A Note from James Taylor

James L.M. Taylor
President & CEO

James Taylor, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg shares information and updates in each edition of the Tocqueville Telegraph and Leadership Ledger.

November 2019 – As the holiday season approaches, we look back at the impact United Way has had this year on friends and neighbors in our region.

We helped Bonnie, a stay-at-home mom who could not afford to send her children to preschool, by providing kindergarten readiness camp. We supported Debra, a Chesterfield County resident who has dealt with a multitude of financial hardships, through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. And Cameron, a student in Petersburg struggling in school, received the assistance he needed through a United Way funded program.

Families and individuals in our region are facing significant challenges all year long. Your gifts allow United Way to be there when help is needed most. This holiday season, I hope you will consider how your partnership with United Way can make a difference in our community.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

August 2019 – As the end of summer approaches, we look back on a busy few months at United Way.

We have launched a new program to help rising kindergarten students, held our first Steps to Success Award Ceremony highlighting the great work of our partners, selected agencies to receive funding in our upcoming grant cycle and kicked off our Literacy Kit collection.

This work and that of our partners is enabling your local United Way to do more and create more lasting change in our region.

I hope you take the time to learn more about these great successes and I look forward to seeing you at the events listed below this fall.

May 2019 – As our 2018-2019 campaign year comes to a close, we are reflecting on and celebrating the many successes made possible by your incredible generosity. A few highlights include –

  • 1500 Literacy Kits were delivered to our region’s rising Kindergartners.
  • $2.5 million dollars in federal refunds were generated to our community members through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
  • Approximately 280 companies rallied together to invest in their local community with United Way campaigns.

This impact shows that there is no limit to what we can accomplish when our community comes together.

I hope you will join us next month to celebrate these successes and many more at our first annual United Way Steps to Success Awards, an event to recognize outstanding individuals and partners who improve our region by supporting our work in the community.

February 2019 – Thank you for your leadership support of our important work in greater Richmond and Petersburg. We are happy to share with you some of the results of your generosity in this newsletter.

United Way continues to leverage its ability to research and analyze data to inform our efforts to fund programs that help people along our Steps to Success.

We also use that foundation to inform our work to help changes systems that will better allow people to access success while also using it to craft empowering messages that help people make the better choice for their lives and the lives of their family.

One such effort is emerging in Petersburg where United Way is leading the charge to start a school-based health center to boost the health and education of students in Petersburg City Public Schools. I hope you will read on to learn how our efforts are magnifying your investment to create positive results for people across our region.

November 2018 – Thank you for your generous support of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. 2018 has been a great year for our organization and momentum is building now that the Steps to Success framework has been fully embedded in our work. Founded in our research capacity, the framework drives how we empower individuals and address systemic issues so everyone has a clear path to success.

On September 6, we announced 15-month grants funding 73 programs in 51 agencies. These grants totaling $4.2 million are fully aligned with the nine Steps. This announcement was the culmination of hundreds of hours of commitment by the volunteers who make up our Action Councils and Community Building Committee. The process started with announcing funding availability across the region. Agencies identified which Step and which indicator their programs would be actively working in their applications and our volunteers evaluated the programs to invest in those that would make the greatest difference. These investments of unrestricted gifts add to the $2.7 million in designations that United Way helps raise for other nonprofit endeavors.

Our funding is an important part of our work, but we know that funding programs is not sufficient to create the change we seek. So, we also work to bring people and organizations together to remove systemic barriers that keep people from making progress. One area that continues to need greater effort is third grade reading. While educators are primarily responsible for this, families and community members can help. Our work leading the Greater Richmond Campaign for Grade-Level Reading across the region seeks to increase the availability of summer learning opportunities to address summer learning loss, as well as help address chronic absenteeism: two key barriers to success at this critical educational milestone.

Finally, we believe that people can achieve a great deal if they have the right information at the right time. By empowering people with important cues at everyday moments, better choices can be made so that they and their children will find their path to success. Whether reinforcing the importance of prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy, prompting parents to use everyday moments as educational opportunities for early learning or encouraging neighbors to look in on older adults who may be isolated, we can help everyone find success.

Accomplishing this work is important and it requires resources. We have set our sights on an 8% increase in our campaign this year and, with your help, we will be able to accomplish that growth. Because of the clarity of the Steps to Success and the value that United Way brings to this work, we are seeing more and more opportunities for creating conversations on how people can help. New workplace campaigns, greater outreach to current and former donors, as well as greater visibility are all contributing to a new sense of optimism and impact at your United Way. If you want to learn more, please let us know so we can set up a time to talk. Once again, thank you for your generous support of your United Way.