United Way Launches Holiday Gift Drive to Support Bay Area Families and Seniors in Need

LIVE UNITED Holiday Campaign Kicks Off in Time for Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday.

United Way of the Bay Area Logo

San Francisco, CA, USA (November 25, 2014) — United Way of the Bay Area today announced the launch of its LIVE UNITED holiday campaign, including a gift drive for individuals, community organizations and businesses that want to support local families in need. The poverty-fighting organization has also released a toolkit to support gift drive participants, which includes a list of most-needed items, suggestions for getting others involved and instructions for dropping off the gift bags.

“At United Way, we talk a lot about what it means to LIVE UNITED-especially during the holidays. For us, it’s about doing our part to support those in need throughout our community. Volunteering is an easy and fun way to help-and spread holiday cheer,” said Sarah Burton, Director of Volunteer Engagement.

The holiday gift bag drive invites community members to LIVE UNITED by supporting low-income children, families and seniors across the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants are encouraged to get family members and friends involved in the collection of items by requesting houseguests to bring one item each to holiday gatherings. The most-needed items include warm clothing, toys, canned or boxed food, and personal care products. Grocery store gift cards are also immensely helpful to low-income parents and seniors. Donations should be delivered to United Way of the Bay Area’s San Francisco office at 550 Kearny Street, 10th Floor, or Oakland office at 1970 Broadway, Suite 400.

Participants and the general public are also invited to share their stories of how they LIVE UNITED by giving back to the community at http://uwba.org/live-united. Like Zoila, for example, who went from client to staff member at one of United Way’s SparkPoint Centers: “I want people to have the same opportunities as I had. That’s how I LIVE UNITED.”

A recent research brief issued by United Way of the Bay Area revealed that 29 percent of Bay Area households live below self-sufficiency, meaning these individuals cannot afford basic necessities like housing, food and health care. The holiday gift drive is just one of the many ways that United Way combats poverty through giving, advocacy and volunteerism.

Learn more about the holiday gift drive and additional holiday volunteer opportunities at http://uwba.org/volunteer. Read stories about Bay Area residents LIVING UNITED and share your own at http://uwba.org/live-united.

About United Way of the Bay Area
United Way of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization, leading a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. We’re harnessing the collective power of nonprofits, government, corporations, labor and thousands of individuals to create change through giving, advocating, and volunteering. Every year, our programs – SparkPoint, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, 211, MatchBridge and Community Schools – help more than 250,000 Bay Area residents. We connect people to food and shelter, put people back to work, bring tax dollars back to our community, help youth succeed in school and in the workplace, and move people toward financial stability. Founded in 1922, United Way of the Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties. For more information, visit http://uwba.org.

Media Contact:
Erica Johnson
415-808-4308
ejohnson@uwba.org

San Francisco Business Times Honors United Way’s Anne Wilson as Most Admired CEO

Chief Executive Celebrated for Leading the Fight Against Bay Area Poverty.

United Way of the Bay Area Logo

San Francisco, CA, USA (November 14, 2014) — Anne Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of United Way of the Bay Area, was honored as a Most Admired CEO at the San Francisco Business Times gala awards dinner on Wednesday. This prestigious event honored the great leadership, vision and values of eleven San Francisco executives.

“The Most Admired CEOs Awards program is an opportunity to recognize the work and contributions of CEOs that make the Bay Area such a special place to live and work,” said Mary Huss, publisher of the San Francisco Business Times.

Wilson is recognized for transforming United Way of the Bay Area from a community fundraiser into a leader in the fight against poverty. United Way of the Bay Area runs five poverty-fighting programs across seven Bay Area counties, and touches the lives of hundreds of thousands each year. In 2010, the organization declared a goal to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020.

“We’ve reinvented ourselves, brought in new partners and aligned everything we do to create pathways out of poverty,” said Wilson.

The Chief Executive first joined United Way of the Bay Area more than thirty years ago while she was completing her master’s degree at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare. Wilson became the organization’s first female Chief Executive Officer in 2000, and for the last nine years she’s been named one of San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women.

Also honored at the 2014 Most Admired CEO Awards were the following executives:

Regis Kelly, QB3
Bonnie Anderson, Veracyte
Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants
George John, Rocket Fuel
Alan Johnson, BevMo
Tom Lee, M.D., One Medical Group
Alex Mehran Sr., Sunset Development
Kim Popovits, Genomic Health
Hemant Shah, RMS
Julie Wainwright, The RealReal

About United Way of the Bay Area
United Way of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization, leading a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. We’re harnessing the collective power of nonprofits, government, corporations, labor and thousands of individuals to create change through giving, advocating, and volunteering. Every year, our programs – SparkPoint, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, 211, MatchBridge and Community Schools – help more than 250,000 Bay Area residents. We connect people to food and shelter, put people back to work, bring tax dollars back to our community, help youth succeed in school and in the workplace, and move people toward financial stability. Founded in 1922, United Way of the Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties. For more information, visit http://www.uwba.org.

Media Contact:
Erica Johnson
415-808-4308
ejohnson@uwba.org

New United Way Report Shows 29% of Bay Area Households Are Struggling to Afford Basic Needs

Some Families Need Four Minimum Wage Workers to Make Ends Meet.

United Way of the Bay Area Logo

San Francisco, CA, USA (October 23, 2014) — Struggling to Make Ends Meet on Minimum Wage, new brief by United Way of the Bay Area, reveals that as of 2012, 29% of Bay Area households were struggling to cover the cost of basic needs. That’s 657,000 households that cannot afford critical needs like housing, food, health care and child care. According to the brief, the post-recession recovery has yet to be felt by many Bay Area households because wages for low-income workers have failed to keep up with the high cost of living.

Since 2008, the overall cost of living has increased by an average of 26% in San Francisco and 24% in Alameda County. Monthly housing expenses for a San Francisco family with two adults and two children cost an average of $1,444 in 2008, but that number jumped to $1,896 in 2014.

Yet average wages increased just 7% for the lowest-paid workers between 2007 and 2012. According to the California Self-Sufficiency Standard, a San Francisco family with two adults and two children would need to earn $79,092 annually to cover the cost of basic needs. That would require four full-time jobs at San Francisco’s hourly minimum of $10.74. In Alameda, the same family would need to earn $72,830 annually to cover the cost of basic needs. At Alameda’s $9 per hour minimum wage, that would also require four full-time jobs.

Because the cost of living in the Bay Area is so much higher than the national average, the Self-Sufficiency Standard is a much more accurate predictor of need than the Federal Poverty Line for California households. The Self-Sufficiency Standard calculates the income needed to cover the true cost of basic needs in the specific county where an individual or family lives.

“It’s unrealistic that parents could work four full-time minimum wage jobs to cover the cost of basic needs for their families,” said Anne Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at United Way of the Bay Area. “United Way of the Bay Area is proud to join a broad coalition of civic leaders in supporting Proposition J in San Francisco and Measure FF in Oakland, which will help more Bay Area households move closer to achieving self-sufficiency.”

Proposition J would phase in a higher minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four years and benefit more than 23% of San Francisco’s workforce. Measure FF would increase Oakland’s minimum wage to $12.25 and benefit up to 30% of the city’s workers.

In addition to raising the minimum wage, United Way of the Bay Area supports other key strategies to boost family stability: 1) increase job training to help critical populations acquire the skills needed to attain higher-wage jobs, 2) change policies to reward people for moving off safety net benefits, and 3) boost collaboration among agencies to increase the accessibility of support services.

View the self-sufficiency brief, Struggling to Make Ends Meet on Minimum Wage at uwba.org/research-publications. Data for each of the nine Bay Area counties is available upon request.

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About United Way of the Bay Area
United Way of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization, leading a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. We’re harnessing the collective power of nonprofits, government, corporations, labor and thousands of individuals to create change through giving, advocating, and volunteering. Every year, our programs – SparkPoint, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, 211, MatchBridge and Community Schools – help more than 250,000 Bay Area residents. We connect people to food and shelter, put people back to work, bring tax dollars back to our community, help youth succeed in school and in the workplace, and move people toward financial stability. Founded in 1922, United Way of the Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties. For more information, visit http://www.uwba.org.

Media Contact:
Erica Johnson
415-808-4308
ejohnson@uwba.org