By identifying the major issues in our community and pulling together the community stakeholders, Berwick Area United Way helps to create lasting change.
You are part of that process. Your expertise, energy and relationships are vital resources, since Community Impact is an effort that’s owned by the entire community. We promise to direct those resources to efforts that target the underlying causes of issues that affect our community – and which deliver measurable, long-term results.
Berwick Area United Way’s agency partners are doing great work every day, and there will always be a need to meet basic needs and for prevention and development programs. But Community Impact takes that work one step further. Working together with a broad range of community partners – partner agencies, schools, faith-based groups, businesses, energized individuals, local government and more – we’re seeking results that no one can accomplish alone.
What is Community Impact?
- Improving the lives of all people affected by the community’s issues – not just clients of programs funded by United Way.
- Pinpointing the root causes of problems that threaten our community – developing strategies and partnerships to change them.
- Working in a multi-faceted role with whatever partners can play a role in changing community conditions.
- Going beyond the annual campaign to create long-term, ongoing relationships with diverse community investors.
What have we done so far?
We brought a free prescription drug discount card that has no income limitations and requires no paperwork. The cards are available at pharmacies throughout Columbia County and at our office. More than 19,000 residents hav saved over $117,000 with this card. Familywize is our partner.
In 2009, we started the first free income tax filing service for working families in the Berwick area. Since then, over 800 families have received more than $1,100,000 in tax refunds and saved tax filing fees.
When the 2009 state budget impasse drive many day care providers to the brink of closing, we put almost $15,000 into keeping every center open and operating so that working families still had safe, affordable day care.
In 2010, we funded a financial literacy program run by the Berwick Family Center to provide working families with budget help, savings information and guidance in managing their money. We expanded that program in 2011 to serve more the 60 individuals and families.
What are we planning to do in the future?
We will be expanding our tax site once again with more hours and drop off tax return preparation.
We will be mounting an educational campaign about the dangers of refund anticipation loans and the benefits of the earned income tax credit.
We will be working on a major federal grant application to expand the financial literacy program.
We are planning to develop a family savings plan working with local banks to develop banking relationships.
We are working to make a tax refund card available for tax filers who do not have bank accounts. The card will enable them to receive their tax refund as quickly as if they had a bank account.