United Way of Pennsylvania          


UWP Update - August 30, 2019
Lycoming County United Way & United Way  of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee staff at the Little League World Series. From left to right: Brittany Fischer, Melyssa McHale, Jeannine Joy, & Corrinne Stammel-Demmien 
Living United through the Little League World Series

The Lycoming County United Way, located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is no stranger to the chaotic summer season, known as "Little League" time. For nearly 75 years, Little League baseball teams from around the world have come to South Williamsport to compete in the Little League World Series (LLWS). For two weeks, the region becomes the showcase for community, competition and collaboration with a focus on the simplicity of youth baseball. 

The United Way staff found themselves completely immersed in the fun and excitement that this years' series brought to our community. With President and CEO, Ron Frick, entering his 17th year as team host or "Uncle" for the LLWS, the staff got to enjoy some up close and personal encounters during game time. From an unplanned meeting with President and CEO, Jeannine Joy of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee in Florida, whose husband John was a LLWS umpire, to the exchanging of stadium seats with Brooke Smith, newly appointed CEO for United Way of Lebanon County, the staff was overjoyed with the United Way presence all over the community and at the LLWS complex. Former Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way staffer, current Early Learning Investment Commission staffer Sara Lauver even sang the national anthem at the championship game!
A favorite pastime for many who visit the LLWS, either annually or as a first time visitor, is collector pin trading. There are loads of pins designed for trading and collecting. Pins specific for each team, pins from umpires, and the largest of the trading, are pins fro m local businesses and organizations. The Lycoming County United Way has created a pin for the past two years and has seen great success when selling at trading events. 

The LCUW still has pins remaining for sale and because they are not specific to the Lycoming County United Way, they make great keepsakes or gifts for staff and board members or to give away in your communities. Pins from 2019 are $5 and 2018 are $3. If you have interest in making a purchase, email Melanie Scaife, Business Manager, at  mscaife@lcuw.org.
U.S. 2020 Census Update: It's safe. It's easy. It's important. 

The 2020 Census is gearing up to begin in the early months of next year. If your United Way isn't yet involved in ensuring a complete count of your community, there is still time to prepare and partner with the U.S. Census!

Each year the federal government distributes over $675 billion dollars to states based on Census bureau data. This also helps in determining how many representatives each state receives in congress and redistricting for legislators. 

There are three ways to respond to the Census: 
  1. Online using a secure, easy form translated into different languages
  2. Via a 1-800 telephone number with bi-lingual options
  3. Via a hard-copy mail form 
Households will receive six notices via postcard starting in March for most places. We need your help encouraging traditionally undercounted populations to respond. To see ways you can help, you can do the following things:
  • Find and join a Complete Count Committee in your area by using this online map
  • Start your own Complete Count Committee for your community by reaching out to Jeffrey Connelly at the Philadelphia Regional Census Center
  • Encourage your following to respond to the census via newsletter, social media, and direct outreach to your partner agencies. 
The Census for Pennsylvania is an important measure of the need in our communities and represents the data point by which Federal funds for vital programs are distributed. For PA, an undercount can mean a loss of over $2,000 in federal funding per individual, resulting in a loss of approx. $35 million in federal funding, a substantial impact to our state budget. Further, Census counts also dictate the level of certain grants available for communities which can impact already funded programs or the potential for future grant money. Additionally, PA is predicted to lose one House of Representatives seat, taking the number down to 17 Representatives. This can have great impacts on the work we are doing in our communities and our effectiveness in ensuring policies are representative of the needs faced by Pennsylvanians. 

UWP will be promoting the Census throughout the next 12 months and encourage you to echo those messages across all your channels. We are hopeful through various partnerships, resources will be secured to help our local network ensure your communities, especially the hard-to-count populations, are aware of the impacts that can occur in an undercount and the process for filling out a Census. PA 2-1-1 will be a strong partner in helping to disseminate information via SMS message to those individuals who have opted in to our service. We will be sharing resources and information as it becomes available. 

For any questions around how your community can become more involved, please reach out to Maggie or Amanda
Speak up on proposed SNAP rule that impacts seniors, children and people with disabilities 
The USDA proposed rule changes to SNAP's Broad-based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) would limit access to benefits for households with savings and other assets. Current rules give states latitude to raise SNAP income eligibility limits so that low-income families with housing and childcare costs, which consume a sizable share of their income, can continue to receive help affording adequate food. This option allows states to adopt less restrictive asset tests so that families, seniors and people with disabilities can have modest savings or own their own home without losing SNAP benefits. A brief with more details can be found here. USDA estimates over 3 million Americans would lose SNAP benefits and over 500,000 children will lose eligibility for free school lunch programs with this rule change.

Protecting and promoting a robust SNAP program has been a priority issue at United Way.  UWW and UWP encourage local United Ways to participate in the federal comment period with their own letter to make the power of our collective voice heard. 

If you are interested in submitting a comment, please use this template as a guide, which can be customized. You can submit your final comments here on the Federal Register. The federal comment period is open until September 23. To help support your advocacy, please visit our members only section here for SNAP Messaging, a SNAP Eligibility white paper, as well as UWW's comment letter. We also encourage you to reach out to your community partners to encourage them to submit a comment. UWP will also be submitting comments, which will be shared on the members' only site. 

As a reminder- Community Legal Services and the Coalition Against Hunger are hosting a webinar to discuss the proposed changes, how they will impact Pennsylvanians, and how you can submit a comment opposing the proposed rule. The webinar will take place on Thursday, September 5th at 11a.m. You can register here

UWP awards six local United Ways with Land O' Lakes Foundation Grant

Since 2010, UWP has served as the fiscal agent for an annual Land O' Lakes Foundation grant that is part of the Mid-Atlantic Grants Program. The goal of the program is to improve quality of life in PA by supporting valuable projects and charitable endeavors in local communities. This grant was awarded as part of Land O' Lakes' East Coast Hunger Initiative, which focuses specifically on addressing hunger or food needs.

This year, the subgrantees for this $10,000 total project were:
  • United Way of the Capital Region
  • United Way of Chester County
  • United Way of Lawrence County
  • United Way of Mercer County
  • Pocono Mountains United Way
  • United Way of Wyoming Valley
UWP will collect reporting information from the subgrantees, and submit it to the Land O' Lakes Foundation as part of the grant agreement. We are looking forward to seeing the projects that these LUWs sponsor this year, to support the hunger needs in their communities! During the ten years that UWP has been administering the Land O' Lakes Foundation grant, over $135,000 has gone to assist 55 PA LUWs in their mission.

Upcoming training opportunities for PA United Ways

UWP End-of-Year Fundraising Strategies
On-Demand (Recorded December 2018) 
View Here
Do you want to know how United Ways in Pennsylvania fared during #GivingTuesday last year? Our webinar gives a brief overview of statistics plus goes over what the most successful United Ways did to encourage #GivingTuesday. You can watch this webinar on-demand at your convenience (and even skip to the good parts!) 

United Way Worldwide September Marketing/Communications Webinar #GivingTuesday Micro-Influencer Marketing
September 4 2:00PM 
Register Here
UWW will offer a preview of their plans for #GivingTuesday and the assets they'll be sharing in mid-September. They'll also want to hear about your experience and plans. The second topic will focus on micro-influencer marketing, one of the fastest growing trends for brands. Micro-influencers can help you reach untapped audiences with authentic peer-to-peer engagement. After 3pm, they'll discuss plans for 2020.

Unemployment 101 Presented by PANO
September 10 10:00AM
Attend this FREE webinar sponsored by PANO and learn what over 2,000 nonprofits have learned:
  • How to reduce unemployment costs by 31% in 2020
  • The benefits of being in an unemployment program vs. paying state unemployment insurance (SUI) taxes
  • Helpful tips and information on winning your unemployment claims
UWP ALICE Learning Community Presents: Employee Resource Networks
October 21 1:00PM

Register Here
This webinar is exclusively for our ALICE Committed United Ways! Join the ALICE Learning Community to learn about Employer Resource Network ┬« .

The Employer Resource Network (ERN) model is an innovative approach to workforce development that was initiated in West Michigan in 2008.  Since then, ERNs have grown to 27 Area Networks and 11 Lead Organizations in Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

ERNs pull together job retention services, work supports, education and training. While the focus is on entry-level and low wage employees, the services are available to all who work for ERN member companies .
ERNs work with leaders and apply the principles of disruptive innovation to create lasting change. Employer Resource Networks are employer-based, with the Employer as an investor, not a just customer. Networks usually include six to ten small-to mid-sized companies interested in forming a network to create economies of scale in accessing resources that benefit employees and by extension  their own bottom lines.

Because the target employees may be receiving or eligible for public assistance, ERNs also include strong partnerships with community service providers such as social service agencies, workforce development groups, chambers of commerce and economic development groups and community and technical colleges or other training institutions.

Join Pocono Mountain United Way's Sarah Jacobi and James Vander Hulst from ERN USA to learn about their journey bringing the ERN model to their community!
Washington Congressional visits

UWP is organizing a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with newly elected Congressional members and highlight some policy priorities important to our network. The visits will take place September 17th. If you are interested in joining, please contact Maggie for more information. The congressional members we will be prioritizing meetings with include:
  • Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, (D-H6) - Meeting scheduled for 1pm 
  • Rep. John Joyce, (R-H13)
  • Rep. Conor Lamb, (D-H17)
  • Rep. Dan Meuser (R-H9)
  • Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-H5)-Meeting scheduled for 12:30pm
  • Rep. Susan Wild (D-H7)- Meeting scheduled for 12:00pm
  • Rep. Fred Keller (R-H12)
  • Rep. Glenn Thomspon (R-H15)-Meeting scheduled for 2:30pm
  • Sen. Bob Casey Jr.- Meeting scheduled for 11am
  • Sen. Pat Toomey
The issues we will be discussing include our recently released ALICE┬« Report, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and federal child care funding. 
New PHEAA student loan program for PA students

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is offering a new student loan program which seeks to make borrower-friendly private loans to PA students at competitively low rates and with "superior" repayment benefits. It is called the PA Forward Student Loan Program. Later this year, PHEAA also expects to launch a PA Forward Refinance Loan which will allow all of a borrower's federal and private loans to be combined for one easy payment. 

According to PHEAA, first year federal loan borrowing limits are as low as $5500, but the average cost of tuition to attend college in PA is almost $44,000. PHEAA is the lender and loan-servicer. for the PA Forward loan program. Borrowers receive an interest rate reduction upon successful graduation, as well as for automatic payment by debit. Students can learn more or apply here

A calculator tool is also available here to help students and prospective students under the costs and debt payoff options for a variety of post-secondary credentials.  

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