Our BOLD GOAL: Lifting 30% of families out of poverty by 2030.
How did we get to this goal?
For over 55 years, your support of United Way of Lewis County has addressed critical community needs like hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Your generous support has provided a hand-up to individuals and families facing hardship and impacted thousands of lives across our community. In 2017, United Way's Board of Directors adopted a new, strategic goal and unanimously agreed that to improve our community, systemic, social change needs to take place. The challenges our community faces require a level of collaboration beyond what any single organization can accomplish alone.
Through research, community conversations, and input from key leaders and stakeholders, United Way of Lewis County adopted a new strategic goal that will create long-term stability for families. We are committed to expanding opportunities for families in poverty; creating pathways to financial stability.
To break the cycle of poverty for over 13,000 families in Lewis County, we need to make difficult decisions and change what we know has not been working. Our community is faced with a situation where solutions to problems do not match the barriers families face when living in poverty.
We must come together as a community and create collaborative, strategic approaches to help families move from a life of poverty, to a life of prosperity.
Did you know...
- 47% of Lewis County households struggle to meet their most basic needs (of this, 33% represent the ALICE population - Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed)
For children under 18 years old, nearly 20% are living in poverty in Lewis County.
The largest expense for a family of four is child care, representing over 23% of a household budget. (~$1,200/month)
Only 52% of Lewis County children enter Kindergarten ready to learn.
Poverty is a huge issue and is bigger than any one person or organization can tackle alone. That’s why the role of your United Way is evolving; leading the movement to bring the community together to support our struggling families on a deeper level. Right here in our own back yard, over 13,000 households are having to make tough choices between quality child care, transportation, healthcare, and feeding their families. When communities have high poverty rates, the need for public assistance increases, economic development suffers, and crime rates soar.
The poverty rate in Lewis County is 14%, which is 3% higher than the state average of 11%. According to the Federal Government, poverty is defined as a family of four living on less than $24,300 per year. However, based on the recent United Way ALICE study, families that live just above the Federal Poverty threshold represent 33% of Lewis County - our ALICE households, or the working poor.
Studies indicate children without early learning opportunities, especially those who experience poverty, will experience reduced earning potential, higher dropout rates and increased chances of incarceration. When youth do not graduate from high school, they are less likely to achieve income stability and are more likely to raise families in poverty/ALICE. The foundation for children’s success is set in the earliest years.