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United Way of Rhode Island Begins 2015-2016 Annual Campaign

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – When Rhode Islanders help Rhode Islanders, we get results. That’s the call to action of United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) as the organization begins its 2015-2016 Annual Campaign and highlights a year of life-changing community investments thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers.

Having recently released Requests for Proposals for its latest three-year grant cycle, UWRI’s 2015-2016 Annual Campaign has a goal of raising $12.8 million through hundreds of workplace campaigns. Last year’s UWRI campaign raised $12.5 million, helping the organization invest in programs that improve lives today while laying the foundation to create lasting change that strengthens our communities for the future.

“We know that our new strategic plan to change the lives of 250,000 Rhode Islanders by 2020 is ambitious, but one of the many things that make United Way of Rhode Island unique is our approach to fund proven programs that produce results,” said Anthony Maione, president and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island.

With a focus on life-long learning, providing basic needs supports, and engaging the community to facilitate change, United Way-funded programs made an impact in every corner of the state during the past twelve months.

Dedicated to improving how, when and where students learn, UWRI is helping children fall in love with learning by working with its partners in education to create afterschool and summer learning programs get results through hands-on activities. The Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative, established by Hasbro, Inc. and UWRI to keep students engaged in education during the summer, has grown to reach 1,600 youth. Instead of experiencing the typical two-months of summer learning loss, participating students achieved an average of 35 percent gains in literacy and 47 percent gains in math from the beginning of the summer until the end. Additionally, UWRI’s focus on education resulted in $450,000 to support afterschool programs for students of all ages, $392,000 in grants to improve early childhood education programs, and an investment of $100,000 to engage girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming.

UWRI also made substantial investments to help Rhode Islanders from all walks of life meet their basic needs. Last year, United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island, a 24/7 call center that helps families and individuals get answers and connect with a wide-range of human services, handled more than 197,000 requests. Whether someone is seeking information on childcare, mental health issues, food and utilities assistance, or elder care services for a loved one, donations to UWRI’s Annual Campaign help ensure they have one place to turn by supporting 2-1-1.

Believing that being homeless should be rare and temporary, UWRI continues to invest in programs that connect people with services designed to help them become permanently housed. In addition to supporting the goals of Zero: 2016 to eliminate chronic and veteran homelessness in Rhode Island by 2016, UWRI last year invested $573,000 in programs to stabilize households in crisis, along with $874,000 to support programs that address temporary and permanent housing through the creation of affordable housing and case management services.

Another UWRI-funded and led initiative, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, experienced tremendous results this past year. Through nearly 30 statewide sites offering free tax preparation services to working Rhode Islanders who earn less than $53,000 annually, 11,500 individuals filed their 2014 tax returns through the program, returning more than $17 million to the local economy through tax refunds and tax credits.

“While we remain proud of the accomplishments of the past year, there’s still more work to be done; work that is only possible when we all come together around common goals,” added Maione. “Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on growing the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative, further supporting the creation of affordable housing, and expanding use of the VITA program, for when children have access to a high-quality education and our neighbors have safe, affordable housing they are able to do better for themselves and their families.”

About United Way of Rhode Island

United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) has been working to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island for more than 80 years. Together with its partners, UWRI is changing lives and strengthening our communities by investing in proven programs that work over the short-term, and are scalable over the long-term. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDri.org.

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