United Way of the Columbia-Willamette Raises Over $600k for COVID-19 Relief Effort

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette Raises Over $600k for COVID-19 Relief Effort

Portland, OR. United Way of the Columbia-Willamette worked ahead of the curve to raise over $600,000 in response to the emerging needs due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the community. It began distributing the funds to needy people in April. “We have been overwhelmed with requests for assistance and receipt of in-kind goods,” noted Cindy Adams, President and CEO. “We have continued to leverage our strong partnerships with culturally responsive and culturally specific nonprofits in the community to distribute funding and in-kind goods to individuals and families who have been impacted the most by the pandemic.” Thanks to the help of its partners, United Way has continued to provide access to assistance in short-term housing, utilities, and access to food.

Here’s a video update from the organization:

The nonprofit focuses specifically on racial and ethnic equity by assisting local families and kid’s projects. Its programs include education-based projects aimed at increasing graduation rates for students of color, and financial assistance for healthcare and housing for families.

United Way (UW) staffer delivers in-kind donations to the Q Center in Portland.

The organization adapted quickly to an online business model, due to a previously in-place telecommuting policy that ensured resources and technology were available for the transition. United Way has done its best to navigate the lack of social contact, making the most of technology like Zoom, virtual cards, and phone calls.

LCSA_UW partner: Members of Labor’s Community Service Agency, a United Way nonprofit partner that received Safety Net funding in response to the pandemic, deliver food boxes to families in need.

As donations continue to come in during the nonprofit’s annual workplace campaign season, the organization will distribute the funds to partners assisting those in need as the community navigates the pandemic. Details of the distribution of funds to organizations can be found here.

Cindy Adams expects the needs of the community to continue to grow. She added, “United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is committed to helping our community transition from response to recovery and then rebuilding a community that is more resilient than ever before. We ask that our community, your readers, stay safe, be well, and think about how we can help those who are maybe less fortunate than ourselves.

From United Way of the Columbia-Willamette:

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has been bringing our community together to do good for nearly 100 years.

We connect the people, nonprofits, businesses and government agencies addressing poverty in our region.

Our Mission:

Improve lives, strengthen communities and advance equity by mobilizing the caring power of people across our metro area.

We’re working hard to create a future where kids in our region are free from instability and worry so they can be free to play and discover, free to learn and grow.

Free from poverty. Free to reach their potential.

Right now, 20% of kids in the Portland region live in poverty and 1 in 3 families can’t pay for basic needs.

That’s 1 in 7 kids whose families must choose between:

• Rent or groceries
• Heat or healthcare
• New clothes or TriMet fare

Together, we can make our region a better place for everyone.

With your support, we can continue investing in our region’s schools, families and communities.

Schools for Kids 

  • More students are showing up prepared for the first day of kindergarten than ever before.
  • New preschool classrooms are being built, particularly addressing culturally-specific communities.
  • Graduation rates are increasing for students of color with the help of community partners.

Families for Kids

  • Families receive the assistance they need to help pay for basic needs like rent and food on the table.
  • Many families are staying housed one year after receiving service.
  • With free tax services from our partners, working families are receiving important tax credits to remain financially stable.

Communities for Kids 

  • Through Hands on Greater Portland, United Way’s volunteer program, thousands of volunteers are connected to meaningful projects being held throughout our region.
  • The value of service from our volunteers equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars put back into the community.
  • Hundreds of local organizations are receiving service from our volunteers.

When we understand the causes of poverty in our region, we have a better chance of finding solutions. By partnering with local organizations and providing opportunities to convene and mobilize, United Way can address the different areas of need in our community and find strategies that will create the strongest impact.

United Way of Greater Portland Helps Local People With Taxes

United Way of Greater Portland Helps Local People With Taxes

Portland, OR. United Way partners with H&R Block to offer MyFreeTaxes.com, free online tax preparation and filing for anyone making less than $66,000 a year. Now in its 10th year, 1.1 million people have used MyFreeTaxes.com, bringing more than $1.4 billion in tax refunds back to local communities.

If your household earned less than $66,000 in 2018, you can file both your federal and state returns for free using MyFreeTaxes.com. This is the only free, national, online tax-filing product offered by a nonprofit. United Way has made it available to over 100 million U.S. taxpayers as part of its fight for the financial stability of every person in every community.

From United Way of Greater Portland:

United Way of Greater Portland, together with committed partners and donors, are working toward lasting large-scale change around our community’s shared vision, Thrive2027. We build powerful partnerships across our region and innovate the way people, organizations, and systems work together to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Greater Portland.

The collaborations we forge with community partners are powered by the collective community and led by United Way. Organizations and individuals come together around a common agenda – Thrive2027 – with shared goals, strategies, data, and guiding principles. We build on strategies that are known to achieve the best results, and we rigorously evaluate our progress. Working together, we are capable of achieving real and lasting population-level impact. This is the collective impact model.

Learn about our partners and how we all move towards the same clear goals.

Procrastinators Still Looking for Charity Tax Breaks as April 17th Deadline Looms

Procrastinators Still Looking for Charity Tax Breaks as April 17th Deadline Looms

Portland, OR. Giving to organizations like United Way has always been a great way to support causes about which you’re passionate, with the added bonus of earning a tax deduction. 
Charity Navigator, one of the largest independent charity evaluating services, is offering some simple last minute reminders as your making out your 2017 tax forms. Here’s what you need to know to maximize your tax breaks:
Donations must be tax-deductible.
Not all donations are tax-deductible! To qualify as a tax-deductible contribution, the gift must be made to a charity that has been designated as a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS. And, you can’t receive anything in return for your gift.
So, what does this really mean?
Organizations that receive a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS are typically service providers and are not involved in political or lobbying activities. For example, a contribution to your local animal shelter that is involved in rescuing pets, providing them shelter, and finding them new homes would be tax-deductible. However, a gift to your favorite political candidate’s campaign would not be.

Did you attend a gala or dinner fundraiser this year like the Portland Art Museum’s 125th Anniversary gala? The cost of your meal (what the organization pays for the venue and your dinner) is not tax-deductible, however, anything in excess of that cost may be. Contact the organization to find out. (Andrea Lonas Photography)

Donations must be made in the calendar year.
For this tax year, this means your contributions must have been made between January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. If you’re one of the many people who wait until the last week of December to make their donations, make sure your receipts are all properly dated for the 2017 calendar year.
Donations must be properly receipted.
It’s important to hold onto all of your donation receipts. This will help you keep track of all of your charitable giving when it comes time to file your taxes, and provide you with records of your gifts if you were to be audited.
It is important that your donation receipts include language stating the date the gift was made, the amount of the gift, how the gift was made (cash, stock, in-kind, etc.), and that no goods or services were received in exchange for your gift.
Donations must be in excess of the standard deduction.
Under the 2017 tax code, individuals receive a standard deduction of $6,350, and couples receive a standard deduction of $12,700. For charitable contributions to count toward increasing your deduction they must be in excess of the standard deduction. A tax prep service or your accountant will recommend itemizing your deduction if it exceeds the amount of the standard deduction. They will use your donation receipts to properly deduct your charitable contributions.
For even more tips and information, check out these additional resources at Charity Navigator:
For specific questions about filing your taxes, deducting charitable contributions, or planning for future charitable giving, it is always best to seek the opinion of a professional accountant or financial adviser.