Community Essentials Programs Provide Critical Services

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Food. Water. Housing. Safety. Healthcare. Clothing. Identification. Access to technology.

When United Way made the decision to adjust our Community Impact Grant model in 2020, we knew there was one area of our work that would stay the same: support for essential community services.

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This decision was an easy one. We can’t create the long-term change we seek if our neighbors are not able to meet their basic household needs. Our United for ALICE report found 24% of families in Champaign County earned more than the federal poverty line, but not enough to meet their basic household needs. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – our neighbors who are working hard yet still struggle to make ends meet. 

Combined with the 20% of local families who earn less than the federal poverty level, nearly half – 44% - of families in our community are walking a financial tightrope. They are one missed paycheck away from crisis. That’s why Community Essentials – our safety net – are so critical.

From home-delivered meals to shelter services and low-cost dental care, Community Essentials programs alleviate the challenges our neighbors face. Our 211 hotline helps people untangle the complex web of human services and find the right program for their needs. Last year our grant programs served an estimated 32,000 people.

Thanks to United Way donors’ increasing support of the Community Impact Fund, in 2022 we were able to increase the Community Essentials grant pool by 12.75%, to $663,000. With your support, we can continue to grow our work in this critical area.

Help prevent crisis for more neighbors

We know there's always more we can do to help our neighbors. That's why we need your help to expand our Community Essentials grants again next year.

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