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What's Happening at United Way?

Annual Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Honoring Pre-K! 

Passing through the Capitol Rotunda, it is difficult to miss the 22' Frazier Fir adorned with 1,500 hand-crafted ornaments created by pre-k students from across the commonwealth. You also couldn't help but smile at the nearly five dozen pre-k students who joined Governor Wolf to kick off the holiday season in the Capitol at the official tree-lighting ceremony, December 8th. 

What is easier to forget is that these fortunate students represent a small handful of the 3,700 students who have benefited this year thanks to the leadership of Gov. Wolf and the PA Legislature's continued commitment to pre-k expansion. Please join us in thanking the governor for his ongoing support and for offering our campaign the opportunity to decorate this year's tree - we consider it an honor.  Click here  to send him an email showing your appreciation, or take to social media to  Tweet  him or post a thank you on his  Facebook page .

Join us too as we reflect on how far Pre-K for PA has come, thanks to supporters like you, and how far we have to go. Since our inception, pre-k funding has increased dramatically allowing for thousands of PA kids to participate in pre-k.

In 2018, Pre-K for PA will be advocating for an $85 million increase in pre-k spending as part of the FY 2018-19 PA budget. Nearly 113,000 at-risk three- and four-year-olds across the commonwealth still do not have access to high-quality pre-k. With roughly 64% of eligible preschool-age children unable to access high-quality pre-k, Pennsylvania can and must do better.

The upcoming year will be an important one, as we will be advocating for 10,000 more kids to get access to pre-k to a field of candidates vying for office, in addition to our current elected officials in Harrisburg.

For a list of the pre-k centers that donated ornaments for our tree and to see photos from the tree lighting, please visit us here .

United Way Worldwide Opposes Senate Tax Reform Proposal and Encourages Congress to Reauthorize CHIP
In an unprecedented move in United Way history, United Way Worldwide issued a statement of opposition to the tax reform proposal recently favorably passed by the U.S. Senate.  This statement, which can be read in full here, noted little to no benefit for low-income families and the detrimental impacts to the nonprofit sector with 95% of Americans who currently claim the charitable deduction no longer having access to that tax benefit.  

In the statement, Brian Gallagher said, "As bad as the deficit implications are in this bill, the threshold for United Way is the harm the bill will do to private charities. The elimination of the charitable deduction for 31 million middle and upper-middle income taxpayers causes such damage to our ability to help people, we have no choice but to oppose the bill." 

U.S. President Mary B. Sellers added, "The charitable sector proposed a straight-forward, cost-effective fix that would have actually increased future charitable giving. We were making our case on behalf of millions of low-income Americans who rely on our help, but who have no voice on Capitol Hill. But our efforts were largely dismissed and it looks like Congress disregarded evidence that was counter to the tax policy narrative." 

While tax reform is the main focus for Congress, there are also other top United Way priorities that have yet to be resolved.  One such priority is the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which officially expired on September 30.  Currently, there is bipartisan support to reauthorize the program for a 5-year period, but there is an unwillingness on behalf of Congress to do so prior to a final spending plan being agreed to.  For Pennsylvania, that means there are approximately 180,000 children who will lose health insurance, should CHIP not be reauthorized.  PA's Department of Human Services acting Secretary, Teresa Miller, noted there should be enough funding for the program to carry Pennsylvania through March, however there is no guarantee.  United Way Worldwide, as well as United Way of Pennsylvania, is actively engaging in the CHIP discussions and monitoring any progress.  UWP sent a sign-on letter, with over 80 signatures, to both House and Senate leadership encouraging their support to reauthorize CHIP prior states running out of funding.  Please help us in fighting for the health of every child in every community by taking action to encourage the reauthorization of CHIP. 

PA United Ways in the News 
 

UPCOMING UNITED WAY 
EVENTS
UWP 2018 Board Meetings 
March 14
June 20
September 19
December 12

UWP Legislative Hill Day 
April 17, 2018

UWP Alexis de Tocqueville Reception
May 22, 2018 

UWP Annual Statewide Conference 
June 20-22, 2018 

Check Out What Your Local United Way has Going On
LIVING UNITED IN PENNSYLVANIA
United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) is a state association representing our 48 member United Ways and United Funds across the Commonwealth. 

UWP's mission is to assist and champion the efforts of local United Ways in advancing the common good

Primarily UWP's work consists of government relations work on the policy issues affecting PA's communities in the areas of health, education, and financial stability.  In addition, UWP works with our local United Way members to support their efforts and offer support to their mission.  

Visit United Way of Pennsylvania's website
to learn more about how local United Ways are working to advance the common good

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