United Way of Clallam County Programs
UWCC provides funding to 25 partner agencies in focus areas of Education, Income and Health. UWCC partners with these and other local nonprofits to build capacity through staff / board development; developing collaborations addressing pervasive community problems, and encouraging better management of resources.
In addition, UWCC also works with Community Solutions Initiatives focusing on bringing the community together to address challenging problems. Two initiatives are listed below:
Great Beginnings, the UWCC Early Learning Initiative focused on increasing parenting skills, increasing quality of child care and addressing child readiness for school. Projects with succinct outcomes addressing defined priorities are funded in 1-2 year cycles. Work also includes leading an early learning coalition to address priorities which include expanding parenting and child care education and skill building opportunities; early identification and resources for at risk families; developing a systematic approach towards early learning, and educating the community about the value of this work.
Clallam County Literacy Council, a program of UWCC, partners with agencies and organizations across the county to raise resources, financial and volunteer, for literacy. The primary focus is early literacy and includes getting books into hands of at risk children/families – e.g., distributing books at all food banks, providing books for children in the foster system, providing literacy material and books for new mothers, and providing books for agencies serving at risk populations. A secondary focus provides free one on one tutoring to adults.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Great Beginnings (GB), UWCC’s Early Learning Community Solutions Initiative
Following a 2009 broad needs assessment engaging more than 400 people in countywide focus groups. Resulting data was used to identify issues important to community members: 1) Education – access to a quality education for self and children; 2) Income – access to a job which supports a family, and 3) Health – access to a healthy life and to health care services. An Education Task Group then worked to identify 4 priorities, goals and strategies and an action plan for a long term commitment to invest in early learning. Why Early Learning? We now know that 85% of children's brains develop in the first 3 years of life and that children who receive quality early care from parents and/or child care programs do better for the rest of their lives. Conversely children without similar support struggle and often drop out of school, have problems with juvenile and adult criminal justice services. Significant evidence exists that investing in early learning services provides substantial return on investment and is driver of economic development.
Additional resources are needed to fully fund our GB work (and other ongoing work). UWCC received a large gift to the Clallam Community Foundation, UWCC’s endowment fund which the UWCC board dedicated to Great Beginning; these funds were used to launch initial grants. However, to take Great Beginnings to scale, additional resources are needed. The current economic climate has yielded increased needs in basic needs areas, and has had a negative effect on fund raising in our county. The UWCC Board is committed to providing ongoing funding for the GB Initiative but is challenged by other pressing community needs.