Because of systemic racism and discrimination, people of color—in particular Black, Latino and Indigenous people—are impacted by homelessness, education inequities and poverty at higher rates than white people.
The pandemic shined a light on the depth of these inequities. From infection rates to unemployment, homelessness and food insecurity, this crisis hit people of color the hardest.
At United Way, we address inequities head-on by investing to reduce disparities. We also invest in community-based organizations that help people of color overcome barriers that keep them from obtaining housing and employment and accessing a quality education.
People have homes
Families are financially stable
We believe that income, ZIP code and race shouldn’t influence success in school. But right now, they do. We’re helping students graduate because we know that, for an individual or household, education is the best way to avoid or escape poverty.
Students of color are significantly impacted by many persistent inequities in the educational system, largely because our education system was designed for white, middle-class students.
We’ve found success in combating these systemic barriers when we partner with the community. That’s why we’re investing in ethnic- and culturally-integrative programs as well as targeting high-need areas and campuses that serve low-income communities.
Staffed by a mix of professional staff, AmeriCorps members and other providers, we work to ensure services, including one-time emergency grants, housing support, tax help, food pantries and financial coaching, are offered at convenient hours and in multiple languages. During the pandemic, to meet increases in requests for services, support was made easier through online and app support.
It honestly saved us a lot of anxiety and worry. If it wasn’t there, I absolutely don’t know where we would have gotten the money for rent.
students accessing support last year during the pandemic
increase in education persistence rate for students of color (+9% overall)
campus locations across King County
Families with 2- and 3-year-olds are matched with highly trained early learning specialists of the same language and cultural background who typically visit them in their home twice a week, supporting parents in preparing their kids for school and modelling interaction with books and toys. During the pandemic, the program moved to video conferencing to continue education. Early in the pandemic, donor dollars allowed us to invest in Black, Indigenous and people of color-led ParentChild+ organizations so that they had flexible dollars to use as they were most needed.
Learning together was wonderful for our relationship. He listens better and is more focused.
families supported last year during the pandemic
average completion rate of the 2-year program
Because we nurture close relationships with program providers and track results, we know when things are working well. When we identify program opportunities, we have the expertise, leverage and—thanks to donors—the resources to help expand programs like ParentChild+ to reach more families in more neighborhoods across King County.
The youth we help reconnect with their education have access to 1:1 mentoring, tutoring, and college and career navigation. Flexible schedules and targeted support help make this program successful and, to serve more youth better, capacity has been increased in geographic areas where we’ve seen higher need.
The best thing about being back on track is that I don’t need to lie to my parents.
youth served last year
of students attaining credentials last year were students of color
$10,000 = 10 students able to stay in school through emergency grant support. You’ll also join other Champion donors, who invest to make a lasting impact.
$1,200 = 10 youth able to take the four GED tests necessary to finish their high school education. A gift at this level makes you a part of the Change Maker community.
$365 = supply isolated low-income families with books and educational materials to help prepare their children for kindergarten. This donation will also connect you with Emerging Leaders 365 donors, a group of young professionals making an impact.
Before the pandemic, the wealth gap in Seattle was significant. The pandemic has only increased that gap. Because of this, we help people get on stable financial ground so they can work toward a better future.
People of color experience poverty at a disproportionate rate in King County. To fight this, we invest in strategies and agencies that specifically meet the needs of communities of color, improve outreach to those communities and reduce barriers to accessing support.
Because of COVID-19, the needs of the most vulnerable people in Seattle and King County are increasing, and that group of people is growing—there are people who need help today that have never needed help before. The relief fund supports those impacted by the pandemic and it allows donors to direct gifts to an area of preference: rental assistance, hunger relief or where the need is greatest.
households received rental assistance during pandemic*
deliveries of groceries during pandemic*
The program focuses on getting families stable so they can get ahead. By securing and leveraging federal funds locally, students get access to free meals year-round and families are able to save money in food costs. During the pandemic, the program has evolved to provide emergency hunger relief to thousands facing food insecurity.
deliveries of groceries during pandemic*
meals provided per day during pandemic* (up from 10,000 before the pandemic)
children received additional benefits through Pandemic EBT*
When tax time comes around, thousands of hard‐working people in King County face race, age, income, language or disability barriers when trying to access tax support. The Free Tax Preparation Program combats these barriers by offering free tax preparation services in a number of ways and languages, helping ensure hard-working people get every credit and dollar they deserve.
We Can Enable Over 10,000 Stories of Opportunity
When talking numbers, it’s easy to forget the outcomes those numbers speak to. With over 10,000 tax returns filed on behalf of others here in King County—helping maximize their tax refunds and credits—that’s 10,000 different stories, each year, of doors opening for individuals and families to have greater financial futures in our community.
total dollar amount in refunds last tax season
tax returns filed last tax season
We live in a community with world-class businesses and innovators that has experienced economic devastation as a result of the pandemic. The homelessness crisis that existed before COVID-19 will only get worse as people struggle to gain employment. More workers will be left behind as they fight to make ends meet.
people experiencing homelessness
more of our neighbors left without a home
In King County people of color make up around only 33% of the general population, but 52% of individuals experiencing homelessness identify as people of color.† Structural racism drives this inequity.
To counteract that inequity and fight the root causes of homelessness, we focus on, and invest in organizations and service providers who address racial disparities and equity gaps as they support people experiencing homelessness.
This program to prevent evictions and fight homelessness before it starts was rebuilt to provide rental assistance to people who lost income due to the pandemic. Rental assistance is a crucial step in stopping the future pipeline into homelessness.
$10,000 = help up to 10 people move off the streets through Streets to Home. You’ll also join other Champion donors, who invest to make a lasting impact.
$1,200 = help one family on the brink of eviction stay in their home. A gift at this level also makes you a part of the Change Maker collective of donors.
$365 = 20+ packs full of supplies for people experiencing homelessness. This donation will also connect you with Emerging Leaders 365 donors, a group of young professionals making an impact.
households received rental assistance during pandemic*
leveraged to keep people safely housed during pandemic*
of households helped during pandemic were headed by a person of color*
‘‘Homelessness is a crisis in our city. United Way has found some innovative solutions that are helping thousands of families.
Ensuring people have both stable housing and income is necessary in the fight against homelessness. Outreach workers from homeless and mental health organizations connect and partner with people experiencing homelessness to understand their unique needs. Flexible dollars are available to break down barriers toward stable housing and income.
people moved into housing
of people housed were people of color
people connected to jobs
of people connected to jobs were people of color
Our work battling homelessness, poverty and lack of quality education continues even as we respond to the impacts of the pandemic and support the recovery of the community. Together with our volunteers, donors and partners from government, private and public sectors, we identify the most critical needs in the community, and we do everything we can to lift up the most vulnerable among us.
We’re proud of how we’ve adapted during the pandemic, but we can’t do it alone.
As a United Way donor, you are a part of a powerful swell of collective giving aimed at fighting homelessness, helping students graduate and breaking the cycle of poverty. Donate today and join thousands of like-minded peers at exclusive volunteer, education and networking events to further the impact of your donation.
Want to make a bigger difference? Join a United Way giving community! The impact of your investment will go even further in the community and you’ll be in the know about events, volunteer opportunities and educational resources across the region.
Help us fight homelessness, help students graduate and help families be financially stable in our community