United Way of Pennsylvania          


UWP Update - December 6, 2019
The new, dual logo for PA 211

PA 211 will become a subsidiary of United Way of Pennsylvania on January 1, 2020

Since the fall of 2018, the leadership of United Way of Pennsylvania and PA 211, Inc., have been negotiating a merger of the two organizations. As of January 1, 2020, PA 211 will become a sole-member subsidiary of UWP, and will retain its own 501(c)(3) designation. This is a big step to formalize a strengthening of the relationship which has already been happening for several years. 

UWP's board will retain certain reserve powers to approve budgets and strategic plans for PA 211, but the PA 211 board will be lead on strategy to support the viability of the 211 network, and to increase quality and consistency of the 211 service across PA. 

The members of the new board were determined by a nominating committee which was negotiated in an affiliation agreement that took effect in 2019. When the new board is seated in January, they will elect their officers. A slate of officers has been prepared by the nominating committee. The new PA 211 board will also vote to adopt the bylaws which have already been agreed to by both UWP and PA 211's existing boards. 

As we make this transition, we would like to note the departure of two significant supporters and leaders for PA 211. Donna Gority and Nancy Kukovich will be retiring from the PA 211 board. Both have spent many years supporting the growth of PA 211, and we are grateful for their leadership. Nancy has chaired the PA 211 board since the organization was created. She was recognized with a special gift at her last board meeting in December. 
Save the Date for important Pennsylvania United Way events in 2020!  
Every year, UWP and PA 211 come together with our local United Ways and community partners to celebrate the importance of PA 211. These year, we will be launching 211 Counts, joining 27 other states currently participating.  Please see our website for event details as they occur!

Hill Day 2020: April 6-7th, 2020
Save the date for Hill Day 2020! This year we're thrilled to be including our local United Ways across the state and their key local volunteers to make positive change happen for every Pennsylvanian in every community! Stay tuned to our website for event registration and details!

UWP 2020 Annual Conference: June 3rd-5th, 2020
United Ways across Pennsylvania are uniquely placed to collaborate with each other and their communities to create substantial, sustainable change that improves the lives of every Pennsylvanian. The 2020 Conference will focus on the role United Way plays as a community collaborator and how to make the most of our proprietary strengths! Join us at the Eden Resort and Suites in Lancaster, PA and stay tuned to our website for more details! 

UWW Advocacy Forum and Capitol Hill Day: June 15-18, 2020 
The Advocacy Forum is UWW's signature training that provides the opportunity for United Way leaders to hear from experts in Washington, DC and connect with network colleagues on how we can collectively fight for the communities we serve. More details and a tentative agenda will be available in the coming months, but mark your calendars now. The event will kick off in the afternoon on Monday, June 15 with an optional bootcamp for new advocates. The Advocacy Forum will be held on June 16-17, followed by Capitol Hill Day on Thursday, June 18.   

ALICE 2020 Refresh Report: December 2020 
UWP's Board has approved the continuation of the ALICE Report with a data refresh that will be released in December 2020. This refresh will include 2018 data and will align Pennsylvania with the other state reports, so we are in sync when releasing new data. Further, this refresh will include the option to purchase additional data and enhancements to the current report, including map overlays and other indicators. An opportunity to view these enhancements will be offered soon - more information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. For any questions, please contact Maggie.  
Federal universal charitable deduction legislation introduced as data shows YTD giving is down in 2019

In 2018, U.S. individual charitable giving fell by about 3%, and it appears that trend will continue in 2019. Although it's too early to report on comprehensive 2019 figures, fundraising revenue for over 4,000 organizations was down 7% in the first half of the year, compared to the same period for 2018. 

Anecdotally, many United Ways seem to be down a bit this year. As United Way donors come from across the income spectrum, what's going on in our network is a good representation of the state of U.S. charitable giving as a whole.

One of the reasons for the recent drop in giving is related to the 2017 tax reform, which removed a crucial incentive for charitable contributions. The standard deduction for both single people and couples almost doubled, meaning that most filers no longer have to itemize their deductions, including charitable contributions.

United Way Worldwide and members of the network have actively engaged in charitable giving conversations, from both an advocacy perspective and a community impact perspective. If giving trends continue to decline, there are less resources to address the critical mission that each United Way works hard to carry out. In fact, a bill was intruded this week by U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) to incentivize charitable giving for low and middle-income individuals and families. 

The Universal Charitable Giving Act establishes a universal charitable deduction for individuals and married couples who do not itemize, in addition to the standard deduction. The deduction would be above-the-line and up to one-third of the new standard deduction, which is approx. $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married couples.  

UWW's Senior Vice President and Counsel of Public Policy, Steve Taylor, was quoted in  Representative Walker's press release, stating,  "Congressman Walker's legislation could reverse troubling giving trends by empowering more donors to increase their donations to their church or charity of choice. A universal (nonitemizer) deduction would allow donors to give to those in need without having to pay taxes on income they have donated.  While we know Americans give for altruistic reasons, good tax policy will allow people to give more." 

This legislation has support from a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Representative Walker also introduced this same legislation in the 115th Congress, where it had bipartisan support. While it is unlikely this legislation will move freely, there is a  potential for this language to be included in other tax proposals and vehicles. UWW and UWP will continue to monitor the bill and keep members updated. 
Trump Administration moves forward with changes to SNAP work requirements

The  Trump Administration announced its plans to bring changes to the SNAP program, beginning in April 2020. The new rule is slated to impact nearly 700,000 current SNAP recipients, including 78,000 from Pennsylvania. 

Essentially, the rule would make it more difficult for states to receive waivers that give them the flexibility to waive work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries in areas where there are high unemployment rates. Effective April 1, this new SNAP rule will require able-bodied adults under 50 years of age and without children or other dependents, to work, be in job training, or participating in volunteer opportunities, for at least 80 hours per month. If the individual fails to meet these requirements, they will be limited to three months of SNAP over a three-year period. 

The change is expected to save the federal government roughly $5.5 billion over five years. While the government is touting this change as a decision to bring the original intent of the program, which is to encourage work and supplement with food aid during rough times, many groups, including Gov. Wolf, have deemed this move tragic for a significant number of beneficiaries. Opponents of the rule shed light on the barriers many recipients face when trying to enter into the workforce, such as low education, lack of skills, a criminal history, or an undiagnosed disability. Further, many able-bodied recipients find it difficult to work enough hours, with many jobs being seasonal or temporary. 

In his comments on the proposal, Wolf states "Despite so much wealth in America, too many of our citizens are struggling to make ends meet and even put food on the table. Food insecurity is a crisis in our country. Today's decision will simply hurt those already suffering. We can be smarter about government spending without hurting our most vulnerable residents. We can invest in programs that remove barriers to family-sustaining jobs and make it possible for low-income Americans to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. But this is not that. Instead, this will only make life more difficult for low-income people and place greater constraints on state budgets." You can read Wolf's full press release on the rule change here

UWP did submit comments on this proposed rule and will carefully follow the developments between now and April. Court challenges to avoid implementation of the rule are likely, but in the meantime, communities should be aware of the change coming and think strategically about what it will mean for beneficiaries in the area. We will continue to update membership as more information becomes available on this rule and its repercussions for Pennsylvanians. 
PA Department of Human Services releases 3-year strategic plan 

Shortly before the holiday break, Pennsylvania's Dept. of Human Services released their strategic plan, which will guide the agency's focus over the last three years of the Wolf Administration. As many of you know, DHS is an instrumental agency in much of the work United Ways are doing across the state. We work closely with their staff on a variety of issues, including PA 211 and child care. While this strategic plan does not encompass everything DHS is working on, and will be fluid in terms of adjustments along the way, it does give insight into the Administration's priories around human services over the next several years. 
The goals specifically addressed in the plan include:
  • Providing every child with a strong foundation for physical and behavioral well-being; 
  • Bending the heath care cost curve; 
  • Enhancing access to health care and social services that help Pennsylvanians lead healthy, productive lives; and 
  • Promoting accountable, transparent government. 
More comprehensive details on each of these goals are laid out in the strategic plan, which, Sec. Miller notes, is a "roadmap for our mission". 

Further, DHS is looking to renew their efforts to tell the stories of Pennsylvanians currently being served by the Department. As we know through our ALICE initiative, this is not always the easiest task, but it is one that many United Ways and their partners could potentially help with. Please share the email address below with your colleagues and partners if they are willing to share a story or two from your community. Bringing awareness and education to policymakers about the individuals we serve can help United Ways tell our story, as well. To share a story, please email RA-PWDHSPRESSOFFICE@pa.gov.
Giving Tuesday in Pennsylvania: Let us know how it went! 

Did your United Way participate in Giving Tuesday? Did you use resources and training from United Way of PA or United Way Worldwide to plan your event? 

UWP is looking for feedback from every United Way in Pennsylvania about whether they participated in Giving Tuesday and how they felt it went overall. Help us design better resources for you to use in the future, by taking less than ten minutes to fill out this brief survey
Welcome, PA 211 Executive Director Debbie Reihart! 

This week, United Way of Pennsylvania welcomed our new PA 211 Executive Director to the team. 

Debbie Reihart comes to PA 211 after a long career with the Commonwealth.  She began her career as an analyst with the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee and then moved on to become a management consultant with the Governor's Office of Administration.  After almost ten years there, she was asked to come on board at the Department of Health to lead their implementation of SAP.  Debbie then worked in the private sector as a management consultant with Momentum, but found she missed the Commonwealth and took a position as a manager in the driver licensing/vehicle registration part of PennDOT.  While here, she implemented a project management framework to govern work on the Information Technology (IT) systems.  She then accepted a promotion to do similar work for the road and bridge management portion of PennDOT.  She retired from the Commonwealth, but wanted to continue working in a job that would "feed her soul" and give her a chance to make a difference, which brought her to PA 211.  
Debbie holds BS degree in Social Science from Penn State and a Master of Public Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).  
Debbie lives in New Cumberland with her husband, Steve and two rescued "fur kids", Liberty and Joey.  She has two grown children, Cameron and Hannah.      

Debbie spent much of her week meeting with the existing PA 211 team, including outgoing Operations Director Anne Fogoros, who will retire from full-time employment effective December 13! 

Debbie will work out of UWP's Lemoyne office. She is excited to get out and meet with regional 211 providers, and to begin the strategic planning process for PA 211. 
Fondest best wishes for a healthy and happy retirement, to Anne Fogoros!

Anne Fogoros made her last trip to UWP's offices in Harrisburg this week as she looks forward to retiring from full-time employment and winter-time driving across the mountains on the turnpike!

Many have extended their well-wishes and shared memories of their time working with Anne. PA 211 would truly not be where it is today without her leadership, from working on the ground in Southwestern PA to her bold step to spend the last few years of her career supporting the growth of 211 at a statewide level.

UWP's President, Kristen Rotz, wrote for Anne: "Underneath all the strategy and coordinating work, your care and concern for vulnerable Pennsylvanians shines through, and has certainly been driving 211's commitment. We will never match your experience or perspective. You have attacked every challenge with great dedication, often making personal sacrifices to advance the mission of statewide 211. Now, it is time for you to enjoy the golden years of retirement, knowing that you have left the full-time workforce having made an impact across the state of Pennsylvania. 

We all wish continued good health for you and Rich, so that you can have many adventures together, with your children and their families. And enjoy many Pirates games to come, where you don't have to send emails or read attachments from the park! Thank you for your tireless advocacy for 211 - we know you will continue to be involved and we are so happy to have you in our cheering section." 

Anne's last day with UWP will be Friday, December 13.  
Upcoming training opportunities for PA United Ways

ALICEĀ® Learning Community Webinar: ALICE Enrichment Fund
December 9, 2019 1:00 pm
United Way of Western Connecticut will join United Way of Pennsylvania to present their ALICE Enrichment Fund. The ALICE Enrichment Fund provides families who fall within the ALICE income category financial subsidies for their children to participate in extracurricular activities. The goal is to help close the gap between children from families who currently do not have access to extracurricular activities (including, but not limited to sports, arts, field trips, clubs) and those who do.
They will discuss how they developed the fund and created relationships with community partners to support it. Please join us to learn more!

Voter Engagement at VITA Sites
December 10, 2:00pm
Register Here
The 2020 election will be an important time for our democracy. VITA sites can play a critical role in helping people get registered to vote and make their voice heard. Join researchers from Brookings Institute and a trainer from Nonprofit VOTE for a one hour webinar that shows that voter engagement at VITA sites is effective at increasing turnout and does not slow down the tax preparation process. You'll get tips and guidance about how to run a voter engagement campaign that is helpful to filers and stays within state and federal guidelines.

2020 Census Resources and Planning for United Ways Webinar
December 16 1:30PM
UWP and PA 211 are partnering to encourage Pennsylvanians to fill out the Census. Starting in September, PA 211 began pushing SMS messages to individuals that have opted in to our SMS alert system. This one-way messaging will continue throughout the year and into 2020 with informative messages related to the Census. In addition to this partnership, UWP has put together a toolkit with templates, messaging, and informative pieces that will be of use to you throughout your Census outreach. We're also working on developing strategic partnerships and collaborating with organizations to make sure our population is counted accurately for the 2020 Census. Join us to learn more!

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