United Way of Pennsylvania
UWP Update - August 18, 2017
Top needs of contacts to PA 2-1-1 centers in 2016. 
UWP and PA 2-1-1 offer comments to PA Public Utility Commission regarding utility assistance and the Universal Services programs
The PA Public Utility Commission opened a public comment period this summer on the Energy Conservation and Universal Service program. This is part of a review process begun in April, and the universal service programs include those which intend to make energy more affordable for low income households. Energy assistance is among the most frequent request by 2-1-1 contacts. 

Across the state, 2-1-1 has provided help to more than 546,218 Pennsylvanians who have called to request utility assistance since the launch of 2-1-1 in 2011. 2-1-1 can help stand in the gap between utility customer needs and their frequent unwillingness to call the utility provider for help. 2-1-1 can also offer a more holistic approach since the service deals with all health and human service needs. 

The staff at 2-1-1 and the Universal Services staff at Duquesne Light and Peoples Natural Gas have worked together to provide assistance with keeping service on, replacing furnaces, providing weatherization services and more, using a patchwork of utility and private sector dollars. The synergy between these organizations have led to better outcomes for the most vulnerable customers. 

The UWP/ PA 2-1-1 comments suggested several ways in which 2-1-1 and utilities could expand a partnership in the future.  United Way and PA 2-1-1 also requested that utilities be permitted to invest a portion of their universal service dollars to 2-1-1 services. Specifically, we suggested that 5% of a utility's universal service dollars be directed for use by 2-1-1 to support the work they do with utility customers. 

You can view the comments here

PA 2-1-1 state budget funding placed in budgetary reserve

During the first week of August, the Governor took action to place about $188 million in discretionary spending into budget reserve. Budget reserve is described by the administration and legislative staff as a standard, temporary procedure which normally occurs just after a state budget is enacted. The Governor's office stated that no decisions have been made relative to programs that could be impacted if there is a failure to complete the budget or pass enough revenue to balance the spending plan that has been enacted. The budgetary reserve is also used to protect discretionary funding from being folded into an agency's budget while each agency adjusts its own spending to reflect the final state budget.
Most of the 68 line items that are impacted are things that the legislature funded apart from state agencies' formal budget requests or mandated spending. This includes about $2 million from the Department of Human Services General Government Operations, and within that line item, $750,000 allocated for 2-1-1. We want to inform you that although the funds are in reserve, UWP still expects a first-time investment by state government in 2-1-1.  
UWP will continue to monitor developments related to the finalization of the revenue for the 2017-2018 state budget. We are not asking members to engage in any advocacy at this point in time. If there is a threat to our funding as negotiations continue, and if all five parties to the budget negotiation fail to come to agreement on sufficient revenue to fund the spending plan that has been signed in to law, we will issue a grassroots action request.  
2-1-1 phone and text capabilities support school attendance and anti-bullying initiatives 

United Way of Southwest PA and the University of Pittsburgh are partnering on a pilot as part of the "Be There" attendance initiative. Participating schools will encourage parents to sign up for text alerts once a month updating them on their child's attendance. Pitt's Office of Child Development created the program. A parent will also have the option to text back with any needs which may be preventing them from getting their children to school, and a resource navigator from SW PA 2-1-1 will respond.  

The program was featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and you can read more about it here

PA 2-1-1's central region is partnering with two Blair County school districts to finalize a bullying prevention and intervention initiative. 2-1-1 will be a channel for both parents and students to reach out to if being bullied or if they witness bullying. The 2-1-1 center will complete a questionnaire which will be turned over to the school building principals for investigation and action. 2-1-1 Central's goal is to raise funding so they can also implement the initiative by text. 
PA Department of Health updated school vaccination requirements catch many families by surprise

PA Department of Health regulations pertaining to school vaccinations have been amended for the 2017-2018 school year. DOH is continuing to raise awareness about these changes, but they are impacting families caught unaware as kids head back to school around PA. 

The most significant change is the replacement of the 8-month provisional period, which previously allowed children to be provisionally admitted to school as long as all required vaccinations were administered within 8 months of the start of the school year. Now the provisional period is five days into the start of school year. 

There are certain waivers which can be granted for a child who is homeless, whose records are lost due to a disaster, or transfer of schools. Vaccination exemptions are still granted for religious or medical reasons, or a strong moral or ethical conviction. Multiple dose vaccines can be administered beyond the fifth day of school without exclusion from attendance so long as there is a medical certificate with a schedule for the remaining doses.  

More information is available here
Join United Way's Advocacy Week of Action on social media

Join the week-long campaign to rally congressional and public support for health, education and financial stability nationwide. We are facing very real threats to the charitable deduction, budget cuts to safety net programs, and political uncertainty on health reform legislation. During the week of August 21st-25th, we encourage you to meet with your members of Congress and amplify United Way's policy priorities online.
In order to highlight all of United Way's policy priorities, each day next week has a specific focus for online action. We encourage you to participate in one or all of the digital advocacy days as it fits with your local United Way's public policy and impact work. A social media guide with sample messages and graphics can be accessed here. Graphics can be downloaded here. All content can be shared through Bambu. Stories on Bambu will not be available for sharing until the first day of the campaign.

Monday, August 21: Tax Reform -  EITC and c haritable giving incentives

Tuesday, August 22: Health

Wednesday, August 23: Appropriations 

Please remember to share feedback with the UWW policy team if you participate in office visits or town hall meetings during the week of advocacy. Also, individuals can share the advocacy messages so please circulate with staff, board members, donors and partners. 

UWP's summer intern heads back to school, reflects on her experience

Melissa Anese completed her summer internship with United Way of PA on Friday, August 11. She will begin her senior year at Dickinson College soon. Melissa was a super intern who assisted us with projects such as resources to help local United Ways implement the brand standards and brand credo marketing, an advocacy toolkit and the UWP membership directory. She also assisted with preparation of UWP conference materials, web site maintenance and some 2-1-1 related projects. 

We wish Melissa all the best in her senior year, and know she will do great things in the future. You can read her self-reflection about her internship experience here
UWP's marketing webinar and links available on members only site
If you were unable to join the UWP marketing webinar for member United Ways, recordings are now available on the member's only web site.  UWP's member's only Knowledge Cafe' has also been updated with helpful links for easy access to Studio to Go, as well as logo and social media graphics. 

This webinar covers many aspects of the 2017 United Way Worldwide Marketing and Brand Standards update. From a crash course on the new credo and marketing changes to branding updates and how to navigate these changes, this webinar covers it all! It also touches on Studio to Go for all your graphic and content needs as well as tips to format the new marketing campaign to your United Way.