $100,000 in tax preparation fees. The average household income of the clients served was $22,950.

United Way’s passionate and hardworking volunteer network also drives meaningful impact in the community. Through United Way of Martin County’s volunteer center, Martin Volunteers, more than 1,200  volunteers devoted nearly 100,000 reported hours in service to nonprofit and public agencies, providing an estimated dollar value of $2.24 million for their volunteer time.

To learn more about United Way of Martin County and to view a full list of funded programs, visit www.UnitedWayMartin.org.

Photo Caption

Carol G. Houwaart-Diez with United Way of Martin County presents a check to Chad Hastings, Jane Cornett and Maxine Noel.

About United Way of Martin County

United Way of Martin County’s mission is to lift the community and change lives together through the collective power of advancing the common good. Since 1972, the United Way has been working to create long-term social change and provide support to Martin County residents by investing in programs that strive to: enhance healthy living, improve education, and support financial stability.