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

United Way of Martin County took a major step to make sure children start school ready to learn, graduate more students, lift families and individuals to financial stability and create a healthier community by investing $2,204,848 million in the community in 2018-2019. 
As part of this impact, United Way today announced community impact grant awards for 47 local programs and initiatives totaling $983,042 – a 5 percent increase in these grant awards compared to last year. When you combine this with the amount United Way is investing through donor designations, United Way of Martin County Foundation funding, CHARACTER COUNTS! minigrants and literacy initiatives, and internal programs such as CHARACTER COUNTS! Martin Volunteers and United Way’s White Doves Holiday Project, United Way of Martin County’s total investment in the community is $2,204,848.
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. 
“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.”
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 assistance 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:
  • A challenge grant for Project LIFT Pre-Apprenticeship Certification Program. The Pre-Apprenticeship Program in Carpentry that allows teens access to a career pathway with a livable wage;
  • Helping People Succeed’s Behavioral Services program. This program will provide Parenting classes, support and outreach for special child populations, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Pre- and post- adoptive and foster children, and children with behavior disorders.
  • Martin County School District Getting Ready for Kindergarten program. This is a summer program for children entering kindergarten with suspected below level literacy mastery and Professional Development for VPK teachers at child care centers.
  • Martin County School District Head Start Program. This program will  provide culturally sensitive, low literacy materials that will engage and empower families to make healthy decisions.
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 267 tax returns for Martin County residents. This free tax preparation program brought $298,585 back to residents and into the community through tax refunds while saving $70,000 in tax preparation fees. 
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/fundedprograms.