United Way of Pennsylvania
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UWP Update - February 16, 2018
Senator Browne and Representative Bloom were joined by 2-1-1 supporters to celebrate how the service grew to serve more Pennsylvanians in 2017. 
2-1-1 Day Celebrated in state Capitol and around PA
PA 2-1-1 Day was a huge success across the state! With help from our local United Ways, legislative champions and long-time supporters we helped get the message out about why 2-1-1 is such a valuable resource to our communities! 
  
To kick off our PA 2-1-1 Day celebration, supporter gathered Monday, February 5th at the capitol to show support for PA 2-1-1. Representative Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) and Senator Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh) stood alongside us to recognize February 11th as National 2-1-1 Day! Other attendees that came out to show support included UWP Board members Andy Dessel and Barbara Saverino, 2-1-1 providers from Northeast, East Southwest and Southcentral PA 2-1-1, the United Ways from York, Lancaster, and Lebanon plus PA 2-1-1 board chair Nancy Kukovich and PA 2-1-1 board member Marie Mulvihill. The event was live-streamed and the link can be found on our website here. In addition to this press event, Senator Browne declared February 11, 2018 as PA 2-1-1 Day in S.R. 270.

PA 2-1-1 Day also received massive attention on social media! On Facebook, we received over 2,000 views with 39 likes and 22 shares. On Twitter, we had 6,555 impressions with 182 total engagements overall including 20 media engagements. Additionally, 85 people contacted their local legislators to support funding in the FY 2018-19 budget! United Ways from all over the commonwealth were also active in sharing content. From Erie to the Greater Lehigh Valley, York to Venango and Butler, PA 2-1-1 Day was trending! Shout out to United Way of Erie County for creating a social media video with a resource navigator interview. United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley also set up news coverage for PA 2-1-1 Day on WFMZ 69 News alongside a conversation with Third Street Alliance to uncover the many needs that 2-1-1 services. Another shout out to United Way of Lycoming County for the Twitter storm of 2-1-1 graphics. UWP and some of our local United Ways also participated with UWW and United Ways across the country in a Twitter Chat to discuss how we were utilizing 2-1-1 in our communities. There were 168 contributors in the chat and we reached over 600,000 accounts with over 5 million impressions!

We are so proud of our membership, and our partners, for their efforts to bring more attention to PA 2-1-1! Stay on the lookout for opportunities to engage in our advocacy work around this issue and feel free to share our newly updated 2-1-1 white paper with your boards, donors, and advocates!
Highlights and reaction to Governor Wolf's proposed budget
Governor Wolf delivered a brief speech on Feb. 6 to outline his proposed priorities for the 2018-2019 state budget. The spending plan he put forward totals out at $32.9 billion dollars, which is nearly $1 billion, or 3 percent higher than the state budget in FY 2017-2018. 
 
This increase in spending became the focal point of the Republican response to the Governor's budget address. Leaders from both the House and the Senate stated that there would be no tax increases this year, the commonwealth must live within its means, and the next budget should only spend the revenues that are coming in. A surplus of approximately $45 million is projected for the current fiscal year.
 
Governor Wolf again requested increased investments in education. This includes an increase of $30 million for the Pre-K Counts program, and $10 million for Head Start. The Pre-K for PA campaign, of which UWP is a principal partner, saluted the Governor's $40 million investment and urged the General Assembly to fully fund that request so that another 4400 children can be served in high quality programs next year. Wolf also proposed a $100 million increase in basic education spending.
 
UWP advocated for the first state funding for PA 2-1-1 in the 2017-2018 budget, which was appropriated, thanks to the leadership of Senator Browne, through the Department of Human Services General Government Operations line item. The Governor's proposed budget for 2018-2019 shows an increase in the newly combined DHHS GGO, but each of the combined agencies is receiving an overall decrease in GGO funding. So, UWP will need to take some more time to find out whether the Governor's budget includes 2-1-1 funding for 2018-2019. 
 
Human services were largely flat-funded in this budget, aside from an increase to serve more people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Drug and alcohol services are also increased for opioid-related initiatives include increased funding for home visiting programs targeted to families that have been impacted by addiction, more specialty drug courts to help get people connected to treatment and federal funding to expand access to treatment services. The Governor's budget proposes to merge the Department of Health with the Department of Human Services, scaled back from last year's effort to consolidate four state agencies (including Drug and Alcohol Programs and Aging) into one.
 
The budget also proposes providing more children access to high-quality child care by investing a total of more than $20 million dollars to reduce the Child Care Works waiting list, and to increase reimbursement rate for quality child care providers. 

Finally, because United Way has new network goals around jobs, we will report that the Governor is touting a new workforce initiative called "PASmart". It is billed as an effort to coordinate and strengthen workforce efforts at multiple agencies while aligning with K-12 and higher education.
 
If you would like to learn more about the budget proposal, you will find more resources at the PA Office of the Budget
 
The next step in the process is several weeks of Appropriations Committee hearings, starting Feb. 20, wherein the legislature will examine the Governor's budget proposal. UWP will be communicating its budget priorities to both the House and Senate Appropriations committee ahead of those hearings. 

Federal budget update

Congress finally reached a deal on the budget numbers which will increase spending caps and set spending allocations for the House and Senate for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The Bipartisan Budget Act will temporarily fund the government through March 23rd. This gives the House and Senate time to complete the final details of the appropriations process.

This Act addressed several United Way priorities including:

An increase to non-defense discretionary spending- this will allow a larger pot of money to fund programs related to the work United Ways are doing in education, health, and financial stability.

Health Care extenders- the deal includes an additional four-years to the CHIP extension, which reauthorizes CHIP for 10 years. Additionally, it extends programs like MIECHV and Community Health Centers.

Disaster relief- $89 billion was appropriated in the budget deal to provide emergency aid for victims of recent natural disasters, such as those impacted by the hurricanes that hit Texas Puerto Rico.

Appropriations priorities- Congressional leaders did agree to work with the appropriations committee to ensure non-defense spending priorities are funded in 2018 and 2019. The details are not yet worked out, but so far leaders have identified these issues of importance:
  • Opioids and Mental Health- $3 billion for FY 2018 and 2019- used to combat the substance abuse epidemic, including enhanced state grants, public prevention programs, and law enforcement activities related to substance abuse and mental health programs
  • Child Care- $2.9 billion for FY 2018 and 2019- includes the bipartisan Child Care Development Block Grant program
  • Higher Education- $2 billion for FY 2018 and 2019 for student-centered programs that aid college completion and affordability.
There will be further developments as Congress completes the FY 2018 omnibus bill and begins work on the FY 2019 appropriations bills.

United Way of Pennsylvania Digital Fundraising & Relationship Building Webinar: February 22nd 
United Way of Pennsylvania would like to present our upcoming webinar: Digital Fundraising & Relationship Building.

Scott Paley, President of Abstract Edge and an expert in digital marketing, presents on how to build relationships with online donors. Online donations often are on a transactional level, which does little to help donors feel invested or involved in the nonprofit they're helping. Nonprofits want to take advantage of the ease of use and wide reach of the internet, but struggle with engaging these donors in long term relationships. How do United Ways engage our online donors?

Participants will learn the most successful kinds of stories to tell to increase engagement among online donors, and will be motivated to make a change in the online donor process that allows donors to become more involved. Participants will also understand how social media plays a role in relationship building.

When: February 22nd, 2018 2:00 PM - 3:00PM
To register, please click hereIf you have any questions, please contact Amanda Barbarich at amanda@uwp.org or (717) 238-7365 x206. This webinar is FREE for all our local United Ways CPOs and their staff to attend.

UWP debuts new mobile-responsive website

If you have visited the United Way of PA website recently, you've noticed a large change. Our entire website has been redesigned to be mobile responsive, complete with new images and a new layout. Despite looking different, all our content and features are still there. There is a new link in the menu tab to access both our members section and our calendar.

Mobile internet usage is on the rise, nearly 50% of website views came from mobile devices in 2017. This trend is expected to continue with mobile traffic increasing seven-fold between now and 2021. Websites share the same HTML across mobile and desktop devices, allowing more efficient searching and indexing in engines like Google. It also allows for a standard user experience across all their devices.

United Way of Pennsylvania is still adjusting our new website. If you're having trouble finding something, please contact Amanda Barbarich at amanda@uwp.org.

Charitable tax deduction advocacy

Charitable giving is the incentive by which people are encouraged to engage in a selfless act of giving. Once someone donates to a charity, they can claim a charitable deduction. Due to unintended consequences of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, giving in the U.S. is predicted to drop by 5%.c21 million taxpayers who currently itemize their taxes and claim the charitable deduction will no longer have access to this tax incentive.  This would cost the state of Pennsylvania over $345 million in donations.

This 5% reduction in giving means less to fund private food banks, homeless or domestic violence shelters, provide day care, or job training. For United Way, this means less donations from middle and upper-middle class donors that we depend on for funding. This affects our community since those lost dollars translate directly to reduced services we can provide.

Congress can address the unintended consequences of tax reform by expanding the charitable deduction to all taxpayers. To combat the cuts, legislators have introduced the Universal Charitable Giving Act of 2017 which expands the charitable giving tax benefits to allow people who don't itemize their taxes to take the charitable deduction. With UWW backing, we urge all Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Universal Charitable Giving Act of 2017.