annual report

RENEWED RESILIENCE

2020 - 2021

reflection

BOARD CHAIR & CEO MESSAGE

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Dear Friends,

 

Over the past year, our community has faced challenges unlike any other, but our United Way mobilizes and responds to each challenge and obstacle that comes our way. But we couldn’t have done it alone. Even in circumstances unprecedented in our lifetimes, our community comes together time and time again, proving we can withstand even the darkest of times. 

 

Enduring the COVID-19 pandemic on the heels of a mass casualty event and large migrant influx has tested our resolve as a community, but we continue to stay strong. Our United Way continues to support those in need, serving as the backbone for important programs, including the Community Resiliency Center, which was opened to support those financially impacted by the pandemic, and funding critical organizations throughout the community to assist those impacted by these difficult times. 

 

Over the past year, we transitioned our programs to an online format, conducting virtual home visits through our Parents as Teachers Program and supporting the first virtual Young Leaders Society Cohort by REALIZE Board Training Program in completion of the program. We also supported the creation of the Book Nook at Sunland Park Mall and partnered with Workforce Solutions Borderplex to launch the Skills for Success program, supporting parents enrolled in our Parents as Teachers Program in obtaining job and educational certifications to gain full-time employment. While this year was a difficult one, our United Way adapted to every change that came our way.

 

As we navigate the recovery process of living through this pandemic, we have found strength in supporting one another in our times of need. It is because of your continuous support that our United Way can overcome these challenges and provide vital support to our community.

 

Even during one of our most trying and difficult years in recent times, we are accomplishing important work together in the community—work that will lift us up out of these dark times and into a brighter future. As we continue to heal and hold each other up, we continue to embody what it means to Live United, and united we will make it through. 

CRYSTAL LONG

DEBORAH A. ZULOAGA

Board Chair 2020-2021

President & CEO 

STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE

moving forward

For many individuals and organizations, the challenges of the last year led us to reflect on our ability to sustain our newly developed scope of work and adapt to a digital more virtual future. For those reasons and more, we found it imperative to begin an internal transformation that looks at who we are, how we work, and what lies ahead.

Transformation to Modern United Way

Like in many situations we find ourselves, the work that we dream up is only possible with the support of our partners. As we sought out opportunities to transform into a more “modern” United Way, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation generously awarded us a $113,942-grant to implement new internal organizational systems and invest in technology for increased effectiveness and efficiency during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This much-needed and dedicated funding will allow us to look to the future and help us better position ourselves so we can align the quality of work we produce with how we operate. With better software and technology, we are poised to rebound far better after the year that was 2020. We are currently phasing this new infrastructure but are truly excited about the possibilities.  

 

Philanthropy & Engagement Department  

The next step is the syncing of our resource development and marketing departments to create a cohesive, seamless department known as philanthropy and engagement. We saw this an opportunity to deepen the connection and engage with our donors. Through better communication, we plan to increase awareness about how donor dollars transform lives but also showcase to donors the added value of being a part of the United Way family. This merging of departments is also an acknowledgement that our methods of communication and engagement need to transition into a more inviting and digital setting. Our work has just begun in this space but the outlook is promising.

MacKenzie Scott Funded Initiatives

As part of this transformation, our United Way is also forecasting the development of programs and initiatives that tackle issues unique to our community. This work, which is in the early stages, is made possible thanks to a $5-million donation from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Our organization was among a select group of organizations nationwide and three in El Paso who received such an award. In true United Way fashion, this work will be guided by the thoughts and suggestions of stakeholders, donors, partners and volunteers to create the greatest impact on our community.  

leading the way

OUR RESPONSE EFFORTS

United Way hits the ground running with each challenge and obstacle that comes our way. Even in unprecedented circumstances, our community has proven time and time again that we are able to withstand even the darkest of times. Through our COVID-19 response efforts, the standing of the El Paso United Community Resiliency Center (CRC) for those financially impacted by pandemic, and our continued work through the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center (FRC) for those affected by the August 3rd tragedy, we continue to lead and provide support when needed the most. 

<<Click Arrows to read more about: El Paso United CRC & FRC >>

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, United Way of El Paso County has hit the ground running to support the community through the navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team partnered with numerous organizations throughout the community to help mitigate the virus’s effect and initiate recovery efforts for the community.

United Way of El Paso County engaged in the following activities to impact COVID response:

 

COVID-19 RESPONSE

  • Partnered with the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation to launch the El Paso COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofits assisting vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those facing homelessness and food insecurity.

  • Built the volunteer capacity with local food banks as well as funded the Get Shift Done from the El Paso Community Foundation, which supports hourly workers whose jobs were adversely affected by the pandemic. 

  • Transitioned early childhood programming to virtual format.

  • Added educational supports for families with children age 0-5.

  • Supported local food pantry in increasing volunteer and coordination capacity as well as upgrading equipment to improve efficiency.

  • Supported food bank to provide meals delivered to homes of COVID-positive and home-bound individuals.

  • Supported local technology-based non-profit in creating and manufacturing face shields for use in hospitals and schools.

  • Provisioned and distributed cleaning supplies and basic needs essentials for homeless shelters and food pantries.

  • Created and delivered hygienic care kits for vulnerable homebound, senior population.

  • Supported meal provision and gratitude efforts for essential healthcare and emergency response personnel.

  • Supported local community organizations in providing utility assistance to El Paso households.

  • Supported local senior population with delivery of food boxes and basic needs essentials.

BY THE NUMBERS

$102,000+

allocated to support

local relief efforts

75,524

bottles of hand sanitizer distributed to agencies, including homeless shelters

1,500

Senior Care Kits with hygiene products distributed

50

funded programs that  continued to provide critical services, safely or virtually

$10,000

in meals for healthcare workers in COVID-19 units and maintenance personnel

200

recreational activities donated to families in emergency shelters during the stay-at-home orders

1,352

toilet paper rolls distributed to agencies, including homeless shelters

25

high-quality medical kits distributed to local agencies 

our impact areas

EDUCATION

Borderland Out-of-School Time (BOOST) Network/Healthy Kids 

United Way is the proud backbone organization to the Paso del Norte Health Foundation's Healthy Kids Initiative. The goal of the Healthy Kids Initiative is to improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in the Paso del Norte region in high quality out-of-school time programs. United Way serves as an intermediary and convenes programs and partners through the BOOST Network. The network is made up of individuals and organizations who are committed to improving summer and afterschool programs. In response to COVID-19, our efforts were moved to a virtual format, including Lights on Afterschool, a celebration of afterschool programs.

Book Nook

Our United Way assisted Sunland Park Mall with the opening of a Book Nook—a place for children and their families to gather and read, complete activities, and spend quality time together. On the first Fridays of every month, our Parents as Teachers program will host families who are invited for special events, arts and crafts, and other activities on which to engage with their children.

Grade-Level Reading 
The goal of our Grade-Level Reading Initiative is to help ensure children throughout the borderland read at their grade level. In the 2020 fiscal year, we distributed 1,765 books at eight different events throughout the community. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted to a digital focus, partnering with the United Way Parents as Teachers program to host storytime and family interaction videos via social media.

Parents as Teachers (PAT) Program

The United Way Parents as Teachers program is a free, evidence-based program that supports parents and caregivers of children between the ages of 0 and 5 in becoming their child’s first and best teacher. Parent Educators conduct home visits focused on providing parents guidance with child development and educational and fun activities, helping to ensure their children are meeting important developmental milestones and improve school readiness. Participants also gain access to a supportive network, resources throughout the community, and more. Between July 2019 and July 2020, parent educators conducted 2,359 home visits, including virtual visits to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic, serving 788 children and 549 families. We also transitioned programming to a virtual format, including monthly Group Connections and Parent Cafes, and conducted drive-by parades for our Family Appreciation event.

Virtual STEAM Camps 

In partnership with the Child Nutrition Department at Anthony ISD and Fabens High School, United Way offers various STEAM camps throughout the community, focused on providing activities and educating children in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The program is supported by volunteers who lend their time to teach children participating in the camps. This past summer, El Paso Electric college interns led the program in a virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for 312 participants in Fabens and Anthony.

our impact areas

HEALTH & BASIC NEEDS

Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) 

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program supports those experiencing hunger and homelessness throughout the community. United Way allocated federal funding in order to support programs and organizations offering provisions and housing to those in need, which was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way raised $145,000 to support food and shelter programs assisting those in need during the pandemic. Through funding through the CARES grant, the average total meals served through the ESFP was 1,229,554 and 5,839 nights at local shelters was supported. In addition, we allocated grant funding to support 235 rent or mortgage payments and 10 utility assistance payments.

Enroll El Paso

United Way serves as the leader for the community-wide coalition of partners offering support through Enroll El Paso to help El Pasoans with enrolling or automatically re-enrolling in quality, affordable medical insurance through the Medical Insurance Marketplace. These organizations, including faith-based organizations, nonprofits, hospitals and more, support El Pasoans through the application process via one-on-one assistance.

Senior Fund

A partnership between United Way, the Area Agency on Aging, and the El Paso Times, the Senior Fund supports local senior citizens in need. Donations made to the Senior Fund help cover the costs of items such as hearing aids, bathroom installations, and toiletries for senior citizens throughout the community. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the Senior Fund, United Way assembled more than 1,550 senior care kits, complete with toilet paper, hand soap, masks and other necessities, and delivered them directly to senior citizens’ front door steps. This past year, the Senior Fund was also able to allocate more than $31,000 to pay for two dental procedures, four grab bar home installations, three home modification projects, and five hearing aid fittings to respond to the needs of clients of the Area Agency on Aging. We also assisted with the Day of Action donation drive to support the Senior Fund.

SingleCare

Formerly known as FamilyWize, United Way partners with SingleCare to help El Pasoans throughout the community save on their prescription medications. SingleCare’s prescription savings card program can help reduce the cost of prescriptions regardless if the individual is insured or uninsured, helping them to obtain medications that may have otherwise been to expensive to do so. In 2020, SingleCare helped the El Paso community save $628,919.50 on their prescriptions.

our impact areas

FINANCIAL STABILITY 

Skills for Success

A partnership between United Way and WorkForce Solutions Borderplex, Skills for Success was created to assist parents enrolled in our Parents as Teachers to further their education and skills in order to gain employment. This includes GED and job certification courses with the goal of gaining full-time employment, allowing parents and their children to lead more financially stable lives. The Skills for Success program also helps parents with obtaining childcare assistance and public benefits assistance, knocking down barriers that may otherwise prevent them from completing these programs and obtaining meaningful employment.

MyFreeTaxes 

MyFreeTaxes is a free, online program that helps individuals complete their taxes. MyFreeTaxes offers step-by-step assistance throughout the entire process as well as online and over-the-phone support from a certified tax professional. MyFreeTaxes, in collaboration with United Way and H&R Block, helps individuals in the El Paso community save their hard-earned money when filing simple taxes. During the 2020 tax season, 204 households in the El Paso community filed their taxes through MyFreeTaxes, with an average refund of $2,431.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Site 

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides tax payers with free one-on-one assistance from IRS certified tax preparers. An initiative started in collaboration between GECU and Canutillo High School, United Way provides coordination and support services to help ensure the success of the program. In 2020, a team of 14 volunteers helped individuals complete 100 tax returns, with an average of return of $2,199.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

our impact areas

All-American City Award Committee

The All-American City Award recognizes communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues. Earlier this year, the National Civic League announced El Paso as a finalists. Our United Way was invited by the City to be a part of the committee comprised of local organizations that will make the strong case as to why the Sun City should be awarded the title and recognized a "A City of Strength." Representatives of the committee will share stories of collaboration, including our own story of standing the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center to support those affected by the August 3rd mass casualty event and then taking that model to create the El Paso United Community Resiliency Center to support those financially impacted by COVID-19. 

REALIZE Board Training Program

The REALIZE Board Training Program helps prepare board members throughout the community to successfully lead a nonprofit board. The program is comprised of courses, workshops, and summits focused on helping board members learn about financial documents, facilitating dialogue between board members, working with CEOs, and more. To accommodate safety protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the REALIZE Board Training Program transitioned to a virtual model, offering courses and events via Zoom. Between 2020 and 2021, the REALIZE Board Training Program hosted 18 Lunch & Learn workshops for 458 attendees. The program is provided by the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in collaboration with United Way.

VolunteerElPaso.org

VolunteerElPaso connects El Pasoans looking to volunteer with opportunities throughout the community. The database has allowed local foodbanks, organizations, and shelters find volunteers to support them with COVID-19 efforts, support with migrants, and other needs. The database was especially needed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. VolunteerElPaso.org served as the bridge between individuals looking to contribute to the community and organizations during these unprecedented times, including the local food bank and homeless shelters in need of increased volunteer support in response to the pandemic. Between 2019 and 2020, 1,628 needs posted in the database were met. Currently, 201 agencies and 12,109 volunteers have profiles on VolunteerElPaso,

Young Leaders Society

The Young Leaders Society is comprised of young professionals looking to support their community and make an impact on the city they love. Members of the society gain access to high-quality events, professional development opportunities, and volunteer opportunities throughout the city. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, events such as the ENGAGE Young Professionals Leadership Summit went virtual, accommodating safety protocols while also still bringing together YLS members to hear from some of the region’s most prominent leaders. In July 2020, the first virtual YLS by REALIZE Board Training Program cohort graduated, completing the program in a digital format. YLS members also participated in our Day of Action donation drive, raising fund to support the Senior Fund, and cohosted Community Matters, a virtual conversation series geared toward engaging with leaders throughout the community. Members of YLS also supported our 2020 Census awareness efforts. Last year, total contributions made by YLS members was nearly $30,000.

RISE

Members of our prestigious RISE group gain access to fun, engaging activities and events, including volunteer opportunities, hang outs, and personal development workshops focused on helping them succeed as young professionals. With the motto #GiveBackHangOut, RISE members gather together to complete hands-on volunteer opportunities followed by social engagement events with their fellow RISE members. Last year, RISE members assisted with activity videos for our Parents as Teachers program and donation drives. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, events such as the Learn with Chef Rulis event went virtual. They also cohosted the virtual conversation series Community Matters, volunteered with our Day of Action donation drive supporting our Senior Fund, and assisted with efforts supporting completion of the 2020 Census.

Census Awareness

To support census completion efforts, United Way of El Paso County partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to spread the word and encourage completion of the 2020 Census. Resources and incentives were delivered via social media and email and shared with partner agencies.

our supporters

ARCOS

Arco de Oro

$100,000+

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Arco de Plata
$50,000+​

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