Skip to main content

Financial Stability

Q: Where can I find an explanation of the Financial Stability Initiative?

Click here to find a "white paper" about our Financial Stability Initiative. It includes our goal, objectives and strategies for the initiative.

Q: When did you decide to take on Financial Stability as a focus area or "initiative"?

A: On October 10, 2017, United Way of Hancock County announced its newest initiative. Through 3 years of research, strategic planning, studies, community mapping, community assessments and two rounds of community conversations, two main issues have consistently risen to the top: Finanicial Stability/Workforce Development and Mental Health/Substance Use.

As we researched further into the causes of these issues, financial stability became the overarching factor that could have a positive impact on these issues. Here’s why: A financially stable family can afford housing. A financially stable family can afford reliable transportation. Transportation can assist in maintaining employment. Maintaining employment can result in having access to resources to treat family members for substance use or mental illness. Getting treatment for substance use and mental health will increase chances for stable employment.

Q: How will you improve financial stability for citizens in Hancock County?

A: We have three strategies for building financial stability in our community.

Workforce readiness: Working alongside the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and other community providers, we will be able to identify our target population. Identifying barriers to employment: lack of transportation, soft skills, affordable housing or access to quality healthcare as well as literacy, mental and physical health issues, harmful substance use, past felony convictions and more.

Once barriers are identified, we must ensure the new or returning workplace entrant is equipped to enter the workforce with the requisite knowledge, skills or abilities required to succeed in the workplace. Activities can include: identifying the unemployed, underemployed, unemployable or Asset Limited Income Contrained Employed (ALICE) individual; assessing their barriers and needs; addressing and eliminating the identified barriers and/or provide the necessary training; connect the individual to employment and more.

Financial Empowerment: We will help families living on the "benefits cliff" and families who are in a cycle of generational poverty. We will help families who are living under the tyranny of the moment which means “no chance or ability to plan due to a constant state of emergency” leaves little opportunity to plan for a crisis when unexpected expenses are suddenly incurred.

Without resources to manage, financial acumen is neither understood nor exercised. By engaging the target population with financial literacy opportunities, coaching, education, financial tools and the recognition of community resources that can provide leverage toward financial competency, the individual can achieve financial well-being and stability

Youth Investment: We will work with partners who are preparing our young people for the workforce of the future and to be financially stable adults. Working with our public, private and parochial school systems, as well as our league of child care providers, United Way of Hancock County and community partners from multiple sectors will assist in a grassroots effort to address the long-term education, soft skill development, critical thinking, and family function of our area youth.

Examples of partnerships:
Leader in Me
Prekindergarten

Q. What is the “benefits cliff”?

A: “Benefits cliff” is a term to describe a barrier for low-income families trying to move up the economic ladder. It describes situations where going to work or getting a raise causes a family o backslide. In benefits cliff scenarios, benefits decrease as earnings increase, and the loss of benefits may partially or completely offset the family’s earnings. For some benefits, there is no phase out and the loss of benefits is abrupt. Here's more about the benefits cliff:
http://www.dhs.state.or.us/caf/ss/tanf/docs/tanf_reducing_the_benefits_cliff.pdf

Q. What is the “tyranny of the moment”?

A: When an individual is focused on simply surviving and the pressing needs of the day require immediate responses, they are forced into the tyranny of the moment. Poverty becomes self-perpetuating, in part, because people cannot get out of crisis mode long enough to plan for the future.

Q: What is the goal of the financial stability initiative?

A: Our overarching financial stability goal is for residents of Hancock County to increase their financial stability.

Q: What does the term “unemployable” mean?

A: Unemployable refers to a person who is not able or likely to get paid employment because of a lack of skills, qualifications, drug use or criminal background.

Q: What does unemployment mean?

A: Unemployment is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as people who do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the past four weeks, and are currently available for work. Also, people who were temporarily laid off and were waiting to be called back to that job are included in the unemployment statistics. Those who have not looked for work within the past four weeks are no longer counted among the unemployed.

Q: What do you mean when you refer to Collective Impact?

A: Collective Impact is a framework for addressing large community issues. Collective Impact occurs when cross-sector stakeholders concerned about the issue form a plan of action with a common agenda, shared measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and led by a backbone organization. When these five conditions are met, the opportunity for greater impact increases. (Stanford Innovation 2012)

Q: What is the Coalition Building Process?

A: The Coalition Building Process is a system that our facilitators use to guide the work and record the Collective Impact progress.

Q: How much money are you committing to the Financial Stability Initiative?

A: United Way of Hancock County is committing to making 5 million dollars available over the next 5 years for this initiative. This number can and may be adjusted based on results of these programs. This doesn’t mean 1 million a year for each year. This does gives us a solid goal to go after in our fundraising efforts.

Multi-year grants are new to us. Although we have funded many individual programs for more than 60 years in a row, we have never granted a program for more than one year at a time. We are adopting this new approach because we know that change cannot happen overnight.

Current community partner agencies whose programs are not in the scope of work for our current funded initiatives, financial stability and food security, will continue with the standard program funding application process.

Q: How is initiative funding different than your current funding model?

A: When United Way of Hancock County began, the focus was on funding agencies through the “community chest”. United Ways also helped by providing a one-time ask and payroll deduction for several different organizations instead of many organizations visiting the same people. This underwriting of good causes was a noble concept but did not create community change. Agencies would come to us with the deficit in their budget and we would make up the difference. The focus was on the number of clients served by the agency and keeping the doors open. There were duplications of services, and there were gaps in services. United Way raised the funds, then turned around and granted the funds. Workplace giving was basically the reason for our existence. Our revenue stream included our own fundraising efforts and corporate gifts. Grants from foundations or government entities were unheard of.

In 2003, United Way recognized a need for change. We saw that there were more and more nonprofits coming into existence. We saw that even though we were hosting workplace campaigns, our funded agencies still needed to fundraise.

We also heard from donors and leaders. They wanted to see measurable outcomes, not just numbers of people served by these organizations. Donors wanted to see our community provide a hand up, not a hand out. We wanted to turn tax users into tax payers. The change we initiated was to fund programs instead of simply filling agencies’ financial gaps.

With this transition we aimed to decrease overlap of services and lessen the gaps. We implemented our “measurable outcomes” model. We began to request and hear stories of lives being changed through program funding. We began our work to address root causes, but we were still based in the idea of a workplace campaign and distributing funds to agencies.

Our funding streams remained the same. Our overall impact was good but still broad and did not result in systemic change.

In the 2008, under the encouragement and guidance of United Way Worldwide, and as a result of national research, we focused our funding to the areas that make up the building blocks of a good life: health, education and financial stability and we aligned our programs accordingly. But we also began to take an even harder look at our local issues. We also added planned giving efforts to our fundraising tasks. Growing our endowment allows for a sustainable future to continue our work. Third party grant opportunities from corporations, government entities or foundations were still off limits. We basically were still working off of two funding streams.

But look what happens when we move to the collective impact model. We have more opportunity for funding. As we learned from the Halt Hunger Initiative, grants from foundations and corporations are now available to us. We have a much more focused approach to making change happen in our community. With this work, and as we achieve financial stability for all of our citizens, we hope to lessen the need for other support services. We hope to: decrease homelessness, decrease the need for hunger relief, decrease transportation challenges and provide treatment for mental health and substance use issues. More treatment equals people who can work, save money and learn techniques to better manage their financial situation.

Q: How do I apply for a grant from the Financial Stability Initiative?

A: As agencies express an interest in funds from the Financial Stability Initiative, a link will be provided allowing an established initiative collaborative, or a single program to sign into the system. Should the requested initiative/program meet the initial requirements, permission will be given to complete the grant.

Items to note:

We are no longer limited to traditional nonprofit organizations.
More weight will be given to those working together to address community needs.
Multi-year funding will now be considered.

The grants will be reviewed by community volunteers who will make funding recommendations based on how the clients are better off, how the service is being delivered, and the direct impact on the community. Innovation is encouraged. So is collaboration.

Q: What is the RFP timeline?

A: Requests for Funding (RFP) will be available to the public by November 10, 2017. This will be on our website, we will do media releases, we will connect with agencies beforehand.
Grant deadline is February 1, 2018.
Grant awards will be announced mid-to-end of March, 2018.
Funding will be dispersed beginning April 1, 2018.
It is expected that grants will be multi-year in order to affect change.

Q: Who should I contact with questions about the grant process?

A: You can contact Bev Phillips at 419-423-143 or beverly.phillips@uwhancock.org