March 2012 eNewsletter OUR WEBSITE ABOUT US SUBSCRIBE
MILLION DOLLAR CAMPAIGNS: H-E-B NuStar Energy USAA Valero

IN THIS ISSUE:

Amato Named 2012 Campaign Chair

U.S. Secretary of Education to Visit San Antonio 3/7-9

SA Youth Provides Safe Learning Environment for At-Risk Urban Youth

Child Support for College Initiative

Got Volunteers?  Nominate them by 4/13

Free Tax Prep at 23 VITA Sites through April 17; New Site Opens at Ella Austin

Kids Day in the Park, 4/21

City Council, SAISD Board Briefed on Eastside Promise Neighborhood

SAHA Hosts Eastside Community Planning Meetings

Women’s Leadership Council Hosts Book Club Luncheon

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Amato Named 2012 Campaign Chair

Charlie Amato, Chairman/Co-founder of Southwest Business Corporation, has been named the 2012 United Way Campaign Chairman. With over 30 years of experience in all aspects of insurance operations, underwriting, and product development, Charlie is known in the business community for his innovative, relationship-building approach. An active participant in a variety of charitable and civic activities, Charlie has been a long-time member of United Ways Board of Trustees. He succeeds Curt Anastasio, President/CEO of NuStar Energy. United Way has a long tradition of helping people with basic needs – food, clothing, shelter and safety – and changing lives through strong, well-managed programs. United Way is also engaging the community to get to the heart of problems. In San Antonio, United Way focuses on improving early care and education for children, helping students succeed in school, strengthening families to become more financially stable, and transforming neighborhoods into safe, revitalized communities.

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U.S. Secretary of Education to Visit San Antonio 3/7-9
The 2012 White House Hispanic Community Action Summits will connect senior Obama Administration officials from diverse policy areas with Hispanic leaders, business owners, and other community stakeholders to discuss issues critical to the Hispanic community, San Antonio and the nation. The San Antonio Summit will feature U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who will engage with the Hispanic community to discuss critical topics like college affordability, dropout rates, teachers, and job training. Duncan also will be touring the Eastside Promise Neighborhood area. The Summit will be held March 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fox Tech High School, 637 N. Main Avenue. Click here to RSVP. For more information, please contact Henrietta Munoz at hmunoz@unitedwaysatx.org

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SA Youth Provides Safe Learning Environment for At-Risk Urban Youth

When 11-year-old Marina Sauceda started attending SA Youth’s St. Paul Center in 2009, she spoke no English. Today, she speaks the language fluently.  “I told her that if she learned English I would learn Spanish. I didn’t learn Spanish, but she stuck to her word,” Sayaunda Casey, St. Paul center coordinator, said laughing.

Marina, a shy fifth-grader at Douglas Elementary, enjoys going to SA Youth after the school bell rings. Along with learning to speak English, which has been a tremendous accomplishment, her grades in school have improved thanks to the help she receives with her homework from the teachers at SA Youth.

“It’s always a lot of fun to come here,” she said. “We do different things like reading classes, play games, art, and they help you with your homework.”

“I’m happy when I’m here…I have a lot of friends here.”

SA Youth has been serving at-risk, underprivileged children such as Marina for 28 years. Many of the organization’s 3,000 participants face difficult challenges and most likely would not receive support to complete their education if not for SA Youth.

The organization operates 18 community learning centers throughout San Antonio, mainly in South and West side, low-income neighborhoods. SA Youth provides school-aged children a free, safe place during their out-of-school time when they are at risk of juvenile crime and delinquency, Sayaunda said.

SA Youth also offers young adults, ages 16 to 24, an opportunity to earn their high school diploma or GED while receiving workforce training in construction, technology and the green jobs sector through its YouthBuild program. Regarding SA Youth’s out-of-school time program, there is not much Marina would be doing if it weren’t for the organization. Having only one sibling who is eight years older, she has no one to spend time with at home. She likes how SA Youth keeps her busy, and she always has someone to play with when she’s done with her studies.

“I’m happy when I’m here,” she said. “All the teachers are really nice, and I have a lot of friends here.”

Marina’s favorite subject is math. In fact, both her school teachers and her instructors at SA Youth have inspired her to become a math teacher when she grows up.

SA Youth, a United Way partner agency, is a 28-year-old nonprofit agency that works to promote the positive development of poor urban youth living in pockets of poverty and at the risk of dropping out of school. SA Youth also works to build positive assets in urban youth and help them achieve a healthy lifestyle.

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Child Support for College Initiative

RAISE Texas recently launched the Child Support for College Initiative (CS4C) to encourage long-term economic success for families in the child support system. The project, the first of its kind in the country, is a private initiative pilot that aims to encourage long-term financial success and economic stability for families in the child support system by providing assistance in starting an educational savings account for their children and get up to a $500 match. Parents with active child support cases in San Antonio, Austin, or Bryan/College Station areas can: 1) learn about ways to save for a child’s future educational expenses, 2) find out how to get up to a $500 match on the savings, and 3) attend free personal finance classes. The CS4C initiative combines the efforts of RAISE Texas, three nonprofit financial coaching entities, including United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, the Texas Attorney General-Child Support Division, and the LBJ School. Financial support to RAISE Texas to support this innovative project comes through a grant from Citi. To learn more and how to enroll, visit www.raisetexas.org/cs4c, call (210) 352-7067 or email c4c@unitedwaysatx.org.

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Got Volunteers?  Nominate them by 4/13

The Volunteer Center at United Way is seeking nominations for Volunteer of the Year awards in 17 categories.  All nominees will be guests of the Volunteer Center during the “Night of a Thousand Stars” on June 28, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Ballroom C. The Volunteer of the Year Awards is our community’s largest volunteer recognition event and promises great fun and entertainment. Nominees will receive a special memento of the evening, attend a VIP reception, and enter the dining area to applause and spotlight. And, here’s another reason to nominate--The Volunteer Center will award a $1,000 mini grant to recipients to provide to the agency that submitted a nomination in their name. The mini grants are intended for nonprofit organizations; recipients who are nominated by an individual or governmental organization can choose their qualified nonprofit agency. Submit your nomination now by clicking here. The deadline for nominations is April 13, 2012. For additional information, contact Esther Cantu at ecantu@unitedwaysatx.org.

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Free Tax Prep at 23 VITA Sites through April 17; New Site Opens at Ella Austin

San Antonio individuals and families earning up to $55,000 can get their taxes done for FREE at 23 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) locations across the city. The newest site is located on the Eastside at Ella Austin Community Center, 1023 North Pine Street. For a complete list of VITA sites, please click here.

San Antonio Leads the Nation in SaveUSA Average Savings
VITA customers who receive refunds have the option of participating in the SaveUSA match-savings program available at select sites. Tax filers who open a SaveUSA account with part of their refund for one year can receive a 50 percent match-deposit of up to $500 at the end of year. San Antonio leads the nation in SaveUSA average savings! In San Antonio, SaveUSA was offered at ACTN/Claude Black Community Center, Guadalupe Community Center, The Neighborhood Place and YWCA VITA sites during the 2011 tax season. United Way and partners successfully opened nearly 470 accounts with SaveUSA account holders pledging to save $268,921, an average of $575 per participant, which leads the nation ahead of Newark, New York City and Tulsa.

Locally, one in three pledged to save at the maximum amount of $1,000. United Way partnered with two financial institutions, Select Federal Credit Union and Citibank, to open SaveUSA Accounts at the VITA sites. SaveUSA participants were low-income with an average adjusted gross income of just over $20,000 and received an average tax refund of $3,461. Roughly two-thirds received the Earned Income Tax Credit, in an average amount of $2,556. Seventy-two percent of eligible savers received their 50 percent match on February 1, 2012. The average match was $306.35. As of February 8, 2012, San Antonio is close to 25 percent of its goal of 600.  One hundred forty-seven participants have signed up for a SaveUSA account. SaveUSA is supported by a grant from the federal Social Innovation Fund, administered by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Tax filers can also purchase a U.S. Savings Bond through a split-refund option at any VITA site. In addition the VITA site at St. Phillip’s College offers application assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to students and families during the tax season. For more information or to locate a nearby VITA site, tax filers can call United Way’s Help Line at 2-1-1 or go online to www.vitasa.org. Photo:  “I use my tax return money to pay my taxes and my bills,” said Sylvia (left). Christina (right) is volunteering as a tax preparer for the first time this year.

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Volunteer for Kids Day in the Park

Kids Day in the Park, a free event for parents and children age 10 and under, will be held on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at San Pedro Springs Park. There will be free, fun, developmentally appropriate activities, including exciting booths with art projects, games and special activities, as well as many performances and other surprises. Click here to volunteer or sign up for a booth. For additional information, please contact Kasi Cox, kcox@unitedwaysatx.org.

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City Council, SAISD Board Briefed on Eastside Promise Neighborhood

Kim Bowers, United Way Coordinating Council Chair and EVP/General Counsel for Valero Energy, recently joined United Way staff leaders to present information on the Eastside Promise Neighborhood initiative to San Antonio’s City Council and the San Antonio Independent School District’s Board of Trustees. The U.S. Department of Education named United Way the recipient of a Promise Neighborhood planning grant followed by a recent implementation grant to provide "cradle to career" services to improve educational achievement on the Eastside. Collaborating with other partners, including Family Service Association, Catholic Charities, City Year and Goodwill, United Way will lead the way for the Eastside Promise Neighborhood to be a community with: children who are ready for kindergarten, high school graduates who are career-ready, health strengthened through fitness and nutrition, students who feel safe, expanded stock of affordable housing, family supports and access to 21st Century learning tools. For additional information, contact Mary Ellen Burns at meburns@unitedwaysatx.org.

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SAHA Hosts Eastside Community Planning Meetings

The San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) hosted three community planning meetings, March 1-3, 2012, to seek community input for the transformation plan for the Wheatley Courts public housing area on San Antonio’s Eastside. In March 2011, SAHA was awarded a $250,000 Choice Neighborhoods planning grant, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to develop a transformation plan for the Wheatley Courts area into a viable and sustainable neighborhood with affordable housing, good schools, safe streets and employment opportunities. This effort is in partnership with United Way’s Eastside Promise Neighborhood, which recently received a $24.6 million grant from the Department of Education, to bolster children's educational achievement and foster community development on the Eastside. The vision of the Choice/Promise collaboration is a community enriched with quality housing, education, employment, health, and economic development opportunities. The feedback received from the community meetings will be utilized in developing an application for a Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant, due for submission to HUD by April 10, 2012. For more information, please contact Henrietta Munoz at hmunoz@unitedwaysatx.org.

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Women’s Leadership Council Hosts Book Club Luncheon

On February 24th, the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way hosted a successful book club luncheon and discussion featuring Sondra Shaw-Hardy, J.D., author of Women & Philanthropy, Boldly Shaping a Better World. The event was attended by 50 local philanthropists. Author Shaw-Hardy discussed how women are shaping the way in philanthropy and that more women than ever are committing their monies to making the world a better place for future generations. Please click here for additional information on San Antonio’s dynamic Women’s Leadership Council.

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United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County • 700 S. Alamo • (210) 352-7000 • San Antonio, TX 78205

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