United Way brings communities together to focus on the most important needs in the community -- building partnerships, forging consensus and leveraging resources to make a measurable difference.
With a new business plan, known as the Agenda for Change, we aim to help more individuals and families across Southeastern Michigan attain the resources they need to help themselves realize brighter futures. We will accomplish this by focusing our work for the next 10 years on educational preparedness, financial stability and basic needs.
The mission of United Way for Southeastern Michigan is to mobilize the caring power of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan to improve communities and individual lives in measurable and lasting ways
The boards of directors of United Way Community Services and United Way of Oakland County voted on March 17, 2005, to create a new United Way to best serve this region.
Ralph W. Babb, Jr., chairman & CEO, Comerica Incorporated and chair of United Way Community Services' board of directors; and Jeff Love, president, Baker College of Auburn Hills and chair of United Way of Oakland County's board of directors, made the announcement. The new organization serves Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. It was named United Way for Southeastern Michigan, effective April 1, 2005.
United Way Initiatives Every day, UWSEM works to improve lives and build stronger communities by providing brighter futures for children and adults across the region. Our initiatives produce real, lasting results.
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) -- To date, 161 IDA participants have used their savings and matching funds provided by United Way on 63 home mortgages, 18 new or expanded businesses and 80 educational purchases. IDA participants have closed on more than $6.2 million in mortgages, with the average home price topping $100,000.
Success by 6 -- More than 6,500 area families were exposed to quality child development programming, or received parent coaching and support through Success by 6 during the past year. For instance, the Children’s Early Literacy Imagination Library registered nearly 600 children in its book a month program in just four months.
United Way 2-1-1 – Connects users to more than 7,000 helpful programs, 24 hours a day, in multiple languages. Also links callers to opportunities to volunteer or donate. In 2006, its first year, 2-1-1 handled more than 100,000 calls, and that volume is expected to top 150,000 calls this year.
Virgil H. Carr School Attendance Initiative -- Through the initiative, 346 students (grades K-8) from 12 schools, and their families, are receiving the support necessary to increase poor school attendance rates. More than140 students improved attendance records, resulting in 692 more days spent in school, during the first monitored reporting period.
Women’s Initiative Early Childhood Literacy Program -- Over 200 area families have received literacy training in their homes. As a result, 57 percent of the preschoolers involved are better able to recognize letters, 61 percent have substantially improved their awareness of printed materials and 43 percent more of them are asking parents to read to them every day
George Romney Volunteer Center – The center has referred 18,693 individuals to service opportunities across the region over the past year. During that time, volunteers have contributed over 1,100 hours to helping others. The volunteer center promotes nearly 400 service projects available through 194 area agencies.
Breakthrough Strategies We are involved in a number of efforts aligned with our Agenda focus areas, including:
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Initiative – United Way helped recruit 100 volunteer tax preparers to help complete returns for low-income individuals this past season. These volunteers completed returns for 1,127 taxpayers, allowing them to claim $973,716 in tax refunds and credits.
Foreclosure Prevention Forums – Brought together lenders, legal professionals, educators and public sector leaders to provide foreclosure prevention strate
Educational Preparedness · Through Success by 6, more than 7,700 area children and families gained access to licensed childcare facilities in the past year. · The Women’s Initiative Early Childhood Literacy Program has served more than 200 families. Among them, parental awareness about the importance of reading has increased 90 percent and 57 percent of preschoolers have shown an increase in letter recognition. · The Virgil H. Carr School Attendance Initiative is working with 346 students at 12 local elementary and middle schools. After the first reporting period, over 140 students had improved their attendance records and combined, they spent 692 more days in school.
Financial Stability · More than 4,500 individuals gained access to available jobs and resources to overcome barriers to employment at the 2007 Southeast Michigan Employment, Training and Family Resource Expo. · Nearly $975,000 in tax credits was returned to residents during the 2007 tax season as a result of our Earned Income Tax Credit initiative.
Basic Needs · Twenty wheelchair ramps were built at area homes in the past year through the Ray West Memorial Ramp Project. The ramps provide individuals with disabilities an opportunity to reclaim their independence. · United Way 2-1-1 will connect over 150,000 individuals to crucial resources this year -- an all-time high.
Community Support & Engagement · The George W. Romney Volunteer Center referred nearly 19,000 individuals to service opportunities throughout the region in the past year. Volunteers contributed more than 1,100 hours of service.