Resources Under Management (RUM)

The United Way Impact Fund

The issues facing our community are interconnected. The best way to tackle these issues is to understand them at a foundational level. United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County’s Board of Directors adopted a broader, systematic approach to identifying and addressing the major human services issues facing our community. Derived from United Way Worldwide’s Goals for the Common Good, this approach aligns our efforts within the strategic focus areas of Education, Income and Health. This makes it possible for United Way to allocate resources in a way that comprehensively benefits children, individuals and families within our community.

Education

Goal: On-time high school graduation.                                                                                                          Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. For children to grow into successful adults, they need a supportive and healthy early foundation. Without quality early learning opportunities, many children will lack basic skills and will enter kindergarten unprepared for school challenges. During their school years, children need to build on their early foundation. This foundation is critical in order to graduate from high school and go on to achieve financial stability as adults.

For children, the educational experience is cumulative, meaning that each phase of education and development serves as an important step toward the goal of high school graduation. However, there are key steps along the way where we can check to see if students are continuing on the path toward graduation: school readiness, early grade success, middle school success, and high school success.

Early Education/School Readiness:
The first three years of a child’s life, when the human brain develops more rapidly than any other subsequent period, is a time of enormous social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth. In fact, research indicates that nearly 90 percent of brain growth occurs during these early years. The pace of this growth depends on whether the child’s eagerness to learn is stimulated by his or her environment. These funded programs focus their efforts on early education and preparing children to enter school ready to learn:

  • The ARC of Lincoln – Youth Programming
  • CEDARS Youth Services – Early Childhood Development Centers
  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties – Early Headstart and Headstart
  • Lincoln Literacy – Family Literacy Activities for Immigrants and Refugees
  • Malone Community Center – Early Education Program
  • Northeast Family Center – Parents as Partners
  • Willard Community Center – Preschool Program

Early Grades Success                                                                                                                                      Studies indicate that early language and literacy development provides an important foundation for later academic success. Third grade reading proficiency is the earliest comparable standardized reading test given to all Lincoln Public School students, and poor results are an early indicator of students not graduating on time. Third grade can be seen as a tipping point. Before this point, students spend much of their time learning to read. By the start of fourth grade, the curriculum begins to rely on students’ ability to read to learn. These programs focus on building the social, emotional and academic skills needed to reach the achievement goals of the early grades:

  • Asian Community and Cultural Center – Youth Programming
  • The Arc of Lincoln – Youth Programming
  • Boys & Girls Clubs
  • CEDARS Youth Services – Community Learning Centers
  • City Impact – Impact Reading Center
  • Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska – Outreach Program
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – Lincoln – Mentoring Program
  • Lincoln Literacy – Family Literacy Activities for Immigrants and Refugees
  • Lincoln Public Schools – Two Generation Family Literacy Program
  • LUX Center for the Arts – After School Enrichment Art Classes for Low Income and At-Risk Youth
  • Malone Community Center – Out of School Program
  • The Salvation Army Lincoln – After School/Fine Arts Academy Program
  • TeamMates – Mentoring Program of Lincoln
  • Willard Community Center – Lakeview Community Learning Center
  • YWCA Lincoln – SMART Girls Club

Middle School Success                                                                                                                                  Student academic motivation and engagement tends to decline during middle school years as students begin developing socially, and start to value independence and question authority. This can potentially expose them to negative social influences. At the same time, parent engagement with schools also tends to decline. Maintaining regular attendance is a critical factor related to academic success and graduation. Regular attendance at school is perhaps the strongest indicator of academic performance. These programs focus on building social, emotional and academic skills as well as providing the supportive environments to assure perseverance and continued success into the high school years:

  • The Arc of Lincoln – Youth Programming
  • Asian Community and Cultural Center – Youth Program
  • Boys & Girls Clubs
  • City Impact – Impact Reading Center
  • El Centro de las Américas – Adelante Educational Program
  • Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska – Outreach Program
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – Lincoln – Mentoring Program
  • Lighthouse – After School Mentoring
  • Lighthouse – Education Program
  • Lincoln Literacy – Family Literacy Activities for Immigrants and Refugees
  • LUX Center for the Arts – After School Enrichment Art Classes for Low Income and At-Risk Youth
  • Malone Community Center – Out of School Program
  • The Salvation Army – Lincoln – After School/ Fine Arts Academy Program
  • TeamMates – Mentoring Program of Lincoln
  • YWCA Lincoln – SMART Girls Club

High School Success                                                                                                                                      As students enter high school and begin to approach graduation, maintaining strong academic performance is essential. Research indicates that teaching and instruction quality remains a critical component of keeping students engaged in high school.

Exposure to negative social influences, such as drug and alcohol use, is significantly higher during this time, while parental involvement in the school system is low. Similar to middle school, regular attendance remains a key predictor of on-time graduation. These programs provide services to address these important areas:

  • The Arc of Lincoln – Youth Programming
  • Asian Community and Cultural Center – Youth Program
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – Lincoln – Mentoring Program
  • Boys & Girls Clubs
  • El Centro de las Américas – Adelante Educational Program
  • Girl Scouts of Nebraska – Outreach Program
  • The HUB – Central Access Point for Young Adults – Lincoln Education Outreach
  • The HUB – Central Access Point for Young Adults – Youth and Community Together (YouthACT)
  • Lighthouse – After School Mentoring
  • Lighthouse – Education Program
  • Lincoln Literacy – Family Literacy Activities for Immigrants and Refugees
  • LUX Center for the Arts – After School Enrichment Art Classes for Low Income and At-Risk Youth
  • The Salvation Army – Lincoln – After School/ Fine Arts Academy Program
  • TeamMates – Mentoring Program of Lincoln
Income

The issues that stem from the economic and financial pressures facing individuals and their families are increasingly complex. Research demonstrates that poverty is connected to negative outcomes in many areas, including poor physical and mental health, disparities in educational achievement and increased incidence of high-risk activities. While poverty is largely cyclical, unanticipated events, such as a medical emergency or a major car repair, can be a devastating financial crisis for an individual or family living near the poverty line. In addition to assisting families to provide for their basic needs, workforce development and asset development interventions can play complementary roles for the most vulnerable families. Workforce development creates the possibility of long-term stability through employment, while asset development cushions against emergencies in the short run and permits longer-run investment in human capital. United Way is focused on ensuring that families and individuals, regardless of circumstances, have the opportunity to achieve economic security.

Food Security                                                                                                                                                    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” People only have a limited amount of income, but many competing needs. Chronically poor households or households without savings to protect against unforeseen hardships are most likely to be vulnerable to food insecurity. Researchers have documented wide-ranging effects of food insecurity on child development and mental and physical health. The following programs work together to assure a food assistance safety net:

  • Asian Community and Cultural Center – Family Resource Center
  • Catholic Social Services – St. Francis Food Pantry
  • The Center for People in Need – Neighborhood Food
  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties – The Gathering Place
  • Community Crops – Community Gardens
  • CEDARS Youth Services – Emergency Food Assistance for Street Outreach Services
  • El Centro de las Américas – Crisis Prevention & Assistance Program
  • Food Bank of Lincoln – Produce for Mobile Food Pantries
  • Good Neighbor Community Center – Food Pantry and Perishable Food
  • Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach – Hunger Relief Program
  • The Salvation Army – Lincoln – Food Security

Shelter Security                                                                                                                                                 Housing is considered a basic need because it provides shelter and safety for individuals to live and develop. Stable shelter is closely tied to outcomes in physical, mental and emotional health, as well as positive self-esteem and development. An important metric is housing cost burden since we know that, as housing costs grow, the more likely an individual or family is to become homeless. Housing cost burden is the amount of housing costs one pays relative to total income. Experts agree that more than 30 percent of household income spent toward housing costs is considered a burden and has harmful implications for low-income families who must also pay for food, transportation and health care. A shortage in affordable housing, increasing rent prices, and declining income are all principal drivers behind increased cost burden rates. While obtaining homeownership is often the goal, this can be difficult for individuals or families unable to afford down payments, have poor credit histories, or lack adequate financial literacy.

These programs support individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by maintaining or acquiring stable housing through emergency shelters, transitional shelters, and by providing emergency assistance to those in crisis:

  • Catholic Social Services – Emergency Services
  • CEDARS Youth Services – Emergency Shelter Services
  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties – Basic and Emergency Needs Services
  • El Centro de las Américas – Crisis Prevention & Assistance Program
  • Fresh Start – Transitional Shelter Services
  • Good Neighbor Community Center – Basic Needs
  • League of Human Dignity, Inc. – Barrier Removal
  • Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach – Homeless Prevention
  • People’s City Mission – Family Shelter
  • The Salvation Army – Lincoln – Utility Assistance

Workforce Development
Workforce development encompasses different types of programs that help prepare people for jobs by providing them with training, placement assistance, and other support. These programs strive to not just help people secure any job, but jobs that pay well, provide benefits, offer opportunities for advancement, and are less likely to be eliminated during economic downturns. In the years since the end of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate has declined much faster

and their families. Along with this, significant job market changes in recent years, brought about by global competition and technological advances–and the new and shifting skills that these changes demand–make workforce development more important than ever to help families reach economic security.

  • The Center for People in Need – Career Development
  • The Center for People in Need – Pathway to Success Through ELL

Financial Capability
Acquiring a basic level of savings is a crucial first step for individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty. Without a savings safety net, even a small disruption – such as a child’s illness or a vehicle breakdown, can push people into high-cost consequences that can unravel their financial lives. Financial Capability is having the information and skills that build individual and family capacity to get, manage, and use their resources to maintain a healthy existence and achieve goals – not just to survive, but to thrive. Successful programs use more than one approach, based on the needs of the participants, to link participants to actions such as accessing appropriate financial products and services. They integrate financial education into other systems, such as how to acquire a home, auto or other practical investment. Programs support development of financial goals so that participants’ dreams are supported.

  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties – Financial Well-Being Programs
Health

Goal: Improve the health and safety of residents
The health of our citizens is, in fact, a strong indicator of the health of our community. To achieve positive health outcomes over time, experts stress the importance of recognizing the links between one’s physical environment and the impacts of social and economic determinants of their health. A poor education and income can be a barrier to good health. Alternatively, a good education and income can be undercut by poor health. Evidence also strongly suggests that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as exposure to trauma (violence, abuse or neglect) or insufficient basic needs can have lasting negative effects. And, domestic violence and sexual assault continue to affect our friends and neighbors. These issues can be difficult topics to address, but the fact remains that many families in our community need help and support in these areas. Partner programs support these individuals to help them move toward recovery.

Youth Safety
These programs focus on building quality relationships and environments that can reduce the occurrence and negative effects of adverse childhood experiences by addressing the stability, emotional, and safety factors within the child’s social or physical environment:

  • CASA for Lancaster County – Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
  • CEDARS Youth Services – Home Based Prevention Programs
  • Lincoln Medical Education Partnership – School Community Intervention & Prevention (SCIP) Program

Youth Behavioral Health
A U.S. Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control study estimated that 40 percent of children experienced physical violence, 13 percent of children experienced maltreatment, and 10 percent of adolescent girls experienced sexual assault or abuse. These adverse childhood experiences (ACES) have profound effects on youth mental and behavioral health. Studies show that half of all lifetime cases of a mental illness begin to develop before age 14, and one in five students between the ages of 13–18 live with a mental condition. While many turn to positive resources to find help with their condition, others turn to substance abuse to cope. These programs serve children and youth by providing professional intervention and prevention, clinical treatment, counseling, and/or therapeutic case management. Successful programs will use qualified, professional staff, accredited programming, and typically invest significant time in each client to achieve lasting, long-term results:

HopeSpoke – Outpatient Services

  • Family Service Association of Lincoln – Behavioral Health
  • Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska– Children’s Behavioral Health
  • Mourning Hope Grief Center – Grief Support Services and Community Outreach

Disaster Preparedness/Relief
These programs connect and mobilize resources to build community response and provide support to people affected by fires and disasters:

  • American Red Cross – Capital Area & Eastern Nebraska – Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery
  • The Salvation Army – Lincoln – Disaster Services

Domestic Violence Recovery
Health experts and policy advocates have long stressed the importance of improving or maintaining healthy home and neighborhood environments for individuals and families. Unfortunately, too many people in our community experience instances of neglect or abuse from their own family. These instances have lasting outcomes, as there are well-established associations between childhood abuse or neglect and educational performance. In addition, child and partner abuse are the leading causes of homelessness among children and adult women. Victims’ mental health also becomes a concern, as post-traumatic stress disorders are common, including depression, anger and anxiety. These programs provide stability for victims of domestic violence through emergency and transitional shelters and case management services, such as crisis services, advocacy and prevention, support and outreach, counseling and/or legal assistance:

  • Catholic Social Services – St. Gianna’s Transitional Shelter
  • El Centro de las Américas – “Mujeres en Confianza” (Women Among Friends)
  • Friendship Home of Lincoln, Inc. – Emergency Shelter Program
  • Legal Aid of Nebraska – Domestic Violence Representation Project
  • Monica’s Behavioral Health Services for Women – Project Mother & Child
  • Voices of Hope – Crisis Intervention & Advocacy

Sexual Assault Recovery                                                                                                                                These programs provide stability for victims of sexual assault through emergency and transitional shelters and case management services, such as crisis services, advocacy and prevention, support and outreach, counseling and/or legal assistance:

  • Child Advocacy Center – Direct Services to Child Victims of Abuse
  • Voices of Hope – Crisis Intervention & Advocacy

Chronic Illness
Chronic illness and disability can have damaging, even catastrophic, socioeconomic effects on individuals and their households. Care and management of chronic conditions creates ongoing financial pressure due to high costs of treatment, medications and assistive equipment. Those affected may not be able to afford other necessities to help manage their illness such as healthy food and exercise. Sometimes, even the bare minimum of living costs such as housing, utilities or clothing present challenges. It can also impact family members in taking off work to care for a loved one and the burden of transportation costs can add up.

Combined Health Agencies Drive

CHAD-funded charities support individuals and families facing chronic disease, disabilities and end-of-life issues. Funding provides care and support; education and prevention programs in our communities; and advocacy and medical research.

  • The ALS Association Mid-America Chapter
  • Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter
  • American Lung Association in Nebraska
  • Arthritis Foundation Nebraska
  • Autism Action Partnership
  • Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska
  • Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Nebraska/Iowa Chapter
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Nebraska Chapter
  • JDRF International – Heartland Chapter, Lincoln and Greater Nebraska
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Nebraska Chapter
  • March of Dimes, Nebraska & Western Iowa Market
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association of Nebraska
  • National MS Society – Mid America Chapter
  • Nebraska AIDS Project
  • Nebraska Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation
  • Nebraska Community Blood Bank
  • Nebraska Hospice and Palliative Care Association
  • Nebraska Kidney Association
  • Susan G. Komen® Great Plains
  • Team Jack Foundation
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska

The Community Impact Collaborative Initiatives are initiatives and partnerships that cannot be conducted by one agency or program alone. These initiatives require combined resources and community partnerships to improve community conditions and access to human services.

Community Impact Collaborative Initiatives

2-1-1 Call Center
Provides local support for a nationwide, toll-free, 24-hour information call center which provides referrals and information for human service needs.

The Career Academy
Supports scholarships for low-income students to attend The Career Academy, preparing them for higher education or post-high school opportunities in the workforce.

Community Learning Centers (CLC)
Supports the CLC Initiative to improve learning, strengthen families and engage neighborhoods.

Data Tracking Project
Gathers and analyzes community data and trends of hunger issues in the community through Service Point.

Early Care Quality Initiative
A two-year effort focused on supporting early childcare settings in moving toward the Nebraska Department of Education “Step-up to Quality” service delivery standards.

Summer Food Program
Partners with the Food Bank of Lincoln to provide lunch for children in low-income neighborhoods through the summer months. 

Women in Philanthropy – Helping Hands Auction                    

United Way’s Annual Helping Hands Auction raises funds for winter clothing and diapers for children, as well as camp scholarships for children with a chronic health condition:

  • CEDARS Youth Services – Early Childhood Development Centers
  • Child Advocacy Center – Direct Services to Child Victims of Abuse
  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties – Early Head Start & Head Start
  • Friendship Home of Lincoln, Inc. – Emergency Shelter Program
  • Good Neighbor Community Center – Basic Needs
  • The HUB – Central Access Point for Young Adults – Youth and Community Together (YouthACT)
  • Lincoln Public Schools – Two Generation Family Literacy Program
  • Northeast Family Center – Parents as Partners Program
  • The Salvation Army – Lincoln – Emergency Food Assistance Program/Disaster Services
  • Voices of Hope – Crisis Intervention & Advocacy
ENGAGE. EMPOWER. GRADUATE.

This initiative is a joint undertaking by the Women United (WU) and the Emerging Leaders United (ELU). Together we’re identifying and addressing the disadvantages that children and families face in local elementary school communities to ensure children and their families, regardless of circumstances, have the opportunity to succeed in school and life through these key strategies:

Early Childhood Development

  • Goal: Preparing children for kindergarten

Family Engagement and Support

  • Goal: Engaging parents with the schoo

Adult Education

  • Goal: Teaching both parents and students English

Mental Health and Family Support

  • Goal: Address behavioral and emotional barriers to learning through the support of a school-based therapist

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Goal: Enrichment outside of the classroom to enhance development opportunities and reduce summertime grade level loss

Youth Development

  • Goal: Providing students with strong role models through mentoring relationships to foster educational engagement 

Prevention Services

  • Goal: Reaching out to families in their homes to build safe environments and prevent child entrance into protective service