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Author: Meg Costa

Everything You Need to Know About the March 1 Primary Election

Voting is one of the simplest, yet most powerful duties we as citizens hold. It’s important for all of us to be informed voters. Many people only vote during presidential election cycles; however, the power is truly with the people—every election.

Your vote has the power to drive positive change on the big issues right here in North Texas, including our key focus areas of education, income and health. By voting, you are helping determine the elected officials who will prioritize how government funding will be allocated and make decisions that impact your daily life and the long-term viability of our community, like how our schools are run.

This year, Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 1. You can participate in early voting from Monday, Feb. 14 through Friday, Feb. 25. If you plan to vote by mail, please note there are new rules that may apply to you this year (see below).

Here’s everything you need to know to vote:

What’s On the Ballot

There is a long list of offices on the ballot, including Texas governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, state senator, state representative, county commissioner and more .

In Texas, the Republican and Democratic parties hold primary elections to select a single nominee for each office. To win the Democratic or Republican nomination, a candidate must get more than 50% of the primary vote. If none of the candidates gets 50% of the vote, then a runoff will be held on May 7. In November, voters will select between each party’s nominee, and the winner will become the officeholder.

Texas is an open primary state, which means eligible Texas voters can cast a ballot in the Republican or Democratic party primary election (but not both).

To create a customized sample ballot, visit Vote411.org.

Key Dates

Feb. 14-25: Early voting (in-person). Dates and hours vary depending on where you live. Check your county’s election department website—Dallas, Collin, Rockwallor Denton—for dates, hours and locations.

Feb. 18: Last day to apply for ballot by mail (must be received, not postmarked, by this day).

March 1: Election Day and your last chance to vote.

Please note: The deadline to register to vote in the March 1 election has passed; it was January 31.

Other Things to Know

Bring a photo ID: You must present one of the seven acceptable forms of photo identification before you can vote:

  • Texas driver’s license
  • Texas election ID certificate
  • Texas personal ID card
  • Texas handgun license
  • U.S. citizenship certificate with photo
  • U.S. military ID card with photo
  • U.S. passport (book or card)

Your voter registration card is not mandatory to vote, but bring it if you have it. If your name is spelled differently on the official list than on your ID, showing your registration card may resolve the issue.

Voting locations: Polling locations may be different for early voting and Election Day, so visit your county’s election website—Dallas, Collin, Rockwall or Denton—to make sure you’re headed to the right location.

Be an educated voter: Save yourself time at the polls by being prepared. Do your research on the candidates and the responsibilities of each office before getting to the voting machine. You can bring a list of how you want to vote if it’s not a partisan flyer. To learn more about the candidates, visit Vote411.org.

Encourage your network: Make a plan to vote, and invite your neighbors and friends to go vote with you.

Vote by mail: To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be 65 years old or older
  • Be disabled
  • Be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance
  • Be expected to give birth within three weeks before or after Election Day
  • Be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible

Instructions on how to apply for a mail-in ballot and how to track your completed ballot can be found on the Texas Secretary of State’s website. The mail-in ballot application has changed so make sure you thoroughly read the instructions.

United Way and AT&T Partner to Help Bridge the Digital Divide in Dallas

AT&T and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas have teamed up to help bridge the digital divide in Southern Dallas. AT&T is contributing $1 million to our Southern Dallas Thrives initiative to provide residents with free laptops, digital literacy training and technology support over two years.

The program is the latest progress point for Southern Dallas Thrives, an initiative created in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, The PepsiCo Foundation and Frito-Lay North America, which advances outcomes for students pre-K-12, increases food access, and supports women entering and advancing in the workforce.

The goal of the program is to help students in Southern Dallas neighborhoods engage in online learning and set them up for success in today’s digital school and job environments.

Addressing the Digital Divide

The digital divide is the gap between those who have access to digital technology and those who don’t. This divide has existed for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significant challenges that students experience when they don’t have access to the technology or skills they need to succeed.

Millions of students across the country cannot connect to online learning opportunities because they don’t have reliable internet access or a computer at home and they lack digital literacy skills. This is especially true in communities that have been historically underserved and have a high percentage of people of color, which includes Southern Dallas. These students often fall behind their peers in the classroom and beyond.

“When we consider the impact of the pandemic on our communities and the rise in virtual supports, digital access is critical for North Texas families,” said Cathy Kang, director of educational career success at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “These devices, hotspots and opportunities for greater connectivity will enable our students in Southern Dallas to continue their learning. The program will also ensure families can access a broad range of other important supports, like accessing health care, finding COVID testing sites, applying for schools and jobs, booking telehealth appointments and more. This initiative is a great start, but we need to keep going to ensure that every family has the access they deserve to these critical resources.”

“This collaboration with United Way builds on the continued commitment we have to addressing the digital divide in Dallas,” said Mike Peterson, vice president, AT&T Texas External Affairs. “AT&T is committed to the city of Dallas, and with this contribution we are helping to remove technology barriers to education and job success for underserved students and families in southern Dallas neighborhoods.”

Encouraging Equity in Education

AT&T’s $1 million contribution to our Southern Dallas Thrives initiative will provide more than 2,000 refurbished laptops, digital literacy workshops and technology support to K-12 students, young adults and families. The first batch of laptops were distributed to students at Lincoln High School the week of Jan. 24.

“We are honored to collaborate with AT&T to provide the students and families in Southern Dallas with digital resources to overcome the challenges associated with the digital divide,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Our work with AT&T will bolster our efforts through the Southern Dallas Thrives initiative to advance economic opportunity for students and ensure they can be competitive and successful in obtaining the living-wage jobs of the future.”

Show Your Support for Local Students

Students across North Texas are struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes this an excellent time to show your support for local children. Here are three opportunities to join our efforts to improve access to education right here at home:

  • Give: Invest in United Way to support programs like Southern Dallas Thrives that benefit students and their families throughout North Texas.
  • Advocate: Improving education is always one of our top priorities when we communicate with our elected officials. Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts to receive information on our current policy priorities plus notifications on when and how to connect with your elected officials.
  • Volunteer: Each March, we celebrate United Way Reading Day, a fun-filled annual tradition with a goal of encouraging more kids to fall in love with reading. We’re looking for volunteers who can support this initiative by purchasing or donating books in an online or local book drive.

United Way, Capital Good Fund Team Up to Provide an Alternative to Predatory Lending

Last year, Cynthia Sutton, a 54-year-old Dallas resident, suddenly found herself in a financial crisis. She needed money to repair the car she uses for her part-time job as a caregiver to her elderly clients. Without a functioning vehicle, she couldn’t continue to make money. But she also needed to buy groceries.

“My resources were low,” she recalls. “I didn’t have family or friends that I could borrow money from.”

Cynthia was wary of going to a payday lender. In the past, she borrowed funds from a lender that charged her more than 300% interest—turning a $300 loan into an $800 obligation. To make matters worse, she says the lender harassed her and was unwilling to work with her to help her pay off her loan.

Predatory Loans Are All Too Common

Unfortunately, Cynthia’s experience with a payday lender isn’t rare. Texas has the highest payday loan rates in the country, with typical annual percentage rates (APRs) running as high as 664%—more than 40 times the average credit card interest rate.

High interest rates make payday loans a significant problem for low-income North Texans, who often don’t have other options for a quick loan. Many borrowers are unable to pay down the loans and their high interest fees, and they’re forced to roll over or renew the loan, essentially getting trapped in a cycle of debt.

An Alternative to Payday Loans

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we recognize the harmful nature of predatory payday and auto loans and their impact on the financial stability of our neighbors here in North Texas. Working with our dedicated supporters, we strive to limit the effects of high-interest loans on our community. We’ve advocated for reasonable loan practices at the city, state and federal level for more than a decade, which has resulted in measurable progress toward protecting the rights of borrowers.

We also provide people with alternatives to payday and auto loans. One of these programs is our partnership with Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that works to tackle poverty in North Texas by offering small loans that are fair and flexible.

One of the loan types—a crisis relief loan—has been especially helpful for North Texans who are dealing with financial emergencies related to COVID-19 and who need funds for grocery purchases, medical expenses and rent. The loans are available in amounts from $300 to $1,500 at an APR of 5%, with no closing fee or down payment. Borrowers enjoy three months of no payments before making 12 monthly payments.

“Through our partnership with Capital Good Fund, United Way and our supporters are able to offer assistance to North Texans at the moments they need it most, while avoiding the outrageous interest fees charged by most payday and auto lenders,” said Greg Mangum, vice president of economic mobility at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “This year, the program will enable us to roughly double our impact of providing opportunity and access to safe, affordable and credit-building loans for low-income residents in our community.”

Making a Real Impact

Since Cynthia couldn’t borrow money from friends or family—and she hoped to avoid another payday lender at all costs—she was relieved to have another option to quickly access funds. She took out a low-interest $500 crisis relief loan from Capital Good Fund, and the money enabled her to get her car fixed so she could continue working.

She describes her experience with Capital Good Fund as spectacular. “They were so nice and professional,” she says. “They are really caring. They make you feel like family.”

Support Financial Stability in North Texas

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we believe every North Texan should have the opportunity and access required to achieve financial stability. We invite you to be part of the change by joining our movement to ensure North Texans can get and keep better jobs, establish savings and hold on to more of what they earn.

Ready to start making a difference right here at home? Join the Live United movement to impact financial stability in our community:

Women of Tocqueville Day of Painting at Agape

On December 10 and 11, over 20 volunteers across all United Way Giving Societies gathered at Agape Resource & Assistance Center to help pre-tape, prime, and paint the interior of a townhome to prepare the home for move-in by multiple women facing homelessness. Agape, a Social Innovation Accelerator alumnus, is a nonprofit that helps women, moms and their children facing situational homelessness.

Because of your generous support of time, talent, and treasure, according to Janet Collinsworth – Founder/Executive Director, Agape, “The townhome will provide up to twelve months of safe, stable housing for four women who will call the space home in their journeys to overcome the devastating and debilitating effects of poverty, homelessness, and abuse.” – a life-changing gift and powerful impact beyond the financial savings created by your volunteerism and the generous donations provided for painting supplies and ancillary items.

Agape is a significant community partner with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and is working with the community and city of Wylie to create Jericho Village, an innovative income based urban village, which will provide economically attainable housing for Agape graduates and others in the community who struggle to make ends meet and safely house their families. Jericho Village was incubated through United Way’s Social Innovation Accelerator and is being presented in February to Wylie’s City Council for approval.

The partnership with Agape on this event aligns with the Women of Tocqueville mission to give, advocate and volunteer in support of the community through the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and to leverage the collective power and leadership of women to produce visible impact in education, income and health in North Texas.

A special thank you to Stephanie Bird, Katie Rose and Carol March, fellow members of the Women of Tocqueville Steering Committee and the Volunteerism Subcommittee, for your leadership, service and dedication to our mission.

5 Tips for Building a Strong, Thriving Family

Having children is one of life’s biggest changes. Parenting doesn’t come with instructions, and sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s especially true at a time when anxiety and uncertainty from the pandemic are making typical family stressors, like money or busy schedules, even worse.

If you’re feeling anxious and stretched thin, know that you’re not alone. Most parents feel that way at least some of the time. And it’s not something you have to tackle by yourself.

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we lead and support a variety of programs that set children up for success now and in the future, because we believe education—along with income and health—is one of the building blocks of opportunity. Initiatives like our Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Support (HOPES) and Texas Home Visiting Program provide parents with resources and knowledge to strengthen their families as a unit and build positive relationships between parents and children.

These are beneficial goals at any time, but today it’s especially important to build a strong family unit so you can help your children thrive through these challenging times. Here, we share five tips for strengthening your family:

1. Build up your parental resilience.

Resilience is key to helping keep your family strong. That starts by taking care of yourself so you can take care of your kids. Consider trying a few of these parenting self-care tips each week:

  • Take time to exercise and rest—even if it’s just a 20-minute walk or power nap.
  • Spend time in nature to relieve stress.
  • When possible, allow kids to work through and solve their own problems.
  • Make time for things you truly enjoy.

Get more self-care tips here.

What about when kids are misbehaving? Disciplining your child is a critical component to parenting, but it’s not always easy. Consider adopting a little “positive discipline,” which focuses on what you want your child to do, rather than on telling them what they can’t do. Click below to learn positive discipline techniques that are instructive and caring:

Are you a single parent? Read this single mom’s story to learn some powerful parenting tips that are especially helpful for single parent households.

Are you a new dad? Click here to learn some of the ways that a father’s involvement benefits children in the areas of health, education and emotional well-being.

2. Focus on social connections.

Did you know social connections are important in helping you, your children and your family thrive? Here are tips for fostering healthy social time for you and your kids:

  • Reduce your screen time: It’s easy for all of us to overdo it on digital devices, but for kids, too much screen time can impact their development and cause problems with attention, learning and critical thinking skills. Consider limiting screen time to certain hours of the day and areas of the house, and set a good example by taking breaks from your own screens. Get additional tips for young kids and for tweens and teens.
  • Help prevent bullying: About 20% of students report being bullied, a trauma that can follow a child for life. Click here for tips to help a child who is being bullied and how to respond if your child is bullying others.
  • Get to know your neighbors: Families are more likely to thrive when they are part of a nurturing community where children feel safe and parents support each other. You can do your part by meeting your neighbors, participating in local activities, setting up a playgroup or volunteering at your child’s school. View other ideas for building a strong community.
  • Find a parent support group: This is a fantastic and free way to get expert support and connect with other parents. Sign up for HOPES through one of United Way’s partner organizations, or view other parent support groups in your county.

3. Utilize concrete supports.

North Texas is home to so many wonderful organizations that offer support to local parents. Here are a few key resources to know:

  • Child care assistance: Need help affording child care? Contact your local Workforce Solutions to see if you’re eligible and to apply: Then, check out these tips on picking a child care provider.
  • Health insurance coverage: Need assistance signing up for health insurance? Click here to sign up to work with one of United Way’s certified health care navigators. (Don’t wait: Open enrollment ends Jan. 15.)
  • Mental health support: Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when needed. The Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line is available 24/7 toll free at (833) 986-1919.
  • Youth and parent helpline: The Texas Youth Helpline provides free and confidential services to youth, their parents and other family members of youth in crisis who need help finding a counselor, safe shelter, legal information, other local referral information or just someone to talk to. Click here for more information.
  • Service hotline: Texas 2-1-1 can help Texans connect with the services they need, available in English and Spanish. Click here for details.
  • Additional family services: Texas has multiple resources to help support families in areas of need such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, child care, health care, and mental health services. Click here to find local support in your area.

4. Learn about child development and parenting.

Increasing your understanding of child development and the dynamics of parenting can help you understand what your kids need, what they’re going through and how to guide them through it. Here are just a few facts to get you started:

  • Research shows that children who receive affection and nurturing from their parents early on have the best chance of healthy development. Every word of encouragement, hug and smile go a long way toward creating a happy, healthy child.
  • Your baby’s brain grows rapidly until about the age of 3. During this critical time, parents can do many things to promote healthy baby growth, such as establishing rituals and routines, setting a sleep schedule and providing nutrient-rich foods at every age. Click here to learn more.
  • Kids are ready to potty train between 18 months and 3 years old. Timing is everything. Every child is different and will potty train when they are ready. Look for signs they are ready in this article.
  • Reading on grade level by third grade is an important milestone, and students who don’t reach that goal are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Programs like Once Upon a Month, an initiative from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Ferst Readers, encourage a love of reading by delivering free age-appropriate picture books to Dallas County children every month. Sign up here.
  • Many children act out as part of their development. With a little guidance, they can learn how to react more appropriately. Adopting some of the positive discipline techniques that we linked to above can get you through difficult moments, which will help your child become more independent and able to control their behavior.

Learn more about child development here.

5. Encourage your children’s social and emotional competence.

Children thrive when parents provide not only affection, but also respectful communication and listening, consistent rules and expectations, and safe opportunities that promote independence.

Today, mental health is a growing challenge for many children. If you’re concerned your child may be struggling with a mental health condition, you’re not alone. The stigma surrounding mental health disorders in children can lead parents to missing early warning signs and delay getting kids the help they need. Click here to learn more about anxiety, stress and depression in children.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health and having a sense of suicide awareness are important when raising kids. Knowing how to talk openly about it and get help can make a world of difference. Click here to learn how to spot warning signs—and how to get help.

It’s important to realize that children experience loss and grief in multiple ways. Since grief looks different for each child, it may be hard to tell what they’re feeling after a loss. This article can help you help a child who is grieving.

Finally, you can play a role in helping your child build and maintain healthy relationships at school. This includes taking thoughtful action to prevent bullying. Help your kid feel more confident with tricks like using positive body language, finding a buddy at school or looking for books or movies with characters who overcome bullying. Click here for more tips.

Ready to learn more? Click here for more tips on encouraging your children’s social and emotional competence.

Looking for Parenting Support?

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, our programs and partnerships provide support for parents who are working to strengthen their families. Here are some of our key resources for parents:

How Social Factors Impact the Health of North Texans

In many areas of North Texas, where you live can have a huge impact on the quality of education your children receive, the types of jobs available to you, and the health of your entire family. Our region ranks especially poorly in health inequities: For example, life expectancy in North Texas can differ by more than 20 years depending on where a person resides.

How is that possible? Access to health insurance is one factor. Overall, 18% of North Texans are uninsured, a figure that includes 33% of Latinx and 15% of Black residents who go without insurance. That’s why one of our Aspire United 2030 goals is to achieve near universal access to affordable health insurance in our region.

There are additional factors that contribute to poor health outcomes in areas of North Texas, known as “social determinants of health.” Here, we’ll explore the various determinants, as well as how United Way of Metropolitan Dallas works to create greater health equity throughout our region.

What are social determinants of health?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines social determinants of health as “non-medical factors that influence health outcomes…the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”

These external factors are anything that could help make your health better or worse, for example:

  • Your income
  • Your level of education
  • Job or food insecurity
  • Financial debt
  • Your working life conditions
  • Early childhood development
  • Housing and basic amenities
  • The environment in which you live
  • Access to affordable, quality health services
  • Social inclusion and non-discrimination

These conditions can have a significant impact on your health, even if you strive to be otherwise healthy. According to WHO, several studies have shown that social determinants of health account for up to 55% of health outcomes—which means the factors above can have an even greater influence on your health than health care or lifestyle choices.

Social Determinants of Health in Action

Here is a concrete example of social determinants of health in action: As the Dallas Morning News reported recently, the local communities with the highest and lowest life expectancy are only 20 miles apart. (The communities are divided by census tracts, which are geographic regions defined for the purpose of taking a census.) In one census tract, located in an area of Oak Cliff, residents live just 64.2 years on average. In the other, located in a part of Richardson, residents live 86.5 years on average—the highest life expectancy in Dallas County.

This means the Oak Cliff residents are missing out on a full two decades of life.

What is behind this huge disparity? A variety of social determinants of health are at play here. For starters, in the Oak Cliff community, 50.9% of residents are Latino, 44.7% are Black and 14.2% are white. In the Richardson community, 77.4% of inhabitants are white, 10.6% are Asian and 6.2% are Latino. The Oak Cliff residents are more likely to be subject to discrimination in every aspect of their lives, which has been shown to have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.

In addition to racial disparities, the two communities also have drastic differences in income, access to health care and the type of work residents do. In the Oak Cliff community, the nearest grocery store or health clinic is several miles away, and residents report high crime. In Richardson, residents can easily access fresh groceries and quality health care, and residents report a relatively stress-free lifestyle.

Meanwhile, other social determinants of health may be affecting these two communities. For example, if many of the Oak Cliff residents have lower incomes, they are more likely to experience food and housing insecurity, which harms health and development, especially for children. Groups with a lower level of education report having poorer health than those with more education, according to WHO. Even things like working multiple jobs or having significant debt can hurt a person’s health over time.

To make matters worse, many North Texans dealing with overlapping social determinants of health have seen their challenges increase exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Susan Hoff, chief strategy and impact officer at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, explains, “Those who were already disproportionately impacted by debt and other social determinants of health, that’s only been exacerbated in the last two years.”

Working Toward Greater Equity Overall

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we create lasting change by challenging the systemic issues in our community. Since health is one of our key focus areas, we continuously work to understand and address the social determinants of health that impact our region, creating and leading programs and initiatives that will lead to greater equity overall.

“As we’ve grown, our opportunity has become to get really good at understanding where the most vulnerable populations are and targeting resources and advocacy or policy efforts directly to those,” Hoff explains. “We started with thinking about ZIP code level, but in the last few years we’ve zoomed in to looking at census tract level, where we see communities or neighborhoods in which there are five or more social determinants of health or challenges. That way, we can target resources.”

Armed with this understanding, we develop and support programs that promote access to health and address the social determinants of health. This is a community-wide effort, and we work with fellow nonprofits, corporate partners, schools, philanthropic organizations and others to ensure the right resources are provided to the appropriate communities in a way that works.

“We used to say United Way ‘sprinkled goodness’ throughout the community,” Hoff says. “Today, we are so much more targeted. I think about it less as a broad-spectrum antibiotic than an antibiotic that is really targeted, one where we know exactly the dosage and the intervention we need.”

An example of this type of targeted work is our Southern Dallas Thrives initiative, which was created in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation and Frito-Lay North America. The goal is to provide targeted investments to the Southern Dallas community to address long-standing inequities and create long-term change.

The program addresses several overlapping social determinants of health, such as early education and childhood development, income, amount of savings and debt, and food insecurity. This type of place-based initiative creates a measurable impact on the lives of Southern Dallas residents by ensuring children have access to quality preschool, high school students are prepared for college or career, adults can access supportive services and workforce development training in high-growth industries, and families have access to nutritious meals.

Programs That Improve Health Outcomes

In addition to Southern Dallas Thrives, our other key programs that address the social determinants of health include:

  • Dollars for College: an effort to expand access to affordable, long-term savings for low- and moderate-income families, providing an easy way for them to open a college savings account in their child’s name
  • Healthcare navigation: a program that assists people in signing up for health insurance through the federal Marketplace or CHIP
  • Pathways to Work: provides workforce training to enable hardworking individuals to get and keep better-paying, middle-skill jobs
  • Homelessness prevention work: a continuum of programs that provides rental and utility assistance, prevent eviction, support affordable housing and more
  • Social Innovation Accelerator: our organizational and leadership development program focused on elevating programs from social entrepreneurs who are women or people of color

Programs like these address several important social determinants of health, empowering North Texans to get a good education, secure a living-wage job, avoid debt, stay healthy and more.

Addressing Systemic Challenges

Meanwhile, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas also advocates for systemic changes through the state legislature. Our work in this area includes advocating for:

  • Pay day and auto lending reforms
  • More affordable housing
  • Additional job training and internship programs
  • Increased resources for childcare and out-of-school time

These vital policy changes help North Texas save more money, stay out of debt, and avoid stress and anxiety, all of which are beneficial for their physical and mental wellbeing and can have a ripple effect on their lives.

Support Improved Health Outcomes for Our Neighbors

A variety of social determinants of health are at play in communities throughout North Texas, keeping many of our neighbors from truly thriving. But together, we can ensure more of our neighbors benefit from equitable access to education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity.

Join the Live United movement and be part of lasting change in our community. Click here to invest in the future of North Texas today.

A Message on the New Year From Our CEO, Jennifer Sampson

In these first days of 2022, we have much to look forward to. Every new year presents a renewed opportunity to make North Texas a better place by challenging barriers in education, income and health, and advancing racial equity across the region. For supporters like you, 2022 brings countless ways to create lasting change right here in our community, exciting events, opportunities to reconnect in person and new initiatives that ensure our Live United movement makes a difference for more North Texans than ever before.

I invite you to be part of the change throughout the year; support programs that have a direct, measurable impact on our neighbors’ lives. Speak up for policy change in North Texas by advocating with us, starting at our Lunch with Legislators on Jan. 27. Volunteer your time to improve education on United Way Reading Day in March, when you can share the magic of books with young North Texans. Bolster education, income and health when you join us April 6 at The Pitch, our exhilarating social innovation competition where social entrepreneurs compete to fund their never-before-seen ideas for transforming our community. And soon after, we’ll mark the close of our $100 million endowment campaign—a goal we will achieve a full two years early thanks to our incredible supporters.

This is just a preview of what’s ahead. Stay tuned for more opportunities for change-seekers like yourself to do purposeful and truly inspiring work.

For me, it’s uplifting to know that 2022 is a chance to join together, united, to make progress on our community goals and ensure our region is the best place to live, work and raise families—for everyone. That progress will mean hard work. And it’s exactly the kind of work that United Way and our Live United movement are made for.

Happy New Year. Thank you for being part of our movement for change. With your passion and dedication, 2022 will be another incredible year as we create opportunity for all our neighbors to thrive.

Yours Gratefully,

Jennifer Sampson
McDermott-Templeton President and CEO