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Video Transcript: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s Chief Impact Officer testimonial

Hi, I’m Amanda Whalen and I’m the Chief Impact Officer at the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.

For 100 years United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has been working to meet the needs of kids and families across our region.

No matter the crisis or the issue we have always remained steadfast in our commitment to live united and take care of our community.

At United Way we center Racial Equity in our work because we know that the current systems of support are not set up to effectively serve our families of color. Through our investments and partnerships we place a priority on culturally specific and culturally responsive organizations

to meet the needs of our community.

These are organizations whose client-centered approach to services is based on the cultural strengths and experiences of those they serve.

Research shows that kids of color thrive most when they are served by culturally specific and responsive organizations. That is why at United Way we prioritize these organizations through our investments and partnerships.

At United Way we’re uniquely positioned to bring people community partners foundations business and government agencies together to build awareness of the challenges that our community is facing, focus on where the need is the greatest and scale what works.

We knew that at least one in three families was unable to pay for basic needs. Now with COVID-19 disproportionately affecting communities of color, we know that families need additional support in housing utilities and food resources, and we know that there are going to be tremendous gaps and learning loss for kids across the region.

When the pandemic first hit our community we worked to get resources out to our trusted partners to support families quickly. Families received rent utility and food assistance to support immediate needs, in addition to those immediate needs families are going to need long-term

support as we work to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.

Our plan for keeping families housed will support academic achievement and health outcomes during these uncertain times.

Together we’re meeting the immediate needs of our most vulnerable families today while also building racially equitable systems to create lasting impact for generations to come.

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