United Way of Pennsylvania
UWP Update - June 9, 2017
UWP members celebrate Scott Lowery's retirement! 

Statewide 2-1-1 legislation passes House, scheduled for a vote in Senate
UWP is happy to announce we are making some major progress with our statewide 2-1-1 initiative! After the House Human Services committee passed House Bill 211 out of committee it went to the full House for a vote.  This week, the House passed the bill with a vote of 193-2, with the 2 nays coming from Rep. Bryan Barbin and Rep. Mike Carroll.  The bill will now move to the Senate for a vote. 

In addition to our movement in the House, the companion Senate bill, SB 211, is on the docket for a Senate Health and Human Services committee vote on Tuesday, June 13th at 10:30 a.m.  As you may recall, HB 211 and SB 211 provide a mechanism for state funding for 2-1-1 to be awarded as a grant through the Department of Human Services.  While no funding is attached to these bills, it is our hope the funding will be provided in the final agreed upon budget.  This means there is still more work to do!

It is vital for success that we have as much support for 2-1-1 as possible.  This budget year, as with many, is especially tight and the value of 2-1-1 as a service and potential cost-saver for Pennsylvania must be shown.  Please help us to contact your House and Senate members and urge support of 2-1-1 and our funding request in this year's budget.  Click here to take action.  Also, please forward along our action request to your board members, volunteers and donors for their support. The more we flood legislative offices with our 2-1-1 ask, the better chance we have of seeing funding in the budget. 

Be on the lookout for future communications highlighting the movement of these bills and our initiative as the budget season moves along.  

Pension reform headlines first week of June, more focus on state budget coming next week

As has been widely reported in statewide media outlets, the House and Senate successfully passed pension reform this week. Although the pension reform measure has little direct financial impact on the 2017-2018 budget, it is expected to shift risk from public employers to individuals through greater use of defined contribution plans by employees in the future. Another bi-partisan, five party achievement helps build good will which may help budget negotiations move along.
Some attention will shift back to negotiating the state budget next week as the Senate is expected to hold caucus meetings to determine what they want to achieve in the state's annual spending plan. The House previously sent them a spending plan, HB 218, in early April. That bill included cuts to some human services programs, and a small increase for high quality Pre-k of $25 million but no 2-1-1 funding. 
All sides continue to express optimism about an on-time budget, although there are also some unexpected conversations about a need to increase revenue to achieve a balanced spending plan. With next year being an election year, and a projected deficit that will grow significantly each year for the next several, there are members on both sides of the aisle who are studying a potential need for revenue. The House passed a gambling expansion plan which faces an uncertain future in the Senate. The Governor is advocating for closing tax loopholes. The Senate will likely be assessing revenue options as they meet next week, too. 
United Way of PA will gather information from our contacts and start issuing more frequent updates to membership when there is more to report. We have already laid some groundwork to educate freshman members about the negative impacts of a budget impasse based on our survey data from 2014-2015's late budget, and have highlighted the importance of an on-time budget in a communication about our budget priorities which was sent to the whole House and Senate Appropriations committee earlier this year. 

Fight Crime, Invest in Kids: Pre-K reduces prison costs

Recently, the Council for a Strong America, a national, bipartisan nonprofit uniting five organizations comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes, released a report highlighting how Pre-K is the key the boosting school success and cutting prison costs in Pennsylvania. 

The report goes into depth on the societal benefits that Pennsylvania and our country can see with investments into early childhood education. Providing at-risk kids with high quality early learning programs will contribute to less crime and incarceration in the future. Not only is this better for our children, it saves our state money in the long run.  In fact, for every disadvantaged child that participates in a high-quality pre-k program, there is an average "profit" of more than $29,000 to society for each child served.  Governor Wolf proposed a $75 million investment into Pre-K and Head Start programs for the 2017-18 budget, which would give 8,400 children the opportunity to attend a Pre-K program.  If that investment goes through, and based on the cost-figure presented in the report on realized profit, Pennsylvania could have a return of more than $244 million over the lifetime of the 8,400 children being helped.  

The report goes on to further identify other areas children benefit from when they have the opportunity to attend an early learning program, such as fewer high school dropouts and less behavioral issues.  The information is presented nicely and we encourage you to share this report with your community partners to show the positive impacts of Pre-K investments. 
Read more about the benefits of Pre-K investment in the report

United Way Hill Day: support our advocacy from home
United Way Worldwide's Advocacy Forum and Hill Day take place Tuesday, June 13th through Thursday, June 15th.  UWP staff will be in attendance and have meetings scheduled with staff from Sen. Casey, Sen. Toomey, and Rep. Mike Kelly's offices.  We will be discussing various issues including our 2-1-1 initiative here in the state, support for expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, federal budget and many others. 

Although you may not be able to attend the Hill Day in person, you can still participate from your desk!

This year, UWW will be live streaming on Tuesday, June 13th from 1:30PM-3:00PM during the sessions "New Congress, New Administration: What it Means for United Way", with speaker Ellen Nissembaum from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, and "United Way Policy Priorities & Hill Day Asks", presented by Steve Taylor.  If you want to participate and stream these sessions, please  register here.
Additionally, you can also help advocate on social media and through traditional media. Please  download the 2017 Advocacy Forum Network Communications Toolkit and help us amplify our messages! 

UWW membership requirements due June 30
The membership certification form for US United Ways is dues June 30, 2017. The certifications will be collected electronically using DocuSign. 

If you have not initiated the process of submitting your certification, please refer to the instructions here . Two electronic signatures (typically the CEO and the board chair) will be required. 
Learn about new social media platform available to United Way
United Way announced a partnership with a social media platform that can be used to help manage content and share stories across the network.  From Bambu, we can share stories, blog posts, press hits, research and organization news all in one, easy to use platform. With each story, you can select a pre-written social media copy, which you can customize for your audiences.

There are two opportunities for training, which will also be recorded: 

Monday, June 12 at 3 pm
Thursday, June 15 at 9:30 a.m.

To learn more about Bambu, and to register for training, click here (United Way online login required). 
United Way Day of Action: register your plans

June 21 has been selected as a global "Day of Action" for United Ways around the world. United Ways around the world will provide meaningful, impact-oriented service opportunities that advance our goals in education, financial stability and health. 

UWW is encouraging all participating United Ways to register their plans here on United Way online. 

According to UWW, activities will range from online advocacy and small-group, single-day events to large-scale, community-wide, week-long programs at multiple locations. United Ways need to register their plans in order to be recognized in network communications, be included in the global day of action map, and included in the final summary of activities.