United Way’s Advocacy Roles and Initiatives

HOW WE ADVOCATE: At United Way, when we say “advocate,” we mean…lend us your voice. That entails writing letters, sending emails, hosting meetings with elected officials and sharing what issues matter to our partners and those we help serve. Our advocacy work is nonpartisan and totally issue-focused.

ADVOCACY EDUCATION: Throughout the calendar year, United Way strives to offer activities and policy learning sessions for community members to better understand why we advocate for particular issues. These sessions, and all our outreach methods, take data into account. Via software like 2-1-1 Counts and Clear Impact, we are able to display how individuals and families are utilizing health and human service programs, providing a concrete case to legislators on why we must protect and bolster key strategies.

RESPONSIVENESS:  United Way is committed to being a responsive entity to the community and advocating for our partners in times of need. When state / national budgetary cuts or defunding of local programs occur, United Way is a voice in reaching out to elected officials and urging them to take action.

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2021-2022 Public Policy & Advocacy Objectives

Our public policy goals are to play leadership, support and collaborative roles in the following initiatives:

Childcare & Early Childcare:

United Way of Greater Toledo will advocate on behalf of children and their right to early
childhood education resources and / or childcare. This is done by communicating with local,
state and national officials on the importance of childcare as an educational and economic
issue: Kids need childcare to academically succeed, while parents look to childcare providers
as a resource to go to work.

United Way of Greater Toledo will advocate on behalf of early childhood educators and
childcare providers, so that these important community entities have the tools they need
to prepare kids for kindergarten or the grade ahead.

United Way of Greater Toledo will leverage data and help increase community collaboration
in this space, to ensure that appropriate funding is given to early childcare / childcare
programs as a way to uplift kids during their most formidable learning years.

United Way 2-1-1:

United Way of Greater Toledo seeks to leverage local, county, and when applicable, statewide support to strengthen 2-1-1 services in Lucas, Ottawa and Wood County.

United Way of Greater Toledo will continuously leverage 2-1-1 as a support system for our partners and emergency response / management entities. Additionally, we will advocate for other specialized 2-1-1 programs and initiatives that better connect community members to the services they deserve.

United Way of Greater Toledo will advocate for 2-1-1 services as a way to improve local / state digital infrastructure, strengthening connectivity to health and human services no matter where a person lives.

LEARN MORE ABOUT 2-1-1

United Way of Greater Toledo, Collaborative Impact Model

As United Way of Greater Toledo moves to a collaborative impact model with our lead funded partners (LISC Toledo, Lucas Metropolitan Housing, Healthy Toledo Lucas County and Lucas County Homelessness Board*), staff will support and help advocate for the policies imperative to health, education, financial stability, housing and basic needs resources, as a way to ensure the collaboratives’ success.

*The “Collaborative Impact Model” brings together various community partners to devise solutions for our region’s most-difficult health and human service issues. The purpose of this model is to create a shared-community-vision, which will leverage funding, resources and expertise from business, philanthropic and academic partners.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

United Way of Greater Toledo will advocate for increased and expanded access to SNAP benefits, as this is a program tens of thousands of families depend on for additional food resources across our three county footprint. United Way of Greater Toledo works to educate, and alleviate misunderstandings on SNAP, so that all community members can further recognize its importance. United Way of Greater Toledo will join other entities in advocating against cuts to SNAP and other harmful barriers to access this program.

United Way Worldwide / Ohio United Way Platform

United Way of Greater Toledo will offer ongoing support to our state-wide and national United Way systems on topics such as Charitable Tax, SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program), Open Enrollment, COVID-19 economic relief packages, 2-1-1, early childhood education supports, and other issue areas, when applicable.

Race, Equity & Inclusion

United Way of Greater Toledo will continue to support local, state and national legislation that bolsters equitable and inclusive strategies which remove barriers to an individual having access to education, health and financial stability resources.

A clear point of our work in this space intersects with early childcare / childcare, as professional working mothers are most adversely impacted by changes in this area. We will continue to advocate for robust and accessible high-quality care, so that working women are not further pushed into financial instability because of the mounting costs of childcare, or, are forced to leave their jobs because of inaccessibility to childcare in their neighborhood.

Letters & Statements

Below are various letters United Way has sent to elected officials at the local, state and federal level, outlining important policy issues or programs that community members deserve.