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United Way Suncoast helped Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl legacy extend to families

As we gear up for this weekend’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, the game serves as a reminder of our own community’s care. Tampa Bay’s last turn as Super Bowl host in 2021 yielded a great game, a Bucs victory, and a community collaboration that enriched the lives of newborns and their families.

In a pioneering effort, the Super Bowl LV Host Committee Legacy 55 program, PNC Bank, and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission joined forces with United Way Suncoast to launch the First 1,000 Days Tampa Bay pilot program. This innovative project, aimed at nurturing 20 Suncoast families with newborn children, stood as a beacon of hope and community commitment to the well-being of the next generation.

Wrap-around care highlighted program

The program revolved around the development of Unite FL, a regional care coordination platform led by key figures from United Way Suncoast, Healthy Start Coalitions, and Tampa General Hospital. These leaders provided comprehensive wrap-around care, ensuring the success of each child’s early learning journey, physical wellness, and their family’s financial stability.

Central to the First 1,000 Days Tampa Bay program was the collaboration with strategic nonprofit partners, including the Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas. By uniting these organizations, participants benefited from a robust support network that extended beyond the program’s immediate duration. Technical support was actively provided to these nonprofits to enhance their referral platforms, ultimately aiming to assist all Suncoast families in the future.

Participants in the program actively engaged with dedicated community navigators, ensuring access to available public support. From WIC and EBT to Medicaid, unemployment, and CARES Act benefits, the aim had been to leave no stone unturned in supporting the families involved.

“They always extended a helping hand and nurtured my family’s growth, and in the soil of support, we flourished,” one participant said. “Gratitude fills our hearts for the positive impact it brought to our lives.”

Participants rave about benefits

The program showcased its dedication to technology access by providing each family with a Surface tablet after 90 days. The tablet equipped them for their child’s early learning journey. Additionally, a stipend of safety net funds, managed by their navigator, addressed various needs, including rental/mortgage, utility, transportation, food, child household, safety, child wellness, household workforce development, technology/connectivity support, childcare, and educational materials during the First 1,000 Days of Life.

“During challenging times, this program significantly enhanced my communication skills and confidence, allowing me to connect with other moms who have had similar experiences and assisting me in achieving key goals. It also provided guidance, budgeting, and saving skills,” a second participant said. “This program has undoubtedly altered my life; I am glad for the opportunity to be a part of it.”

“This program has been nothing but supportive financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. I’ve been introduced to some awesome people and received helpful resources,” a third participant said.

Based on our data, participants in the IDA program completed over 70 coaching sessions, resulting in impressive savings exceeding $35,000.

The First 1,000 Days Tampa Bay pilot program went beyond a mere initiative. It served as a testament to the power  of community collaboration and the belief that every child deserved a strong foundation. Through active investment in family well-being during this critical period, they shaped the lives of children and built a stronger, more resilient community for generations to come.

Go here to learn more about United Way Suncoast’s broader support of early learning.

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