United Way


  • Because That’s What We Do: A Snapshot of Jackson County’s Compassion By Ken Toll One look at that photograph wiped away my fatigue and anxiety. Nine people stand in the neat, brightly lit lobby of a local hotel. One of them is in a wheelchair. Two or three, perhaps not fans of being photographed, look on warily. But the rest offer gleeful smiles. They were about to begin a week of modern hotel living, basking in clean linens and hot showers and cable TV. Every one of them is homeless. Before Friday night, they were clustered together at Jackson Interfaith Shelter along with dozens of others, glad for a place to sleep but worried ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Action Changes a Teen’s Life Teenage years should be full of fun, learning and growth as they prepare for adulthood. Sadly, for many it can be a time of crisis—and that can set them up for lifelong challenges. We partner with Do’chas in support of their crisis intervention strategies to help teens thrive. One particular program, Teens In Action, has had a powerful, positive effect on self-esteem: A teenage girl in the Teens In Action (TIA) program became more confident, more outgoing, and more willing to speak up. So profound was her change that her school and family noticed. The girl said she believes TIA has helped her develop ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Bringing Tax Dollars Home Imagine the impact on local families and the local economy when every resident gets the tax refund they deserve! Yet “doing your taxes” is stressful, confusing and time-intensive. For families struggling financially, that’s an added burden. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Community Action Agency to support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. VITA deploys volunteer tax preparers to help people file accurate returns while getting the credits they qualify for. For example, nationally the average Earned Income Tax Credit refund exceeds $2,400. Multiply that across a community, and the impact for families and the economy is huge! Beyond that, there’s ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Caring for Our Children Nothing is more precious than our children. They’re the future of our community and of our world. They also require compassionate, stable care—and that often presents problems for working (or ALICE) families. When a child is sick or out of school due to vacation, for instance, the cost of emergency child care may go beyond a working parent’s ability to afford. That might cost the parent wages or even their job. Fortunately, our partnership with Felician Children’s Center helps fill that gap. Here’s how: When summer break left working families without child care options, the Felician Children’s Center was able to step ... Read more
  • IMPACT! How Compassion Makes a Difference Sometimes it takes just a little empathy for another person to make a profound and powerful difference. Among the champions of compassion in Jackson County are Trusted Advisors, part of the Great Start Collaborative led by Jackson County Intermediate School District with support from United Way. Here’s one example of how a little effort and compassion by Trusted Advisors made a difference: A hearing-impaired mom and her daughter were homeless and staying in a local shelter when they encountered a Trusted Advisor. The mom was reluctant to share her needs and personal information; what’s more, due to her hearing problem, communication ... Read more
  • IMPACT! A Stable Home Changes a Life Financial stability means stability in every element of a person’s life. United Way of Jackson County’s partnership with the Jackson Housing Commission and its Support Services transformed a local life in an amazing way. Here’s the story: “Michael” set his mind to buying a fixer-upper home so he and his family wouldn’t have to keep staying with relatives. His ambition dovetailed with his internship with JHC to learn maintenance skills and structured employment readiness. Michael succeeded immensely—so well, in fact, that after graduation he got a job offer from JHC. He’s also applied his learnings to setting an example for his ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Moving from Trauma to Educational Success Trauma has a direct impact on a student’s ability to learn and succeed in school. They’re distracted in class, unable to study or do well on a test, and can have lower IQ scores and reading ability. In fact, some victims avoid school altogether. That’s where United Way funded programming through Family Service & Children’s Aid is helping young people who face difficulties due to trauma outside the classroom find a path to school success, which equips them to succeed for a lifetime. Here’s an example: “Joseph,” an 18-year-old high schooler with an infant son, needed intensive counseling to deal ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Empowering a Financially Stable Future Giving people the tools they need to build their own financially stable futures is a key element of United Way’s work in Jackson County. We’re investing in Community Action Agency’s Financial Empowerment Program to do just that. Check out this recent success story: During a conversation with a CAA client who recently completed the online Homebuyer Education program, he shared that completion of the FREE Financial Stability courses gave him the confidence and knowledge to increase his credit score and lower his debt-to-income ratios. This resulted in approval of his mortgage loan—meaning he is closing on the purchase of his first-ever ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Long-term Mentoring Changes Lives None of us is born with all the knowledge and experience we need to succeed in life. At some point along the way, others teach and mentor us. Knowing this, United Way invests in site-based mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County, bringing Bigs right to the classroom, library, community center or other site to coach and inspire their Littles. See how that commitment changes young lives: Two high school seniors who graduated from Jackson County schools in 2019 had been mentored by their Bigs for more than five years each. That long-term commitment made a powerful difference for ... Read more
  • IMPACT! Finding Hope Beyond Addiction Achieving a financially stable life isn’t just about money. Many people face barriers that keep them from believing in a hopeful future. Domestic violence and addiction are two such barriers. Our partnership with AWARE Inc. does more than provide shelter for victims of violence; it also puts people who are struggling with substance abuse on the road to a better life. Here’s one example: A survivor of domestic violence in emergency shelter with AWARE, Inc. needed help with her addiction. AWARE connected her with Training and Treatment Innovations, a program that uses clinical best practices to inspire healthy living, empowerment and recovery while promoting ... Read more