MEDIA CONTACT: Bill Norton, [email protected] 704.371.6206 direct; 704.763.6059 mobile NEWS RELEASE United Way Wins Siemer Grant to Help Homeless Children in School; $600,000 in New Funding Over Three Years with United Way Match News Coincides with United Way’s Second-Year Data Release for Collective Impact Initiative to Raise Graduation Rates for At-Risk Children Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 3, 2014 – United Way of Central Carolinas has won a matching grant from the Siemer Institute for Family Stability – $300,000 over three years, matched with $300,000 in funding from United Way, for a total of $600,000 in new funding. The funds will go to Charlotte Family Housing and the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson – $100,000 annually to each agency, starting this month – to help families with school-age children who are on the verge of homelessness. The grant brings together United Way’s two most significant initiatives: one Collective Impact program to raise graduation rates for at-risk children, and the other aimed at shortening and preventing homelessness. Ada Jenkins Center and Charlotte Family Housing were selected by United Way as the agencies best-positioned to address both initiatives concurrently. The funds will enable each agency to add a case manager equipped to prevent homelessness and simultaneously help families address the academic challenges that instability places on children. The latest data shows there are more than 4,100 children attending Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools who are homeless, including those living in motels or doubled up with relatives. “When we were first contacted by the Siemer Family Foundation, I was amazed at the potential for a perfect fit with our two Collective Impact initiatives,” said Jane McIntyre, United Way’s executive director. “This is the first Siemer grant awarded in the state of North Carolina, which is a tremendous endorsement of this United Way’s strategic direction.” United Way’s board of directors authorized the match to come from its reserve fund, so the grant is on top of agency funding generated by United Way donors through the annual campaign. Thus, this $200,000 per year, plus the $500,000 agency funding increase that United Way announced in June, amounts to a $700,000 infusion of new funds for local agencies this year. United Way’s overall agency funding in the current fiscal year is now $17.2 million. Graduation Rate Initiative Unveils Second-Year Data The grant news was announced today in conjunction with the release of second-year data, as compiled by UNC Charlotte’s Institute for Social Capital, in United Way’s 10-year initiative to help raise graduation rates for at-risk children. 301 South Brevard Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 704-372-7170 www.uwcentralcarolinas.org Based on results from 16 agencies participating in the Collective Impact program, the new data shows how students have improved after receiving United Way agency services, compared to where they were before entering that particular program: 84.7% remained stable or improved in math 82.3% remained stable or improved in reading 80.4% experienced fewer or the same number of suspensions 52.9% experienced fewer or the same number of absences “For our most vulnerable students, achieving stability is a significant result,” said Victoria Manning, United Way’s director of community investment. “The achievement gap between the general population and our at-risk students widens as a child gets older, so helping stabilize these children is a sign of progress. It’s a great platform to build upon, and we believe that subsequent years will demonstrate additional academic gains.” A report on the second-year data is available on the United Way homepage. Other big-picture findings: United Way agencies are reaching the children most in need of support – those in the highest-poverty neighborhoods, attending the lowest-performing schools, and facing the greatest income-disparity gap. Most of the children are enrolled in a single Collective Impact agency program. Multi-program participants (a child enrolled in two or more Collective Impact programs) have lower test scores than the collective group, but showed more improvement and growth on test scores than the collective. Areas of concern include a high rate of chronic absenteeism. Additionally, 24 percent of students had been suspended at least once. “Obtaining strong data can be challenging, but it is critical in determining how to improve how we serve children,” said Karen Calder, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte. “That’s the best part of United Way’s leadership, not only in analyzing the data, but bringing us all to the table where we can learn and share best-practices from one another. “For example, it’s alarming to see the number of student absences, and that goes back to the fact that for many of these children, their families are dealing with extreme challenges that other students never have to face,” she added. “So reducing absenteeism is not a quick fix, but our 16 agencies will certainly lean on each other to share what’s working best.” Former UNC Charlotte Dean of Education to Help Agencies Dr. Mary Lynne Calhoun, who retired as dean of the College of Education at UNC Charlotte last year, and who served on United Way’s board from 2010-14, will act as an expert adviser to United Way in helping the agencies utilize the data effectively. “Going forward, our Collective Impact reports will grow richer each year, with new information on high school completion rates, promotion to the next grade, and report card grades,” said Calhoun. “Collective Impact intensifies the power of United Way donations by moving from the isolated impact of the individual agencies, to the shared impact of working toward a unified goal. This is sophisticated work, which is what’s necessary to move the needle on complex issues.” The Siemer grant is the third six-figure grant that United Way has received for its graduation initiative, and the first brought in from outside the region. The program was launched in January 2012 with $200,000 in seed funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and in March 2014, United Way won a $150,000 grant from the Sisters of Mercy Foundation to fund data collection and analysis in Mecklenburg County, as well as expand it into Union County. United Way is working on expanding the program into both Union and Cabarrus counties now. New data on United Way’s Collective Impact work to reduce homelessness was also released last month. More detail about that initiative can be found here on United Way’s website. ### About United Way of Central Carolinas United Way of Central Carolinas focuses on three vital areas: Children & Youth; Housing & Financial Stability; and Health & Mental Health. Through 82 health and human service agencies, United Way creates lasting change for those most in need, working in Anson, Cabarrus, Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Mooresville/Lake Norman and Union. To get help, call United Way’s 211 hotline, or to learn how you can help, visit www.uwcentralcarolinas.org.
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