Children will drive our future community strength. United Way Suncoast leads many programs (in addition to programs we lead and fund through partner agencies) which serve more than 200,000 children and youth to help them develop academic skills and succeed in school and life. United Way Suncoast focuses on early literacy to ensure that more children are able to read on grade level by third grade, and youth success, to help young adults successfully navigate middle and high school and graduate prepared to pursue vocational or secondary education. United Way has a passion for literacy and has created the Early Literacy Initiative (ELI) to help ensure more children get the support they need for a solid academic foundation. Some of the current programs include: ReadingPals (promoting literacy through mentoring), Walking School Bus (increasing attendance and decreasing tardiness), Read on myON Project (increasing access to e-books for children in Hillsborough County), and the Summer Care Initiative (ensuring quality, affordable child care and reading curriculum to combat summer learning loss).
United Way Suncoast facilitates a wide array of financial education, workforce development and credit/debt/tax counseling programs designed to help families and individuals increase their incomes and build financial stability. Not only does United Way Suncoast assist with job opportunities (from job skills development, GED and high school graduation programs, employment services, and more), but we want to ensure that families and individuals reach financial stability through more informed financial decision making and awareness of all the services available to them, including access to free tax return preparation assistance.
Through the support of the Affordable Care Act and the FamilyWize program, United Way Suncoast is able to help our DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Sarasota communities achieve a healthier community in the future. The FamilyWize program provides a free prescription drug discount card to help underinsured individuals obtain their medication at a discount. United Way Suncoast has healthcare navigators on staff to assist community members with navigating the health insurance marketplace to gain access to healthcare coverage.
Living in Florida, we all enjoy the tropical climate and warm, wonderful people year-round. In the event a hurricane threatens, it’s wise to have an emergency plan in place and know where to turn for resources. United Way Suncoast maintains an online disaster resource list, including federal aid programs, evacuation plans for the greater Tampa Bay area, and monitoring information.
Often, an unplanned setback or crisis can create significant barriers for families. United Way partners with a number of service providers through 2-1-1 to help people find solutions to a temporary emergency need related to food, shelter, and safety necessities.
Through place-based initiatives, United Way Suncoast works with community leaders and partners to provide services and programs targeted to the needs of the people of that community. Currently, two neighborhood initiatives each are in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, with plans underway in Sarasota. Each community initiative is unique to the needs of the neighborhood. The North Greenwood (Clearwater) Neighborhood Program is focused on youth development and high school graduation. The Campbell Park Elementary (near Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg) Neighborhood Program is focused on education, including attendance and tardiness, as well as financial stability programs for the adults in the community. The Potter Elementary (East Tampa) Initiative is set in a school where 66 percent of the students were once identified as not having basic reading skills. We work with a variety of partners in the way that brings the most value to the individual communities and the region as a whole, including raising awareness of the values of early learning, providing educational resources for area home child care providers, and teaching early learning skills to the parents of children at Potter Elementary. The Sulphur Springs Program focuses on providing job training, financial counseling, and education, as well as access to services through a United Way community resource center.
United Way partners with a variety of agencies to deliver programs and services across the Suncoast region.