United Way Working Bridges

Courtesy Photo

An employee at Superior Technical Ceramics meets with a United Way Working Bridges Resource Coordinator. Resource coordinators offer financial coaching and a range of supports to help employees access community resources and navigate life challenges that impact their ability to maintain stable employment.

 

United Way of Northwest Vermont, an organization dedicated to improving lives in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, will distribute $880,000 in 2023 to 32 organizations that are meeting an array of interconnected needs in the community.  

The partner funding, which the United Way board of directors unanimously approved at its May meeting, will support organizations that address United Way’s five key strategies: meeting basic needs (housing, food, transportation), supporting families, promoting mental health, reducing substance misuse and fostering financial stability.  

“Community giving makes this funding possible. These are local dollars supporting local organizations improving the lives of our family, friends and neighbors across Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties,” said UWNWVT CEO Jesse Bridges.   

These grants will help United Way’s funded partners respond to a wide variety of needs across our region. Some of the services this funding will support include:  

·         Emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness and people fleeing domestic violence; housing retention services to help people not lose their homes; and alternative housing options for older adults, people with disabilities, and people with limited financial means. 

·         Services and resources to help people gain financial stability and to meet their basic needs, including food security. 

·         Support for parents and families, including home visiting, early childhood services, parenting support and education. 

·         Accessible and appropriate mental health services and resources for people of all ages. 

·         Recovery and wellness support for individuals, parents, and families to reduce impacts of substance misuse. 

·         A wide range of services and supports for all members of our community, including older adults, people with intellectual disabilities and autism, New Americans, people living with chronic conditions, and more. 

United Way’s work, including the partner funding process, is 100 percent community driven. Our Partner Funding Team – a group of citizen volunteers who live, work and play in Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin counties – reviews funding applications and visits with funded partners each year to engage in deep learning about challenges and successes.  

 “United Way’s relationship with our funded partners is rooted in deep trust and mutual respect. The work these organizations are doing is complex and the need is great. They face similar challenges including staffing shortages and burnout; acute mental health challenges and increased overdoses and substance misuse; and scarcity of affordable housing and other basic needs for clients and staff. Yet, every day our partners show up for our community and come together to find solutions. It’s inspiring to work alongside people so dedicated to making our communities stronger,” said United Way Community Impact Manager Megan Bridges.   

Funded partners told volunteers that flexible funding from United Way has been essential to their ability to adapt to changing community conditions and to use their resources in ways that best meet local needs. 

Partner funding is one of the many ways United Way amplifies contributions from local donors and volunteers. United Way also invests in the community by convening community members and organizations to create systems change. Current strategic initiatives include United Way’s Mental Health Initiative and Northwest Vermont Prevention Network which focuses on preventing youth substance misuse. United Way also invests in its own direct service programs like Working Bridges, volunteer programs for older Vermonters, and Common Good Vermont. 

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