United Way of Pennsylvania          


UWP Update - December 20, 2019
Happy holidays from the UWP and PA 211 team! We will resume publication of the UWP Update on Friday, January 17. 
UWP and PA 211 weigh in as DHS continues preparation for a procurement of a statewide resource and referral tool

In November, the PA Department of Human Services released a second Request for Information leading up to a potential procurement for a statewide resource and referral tool. Members may recall that United Way of Pennsylvania and PA 211 weighed in early in 2019 and outlined how a partnership between PA 211 and Unite Us could serve DHS objectives. An internal workgroup of DHS staff has been working on a potential RFP document, and DHS opened the draft for another public comment period. 

UWP and PA 211 noted several important things for DHS to consider, including: 
  • Specificity about populations to be served - some hospitals and health systems have already acquired a solution for a piece of what would be offered in the R and R tool. For example, is it a purchase for the Medicaid-eligible population, or all Pennsylvanians? 
  • Less prescriptive requirements for some facets of the procurement - such as focusing on core functions to achieve rather than setting expectations about how those functions will be aligned across staff positions. 
  • Require demonstration of a plan and experience for each offeror to deploy training which results in broad adoption. 
  • Allow an opportunity for offerors to leverage local organizations with proven experience building community networks, including United Ways. 
  • Recommendations for building and maintaining a comprehensive resource database within the resource referral tool, including partnership with existing data partners such as PA 211. 
The full comments can be viewed here
Join the effort to achieve an accurate Census count for PA

Did you miss our 2020 Census Resources Webinar? No problem! We recorded the whole thing and you can feel free to watch it on demand! We've also uploaded the presentation with our notes: 
Here are the highlights of our Census 2020 presentation: 
  • United Way of Pennsylvania recognizes how vital an accurate count is for the state. Under-counting our population could lead to substantial loss in federal funding, a loss of legislative representation, and an incomplete picture of our community's needs. 
  • The 2020 Census will ask the same exact questions as the 2010 census. There will not be a citizenship question, but the census will ask about race, ethnicity, and gender. There is broad concern that the discussion of adding a citizenship question will make certain segments of the hard-to-count population more wary of answering the census.
  • Individual census responses are kept confidential for 72 years. The census can only be used to produce statistics before then. Census workers take an oath to maintain data confidentiality and security for life and can be sentenced to five years of prison and a heavy fine for misconduct.  
  • This is the first time that the census will be able to be completed online. People will receive a postcard beginning in March with a code that can be used online. People can also choose to complete the census via mail or phone. 
  • People can respond to the census as soon as they receive their invitation. People who do not respond will be counted in-person by census workers during follow-up. 
  • We are asking United Ways to join in the push for an accurate count by working to educate their supporters, volunteers, and partners. United Way of Pennsylvania has prepared two different versions of a toolkit that includes brochures, flyers, translated material, social media posts, and general census information. 
  • The state of Pennsylvania will also be launching a marketing campaign to support the census with resources for partners. You can find the campaign at pa.gov/census. UWP is exploring opportunities to partner our PACounts texting campaign with the commonwealth's marketing campaign. 
UWP and PA Public Television help 13 LUWs and 7 public media stations obtain First Book grant

Over the last couple of months, participating LUWs, UWP, and PA Public Television have been busy preparing application materials to get new books and ebooks into the hands of children in low-income districts across the state. Last week, it was announced that $170,000 would be awarded to our joint project, in which 13 LUWs participated. First Book granted these funds as part of its OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation, a program that has more than $4.7 million slated to go toward books for the children that need them most.

The thirteen United Ways who receive book credits for their communities are Capital Region, Carlisle and Cumberland County, Erie, Greater Susquehanna Valley, Indiana, Laurel Highlands, Lycoming, Mifflin/Juniata, Lancaster, Pocono Mountains, Susquehanna County, Wyoming Valley, and York. Public television partners are WITF, WHYY, WVIA, WLVT, WPSU, WQED and WQLN. 

With these valuable resources, LUWs will be able to support proven local strategies that improve educational outcomes for children in low-income communities. First Book believes that education offers children in need the best path out of poverty, so this project is sure to have meaningful impact on communities across the state. If you would like to learn more about First Book, please visit firstbook.org.
Federal budget deal reached for FY20, including big wins for United Ways

Today, the President is expected to sign a set of spending bills that would increase funding in FY 2020 through September 30. In the wake of a government shutdown, a $1.4 trillion spending agreement has been approved by the Senate and House and includes many wins for UWP and the entire United Way network.
Some of the highlights include an increase of $550 million to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) that is estimated to serve an additional 33,600 children across the U.S. Head Start and Early Head Start will also receive a $550 million increase in funding, which will be allocated toward quality improvement, including trauma informed care support, a cost of living adjustment of approximately 2 percent, and expansion for Early Head Start and partnerships. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will gain an increase of 7 million in funding, taking that line-item to $25 million for 2020 and allowing more hardworking families access free high-quality tax preparation and filling services.
Other increases include funding for Corporation for National and Community Service, including increases for AmeriCorps-both State and National, and VISTA. An increase for Emergency Food and Shelter Programs is also included.
A repeal of the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) is in the agreement and a big win for United Way. As many of you may recall, this tax was included in the tax bill of 2017 and required nonprofits to pay tax on employee benefits, such as parking spaces. Steve Taylor, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for United Way Worldwide, was quoted on the win for the network which you can access here.
If you have any questions about the spending bill, please contact Maggie.
Upcoming changes to clearances for employees having contact with children 

Starting January 1, 2020, all employees having contact with children as part of their job will be required to obtain criminal background checks and the PA Child Abuse History Clearance prior to beginning employment. Organizations will no longer be able to hire employees who have contact with children on a provisional basis, however, a waiver can be requested to hire a provisional employee for no more than 45 days. Such employees may not work alone with children until clearances are received.


This strengthening of the Child Protective Services Law has been put in place by the Wolf Administration as part of an effort to protect vulnerable populations, such as children, who receive care outside of their homes. DHS is required to process PA Child Abuse History Clearances within 14 days, and the FBI completes background checks within 30 days, so consider these timelines when making any new hires at your United Way who will have contact with children. Please spread the word to your partner organizations in your communities.

To learn more about obtaining clearances, visit keepkidssafe.pa.govProvisional waivers will also be available on this site in the near future.     
FCC proposes making 988 a national suicide-prevention hotline number

The U.S. suicide rate rose by 33% from 1999-2017, with 47,000 Americans dying by suicide in 2017. In an effort to combat this trend, the FCC has proposed that 988 be designated a national suicide-prevention hotline number, that people can call in moments of mental health crisis. Such a service already exists, but the number, 1-800-273-TALK, is harder to remember than a 3-digit number.

The FCC predicts that the 988 designation will lead to even more calls than the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline service already fields. If the demand becomes more than Lifeline can handle, Congress may have to appropriate more funds to support their work. To learn more about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Welcome UWP's Advocacy Engagement Coordinator Rebecca O'Shea

Rebecca O'Shea has joined United Way of Pennsylvania as our new Advocacy and Engagement Coordinator. Prior to joining United Way of Pennsylvania, Rebecca spent her senior year of university researching and working in policy and advocacy with the Antiracism Research and Policy Center in Washington D.C.. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology from American University, She brought her career back to her home state of Pennsylvania to work as a Member Organizer for the Pennsylvania State Educators Association. There she worked with Pennsylvanians to promote public education policy through advocacy and engagement campaigns.
Rebecca is excited to bring her research and policy experience to United Way of Pennsylvania. She looks forward to the many initiatives United Way of PA has underway and the future of advocacy United Way seeks to achieve.

You can reach Rebecca by email at roshea@uwp.org. 

New UWP Board members begin their terms

At the December 19 UWP Board meeting, we welcomed the following new board members:

  • Lynda Culver, PA Representative District 108 
  • Allen Norton, Workforce Development Executive, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
  • Lynette Praster, Department of Community and Economic Development
  • Judy Schwank, PA Senator District 11

Chief Professional Officers:
  • Marissa Christie, President and CEO of UW of Bucks County
  • Ron Frick, President and CEO of Lycoming County United Way
  • Adrienne Mael, Executive Director of United Way of Columbia and Montour
  • Melanie Shildt, Executive Director of United Way of Blair County
In addition, the Board recognized the following outgoing members who completed their terms of service: Teresa Donate, Gary Drapek, Tammy Gentzel, Don Shade and Gayle Young.
UWW Membership Certification Form for 2020 - New/Updated Questions

United Way Worldwide has published the annual Membership Certification Form for 2020. As in past years, this form will be completed by leadership at local United Ways and submitted via DocuSign. The form is a mix of questions that are required, measuring compliance with UWW's Membership Requirements, and questions that are optional, measuring adherence to UWW's accepted best practices. The following questions have been added or updated. Questions that are optional are marked with an asterisk: 
  • Has your United Way established a donor and data privacy policy?
  • In the past 12 months, has your United Way experienced an incident that was deemed to be a data breach?
  • Does your staff and board possess an emergent understanding of the race disparities that exist among the populations in your community?*
  • Has your United Way established a tip line for the reporting of concerns (e.g., ethical breaches, malfeasance)?
  • How much does your United Way have in operating reserves, per the most recently audited or reviewed financial statements?   
  • How many months of expenses does your United Way's operating reserves represent?
To learn more about the new and updated questions, please visit United Way Online
UWP Training Opportunities in the New Year

PA 211 Counts Demo Webinar
Tuesday January 14, 2020
Each year, 16 million people in the United States dial 2-1-1 for help with basic needs like food and shelter or emergency services. 2-1-1 Counts is the first tool to provide real-time, searchable and visual presentations of data from 2-1-1 call centers across the nation. Using 2-1-1 Counts, you'll find a snapshot of community-specific needs displayed by ZIP code, region or call center as recently as yesterday, enabling you to easily check trends, make comparisons and share information. 2-1-1 Counts works with your local 2-1-1 to share this information with community leaders and service agencies.
UWP and PA 211 are thrilled to bring 211 Counts to Pennsylvania. Join us for our first look at the PA 211 Counts dashboard and learn about 211 Counts!

ALICEĀ® Learning Community Workgroup
Tuesday January 21, 2020
This opportunity is for our ALICE Committed United Ways to come together to discuss ALICE initiatives across the state. For the time being, the ALICE Workgroup will be focused on both Community Impact and Resource Development/Marketing. Notes from the Workgroup will be shared with all participants and the ALICE Learning Community.
The meeting will be held via Zoom with a conference call option.
A detailed agenda will be sent to participants the week before the call. Participants will have the opportunity to add items to the agenda.

Kicking Off the Global Results Framework in PA
Wednesday January 22, 2020
For the last three years, United Way has been measuring results more effectively and efficiently than ever before, providing a clearer snapshot of the lasting change we're driving worldwide. It's called The Global Results Framework.
It's a compelling way to show our impact across communities, demonstrating our progress against some of society's toughest problems. The results represent 291 United Ways - including 37 outside the U.S. - reporting common indicators across four global impact priorities - childhood success, youth success, economic mobility, access to health - and a snapshot of our community engagement work. All of this rolls up to a global impact snapshot.
UWP wants every PA United Way to have the opportunity to take advantage of the GRF. Join us to learn about the process, how it can help the PA network, and the incentives we can give to GRF United Ways

ALICE Learning Community ALICE Advocacy Webinar
Tuesday February 4, 2020

Register Here
Join us to to go over our plans for ALICE Advocacy, the ALICE Legislative Agenda, and potential asks that will be the focus of upcoming legislative sessions.

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