April 14, 2014Kristina RicciProgram Officer, United Way Fit Kids
We all need physical activity to be a part of our daily routines
to enjoy the health benefits of exercise. With over one-third of
children and adolescents being overweight or obese, this couldn’t
be more true for America’s youth today. The epidemic of childhood
obesity is one of the major health challenges that United Way is
committed to facing and improving to advance the common good.
Initiatives like United Way Fit Kids are
giving children in our region the knowledge, tools, and
inspiration that they need to live healthier lives. Being healthy
is not just about eating a nutritious diet. Exercise is essential
for fighting obesity and improving overall well-being.
Here are my top 5 reasons why kids (and adults too) should get
1. Improves Confidence
Exercise builds self-confidence. Kids who are physically
fit feel good about their body image. They are more confident
when it is time for gym class or sports tryouts. Encouraging
children to play outside and join local teams is a great way to
help them stay in shape and feel good about themselves.
With a big push from United Way and other important community
partners to get the word out about the www.keepyourtaxrefund.com
website, I found myself telling folks in our community about this
awesome resource and received some questions I couldn’t answer.
I’m the kind of guy who wants to fully get behind something I’m
asking others to do, so naturally my solution was to use the
website myself to complete my 2013 tax return. In the past I’ve
used other online software and with this website being FREE to
those with income under $58,000 in 2013 and reduced cost compared
to other ways to file for those who make over $58,000, how could
I still have one child in college and another that wants to
return. My ability to help them pay for that is extremely
Are you also worrying about paying for college for your children,
grandchildren or other youth you know? Or, do you work with
youth at church, soccer and other activities who will need
financial help for college? Or are you or another adult
considering going back to college? Well, this is the perfect
opportunity to learn about Federal Student Aid for college and
how you can become a resource for the young people in your life
(and stop that worrying!).
With the cost of a higher education constantly on the rise,
access to resources for college tuition, books and other expenses
is important. The United States Department of Education’ s Office
of Federal Student Aid (FSA) will be in Sacramento to talk about
FSA and to do a comprehensive financial aid training. This
training is targeting everyday people who work with youth or have
youth in their life who want to go to college. The
event is freeand will be held at Sacramento
State Alumni Center January 7th from 10 a.m. to 3:30
The community where your business is located is most likely also
the neighborhood where you and your employees live, meaning that
when you support the nonprofit organizations in the community,
you are also giving back to your neighbors. Corporate
philanthropy most frequently comes in the form of office giving
campaigns. These campaigns can be pledge drives for fundraising
or collecting donations of goods for a local nonprofit.
Volunteering your time for a community service project or to
advocate for those who are less fortunate is another way to
engage with those in your area.
No matter how it is presented or which options management
chooses, any type of corporate philanthropy program helps your
bottom line. According to several studies of consumer practices,
a company who is dedicated to serving nonprofits in its community
reaps many benefits. In fact, the company receives as many
benefits from its philanthropy as the people who live in the area
do. Partnering with a charity can help to raise brand awareness
for your company, making it a strategic business move as well as
a philanthropic investment.
Back in January when we announced we would try to accomplish 90
volunteers projects in one year to celebrate United Way
California Capital Region’s 90th Anniversary, I received some
funny looks and eye rolls. I’m fairly certain many people didn’t
think it could be done. Well guess what? I am ecstatically proud
to tell you that September 11, 2013 marked Project Number 89,
which means that the United Way Day of Caring’s 26 projects on
Friday, September 13th will bring life to Project Numbers 90-115!
That’s right, not only did we as a community collectively work
towards meeting our goal of 90 projects, but so far we’ve gone
over the goal by 25 (and we still have two and a half months left
of 2013!). If you haven’t been involved yet, now’s your chance!
Let’s do the math (not including the 26 Day of Caring
+over 1,500 volunteers
+over 5,000 volunteer hours
+Over $60,000 value of volunteer labor
I was honored when United Way asked me to share my experience
with my esteemed colleagues at the first United Way Nonprofit
Leadership Summit last month. After all, United Way has more than
140 certified nonprofit partners, all of whom would be worthy to
stand up at the microphone and share the amazing work they are
I was especially excited to share how much United Way has helped
open doors for Women’s Empowerment, and
I know so many other nonprofits feel the same way. From giving us
the chance to stand up in front of workplaces and keep our name
front and center, to providing much needed funding to start our
financial literacy program for graduates, we are grateful for
United Way’s ability to bring people together around common
causes. And we know United Way has been an instrumental partner
in helping 1,064 women break the cycle of homelessness for their
Everybody has something to contribute to the common good, whether
it is a new idea on how to approach an issue or a strong arm in a
construction project. We often sit around wondering how to
encourage others to get involved in the causes we hold dear, and
it can be discouraging to see people turn their back on a
community that needs them.
Here are some ideas on how to help others realize what they have
to offer and how best to contribute.
Press releases: One important aspect of getting others
to participate is to let them know what is going on. A press
release is a good way to lay out the important details and
background information; plus, you can use the space to relate
your project to everyday life and current affairs. There’s no
guarantee that the press will pick up your story, but if you
don’t inform them of what’s going on, they definitely won’t
feature you. A good press release should be no longer than a
page and should include at least one quote from an organizer.
United Way California Capital Region helps children and families
live healthier by promoting good nutrition and exercise through
our Fit Kids project. Living a healthier
lifestyle not only reduces medical expenses, but it also boosts
school and work productivity. United Way works with schools and
the community to educate members how to live healthier and make
better choices. Eating a diet rich in the top 10 healthiest foods
helps people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improve
Blueberries are high in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. Even
better, polyphenols, which blueberries are high in, have been
to break down fat and prevent new fat cells from forming in the
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol.
The FDA has approved foods high in oats, or oat bran, to claim
that the food can help improve cardiovascular health in a low-fat
diet. The body digests fiber in oatmeal slowly, so your blood
sugar levels stay even and you stay fuller longer.
When we started the United Way Toilet Paper Drive, we had no idea
it would be such a hit! In early 2009, we were trying to think of
some kind of drive to do that could support our local nonprofit
partners and the community. We struggled with trying to do
something different, yet useful. During this time, a nonprofit
executive mentioned to a United Way staff person how much they
spent on toilet paper every year. That’s when the idea sparked…we
would hold a toilet paper drive to benefit local nonprofits!
We did some research and found out that nonprofits were spending
thousands of dollars on TP every year! We knew that they could
provide more services to people in need if they didn’t have to
spend this money on TP. The first year, we collected 35,000 rolls
and this last year more than 229,000! It sounds like a silly
idea, but we’re able to save nonprofits thousands of dollars a
year so they can use that money for important services. The TP
drive has also become a fun, community event with support from
volunteers, local companies, nonprofits, the local media, etc.!
We can’t wait to see how many rolls we’ll collect next year!
Until then, we’ll keep rolling along… :)
It’s not something that most people talk about. Yet, it’s a
necessity of life – more of a necessity if you have teenagers in
the house. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve looked out the
front window only to find a winter-like scene in the front yard -
the work of high school pranksters. It’s not fun spending the
morning picking it off the wet lawn and out of the tall trees.
And what a waste to find complete rolls left behind!
May 28, 2013Next Move Joseph RamosNext Move (Formerly Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center)
What would you do with an extra $5000? Clearly this is not a
typical question, but certainly a question that generates quite
the discussion. I called my mother to get her take on the matter
and no sooner did I finish my sentence, the phrase “I’d go to
Reno!” greeted me on the other end of the phone. My mother was
candid and truthful in her answer and it got me thinking about
the instincts in all of us. Having an extra five grand would
lighten my stress load for sure. Between gas prices, student
loans, going out to dinner, and entertainment I could probably
spend that amount in my sleep. Then I got to thinking, what about
the people that I work for? The men, women, and children who
struggle to scrounge up enough money for a bus pass or who pinch
pennies to put food on the table… what about the families of Next
Formerly, Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center, Next Move is
dedicated to ending homelessness and increasing self-reliance.
For over 40 years, it has been a leading force in supporting
families in crisis in the Greater Sacramento area and it is an
organization that today serves approximately 2000 people
annually. As many nonprofit agencies do, Next Move relies on
grant funding and donations to help us fulfill our mission. Like
many of the families that we serve, we too, are in the business
of being fiscally aware… So aware that we are incredibly grateful
to be a part of United Way’s 5th Annual LIVE UNITED Toilet Paper
Drive. As a partner agency for this drive, we may be able to save
– you guessed it… $5000, which is what we spent on toilet paper
for all of 2012!
Pet Peeve Alert: I hate running out of toilet
Running out of toilet paper is annoying. It seems like you never
remember to buy more until you are in desperate need. Then it’s
even more irritating because, when you do realize you need it,
it’s always right after you just made a trip to the store, and
now you have to make another trip specifically for toilet paper.
And it’s not like you live all that close to the store. Nor are
you excited about shelling out $10 for a pack, like it’s made out
of gold leaf and bunny fur or something.
I’ve been lying to myself for years. I always thought that
I was much more interesting than I actually am.
Fortunately, my child has rid me of that hair-brained assumption
—he is at the truthful, critical age of 11, and doesn’t really
try to sugar-coat his observations. It’s possible that he’s
right—he thinks I spend too much time thinking about “boring”
things. Upon reflection, I get it—I do talk about money a
lot. How much does that cost? Where’s the cheapest
gas? What’s on sale? Where’s the change I left in my car?
They want how much? Is it worth it? When do I get
paid? Those shoes cost $150, really? Have we saved
enough for vacation? Have I maximized my 403b
account? What’s my liquid asset situation? What’s my
credit score? Shopping at Goodwill is chic now, right? Not
exactly stimulating conversation topics. And, when I’m not
talking about money, I’m talking about my weight, getting older,
what I’m going to make for dinner for my family, what’s growing
in my garden, and how I’m going to hang out with friends this
weekend; maybe a little more interesting, but barely.
You know what I’m talking about, right? They say two things
in life are for sure—death and taxes. I know that I’ll
eventually have to pay the reaper and the IRS, so what can I do
to prepare me to make those things less painful?
Well, I try really hard to practice what I preach—and if you know
me, I do preach! I am the Program Officer for two of our
three focus areas: Health and Income. I work toward a healthy lifestyle,
try to work in exercise and make healthy meals, my husband and I
work together on a realistic budget, save for retirement and our
son has had his own savings account since he’s been 5. When I
slip, I have resources to help me get back on track, the fitness
pro at the gym, my mom, or our financial advisor.
Thank goodness I have those resources (especially Mom!) But what
if I didn’t know who to ask? Or worse, what if I didn’t know what
to ask or have the confidence or understanding that I can have my
health and be financially sound, even if I have too much month
left at the end of the money? That’s where my life intersects
with my work.
Hello, my name is Faith. I was very grateful to have the
opportunity to make this United Way video.
At first I was a little nervous to step out of my comfort zone
and talk to people that I don’t usually interact with. I was
nervous, but once I started asking people to be involved with
making this video I realized that I loved it. I like being able
to take footage and decide what sounds best. I like being able to
try out new things revolving around what I love, photography. At
times I did get a little frustrated because I didn’t have the
right place to shoot the video and because the recorder wasn’t
picking up audio. The lines that I wrote for people were a little
too complicated for them to remember also.
March 25, 2013Lorrie Wilson, Women in Philanthropy Co-Chair
Bimla Rhinehart was first and foremost my friend and most
recently a fellow member of Women in Philanthropy
(WIP). Although new to WIP, she made a big impact and
wanted very much to make a positive difference in the lives of
our foster youth. Bimla and I taught a communications
workshop in December at Koinonia. She was a wonderful role
model for them. After we finished the workshop, she
remarked at their exceptional manners, enthusiasm and active
Bimla was the brains and inspiration behind our
Day at the Capitol event where influential, successful women
leaders in state government spent the afternoon with some of our
foster females mentoring them and providing them with ideas,
information and most of all the desire to pursue their dream
Wait, 90 projects? In one year? You must be
As the volunteer services manager, when I brought up the idea of
accomplishing 90 volunteer projects for the
90th anniversary of United Way California Capital Region,
everybody loved the idea but also thought I was little bit crazy
for trying to take on such a huge task. But you know what? WE can
do this. What better reason for individuals in our communities
who together make up so many companies, unions and groups to make
such a difference in one year? A difference not only for so many
of our nonprofit partners as a whole but also for the thousands
of people they serve each year. I am confident in YOU, our
We were a team of 9 there to learn about the organization and to
do some painting, for their new multipurpose meditation and
We got there around 1 p.m., all decked out in our Wells Fargo
Volunteer shirts – ready to work. But first, we took a quick tour
of the facilities and learned about the work done there. We went
in to a meeting where several participants were working on a
video project, and they took some time to tell us about what all
they specialize in and do. From there, we hit the art studio –
and saw some great paintings and art pieces that many of the
program participants had created. Off to the quad to meet some of
the people that will be able to use the room once it is
completed, and receive a little thank you from them. Some meet
and greet and picture time and then off to the task at hand.
In my role at United Way, I have the benefits of experiencing the
unifying power of our community when it dares to dream, embraces
its hope and has the steadfast will it needs to be something
more. There’s nothing more satisfying than having a front
row seat to witness the hard work and passion behind every
program, funded or not, that strives to level the playing field
for so many in our region. Even in these arduous financial
times, our region embraces assets above deficits and team work as
desirable, not just a “necessary evil”. From the counties of
Amador to El Dorado, Placer to Sacramento and Yolo, folks are
putting their stakes in the ground around education, income and
health. And, it’s showing a significant community impact.
What is community impact? It is something that makes a lasting
impression on the region and its people. Community impact is
not short-lived, temporary or arbitrary; it does not create false
hope. It alters its course as needed for the best possible
outcome. Community impact is not quick or easy. It takes
dedication, strategy and alignment, cooperation and trust. It
takes all of us. It takes you.
What does volunteering mean to you? Sure,
volunteering makes you feel good. When you volunteer you are
reaching out to your community with your own two hands and making
a tangible difference.United Way California Capital Region and
the148 local certified nonprofit organizations we partner with
rely on volunteers to help achieve the big goals of our
community.We certainly can’t do it alone.We need the heads, hands
and hearts of committed people like you to help us tackle the
problems facing our communities.
That’s where you come in. And I sincerely mean
you…the person reading this. Yes, you.
September 7, 2012Tom Burns, CSECC Campaign Liaison
We all like to think that we are safe and secure, but one
incident or accident can surprise and shock us.
In 1980, my father had a massive stroke, and my mother was
instantly transformed into a 24-hour caregiver for a person who
had severe speech and mobility issues. My parents lived in
Illinois, and I was in Sacramento and felt helpless.
My mother was getting very depressed and was beginning develop
back injuries. Then the local United Way stepped in and let my
mother know about a senior daycare program that the local United
Way had developed.
Your privacy is very important to United Way California Capital
Region. Any personal data that is collected (i.e. name, address,
e-mail address) is used internally and maintained with
appropriate measures of security. We absolutely respect your
right to privacy when using our Web site. Unless you give us
permission, we do not distribute or release your personal
information to other organizations for any reason. We absolutely
never sell lists of donors to others.