July 2017 Around Town 2

United Way of Roanoke Valley

United Way of Roanoke Valley (UWRV) has dedicated 92 years to improving lives in the community, proudly serving the citizens of the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Vinton and Botetourt and Roanoke and Craig Counties. By leading partnerships with hundreds of nonprofits, government agencies, policymakers and businesses, UWRV helps solve urgent community needs that no one organization can solve alone.

This past summer, UWRV launched a community listening tour to ensure their approach to solving community problems is meeting the most relevant challenges in the area. After numerous workshop discussions, as well as gathering results from almost 300 surveys taken at 12 community events, a new strategic vision to “elevate 10,000 families to self-sufficiency by 2030” was developed and will be implemented next spring.

“The combination of research and experience over the years has shown that issues with education, income and health are interrelated and that families are rarely faced with challenges in just one area,” United Way of Roanoke Valley President and CEO Afira DeVries says. “With that in mind, we plan to build our current work and integrate these strategies in a cradle to career framework that addresses the needs of family members at every stage of life.”

UWRV partners with agencies and initiatives such as Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke, Healthy Roanoke Valley, Bank On Roanoke Valley and Rehousing Youth for Success in Education to help improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of people in the Roanoke Valley.

Last year, with the community’s support, they were able to help nearly 30,000 people across the Valley send children to quality, affordable childcare programs; build knowledge and skills for employment and financial management skills; and access affordable health care services that families so desperately needed.

Working at critical points along the education spectrum ensures the success of local youth by empowering parents and children alike. UWRV invests in health strategies that pursue and promote wellness and in income strategies that help people in crisis meet basic needs to expand the economic potential of local families and the Roanoke Valley as a whole.

Over 21,000 families in the Roanoke Valley—25 percent— fall within the federal poverty line; this means that a household of four lives off of less than $24,000 each year. Despite best efforts, many working families are struggling to meet their daily needs, and without the right interventions, poverty becomes cyclical, something that is passed on to the next generation.

For more information about United Way of Roanoke Valley, its partners or how to donate, please visit UWRV.org or call 540.777.4200.