Good News Network November 2018

Record Number of Volunteers Show Tucson They Care

Days of Caring 2018 Recap

You did it again! Thank you for helping United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona break another volunteer record! With your help, more than 4,200 volunteers rolled up their sleeves and took on more than 100 projects around Southern Arizona during the 19th Annual United Way Days of Caring. That all amounted to 15,707 volunteer hours in just a couple days! Volunteers helped revitalize playgrounds and schools, walked shelter dogs, picked up trash along roads and in parks and helped to feed thousands of people here in Southern Arizona. "This is one of those events that shines a spotlight on the giving nature of the community," said United Way of Tucson CEO, Tony Penn. "We're seeing this event grow every year and it's making a real difference in neighborhoods across Tucson. Thank you for helping Southern Arizona thrive!" Make sure to check out more photos from the event by clicking here. It's never too early to think about next year. Click here to email us and get on the mailing list for the 20th Annual Days of Caring coming fall of 2019. 
We Couldn't Have Done it Without You!

Along with the thousands of volunteers who gathered for United Way's 19th Annual Days of Caring, our generous sponsors exceeded our expectations and proved they truly care about Tucson. We want to thank our Platinum Sponsor: Wells Fargo, our Gold Sponsors: Freeport-McMoRan, Texas Instruments, GEICO and IBM and our Copper Sponsors: Andrews Family Foundation, Simply Bits, Caterpillar, Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, Hudbay and Tucson Electric Power. All those businesses, large and small, helped provide funding for the event and even gathered employees to volunteer. Our Media Sponsors: iHeart Radio, KOLD News 13, Yelp, Tucson Local Media and Biz Tucson helped to get the word out to the community and helped us hit a new volunteer record. And our Community Partners: the UA's Eller College and Tucson Clean & Beautiful Inc. are vital to the event, helping address needs in the community and gather volunteers to help meet those needs. Thank you all for helping Southern Arizona thrive! Click here to learn about sponsorship opportunities for next year's 20th Annual Days of Caring event. 
Keep the Volunteer Streak Going: Join the VITA Team

Even though Southern Arizona's largest volunteer event is over, thousands still need your help. You can  make a real difference in someone's life by joining our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) team this year. VITA  provides FREE, quality tax preparation from IRS-certified preparers to individuals and families earning up to $66,000 annually. You can be a part of this incredible program that  puts millions of dollars back into the pockets of Southern Arizonans. Last year we prepared 16,875 tax returns bringing $25.3 million in federal refunds back to our local economy. No experience is needed to volunteer. United Way of Tucson provides training. You just need a few hours a week and a desire to give back. There are several training sessions coming up.  Click here to learn more about VITA and read the People Profile below for a little more inspiration. 
People Profile: Meet Gary Henshaw

Right now, United Way of Tucson is recruiting volunteers for another event that changes lives. This month, we want to introduce you to one or our 2018 VITA volunteers of the year. Gary Henshaw grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago. After receiving his electrical engineering degree, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Southern California for their careers. The couple moved to Tucson in 1994 as a result of the defense industry consolidation. Gary retired from Raytheon back in 2012 where he was a manager for developing and pre-production programs. He enjoys bicycling, motorcycling with his wife and visiting his grandchildren. Aside from volunteering with the United Way of Tucson VITA program, Gary has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Tucson since 2012. Here's a little more about Gary. 

How did you get involved with United Way & VITA?

Actually, my involvement was the result of contacting Interfaith Community Services, where Sue volunteers, about VITA. They directed me to United Way and I enrolled as a volunteer, took the tax preparer classes and signed up to be part of the ICS team.

Tell me about your experience with VITA?

The coming tax year will be my fourth. I have served at the ICS site each year and last year volunteered to the be the site coordinator. We have an outstanding team at ICS, and I'm sure that is true at all of the other VITA sites as well. The transition to site coordinator was helped in no small way by the ICS staff, our volunteer team and by the outstanding United Way staff.

What inspires you to give your time?
There are many in our society and community who need help in a variety of ways. VITA provides assistance by ensuring that those who use this service receive the maximum tax refund without having to give some of it up to a commercial preparer. Most of the taxpayers we see need the best return possible to make ends meet for the coming year. They depend on this for their families and living expenses. I believe it's important for all of us to consider ways to give back to our community, and view VITA as a vital service in this regard.
Also, in giving back as a volunteer I benefit from meeting and associating with other volunteers. The friendships I've built with the ICS team, ICS staff and the United Way staff are important and rewarding to me.

Any advice to others who are considering volunteering for VITA?
Do it!!  The VITA program here in Tucson is well-organized and between the knowledge and experience at each of the sites, well supported. Take the classes and then decide which of the volunteer options best suit your personality and abilities.  You'll find it to be a rewarding experience.

Anything else you'd like to add?

One last "plug" for the United Way folks!! It has been great to work with Rachel, Rae, Pia and Ken. Aside from the VITA volunteers, they are instrumental in the success of the VITA program here in Tucson.

Click here to sign up to become a VITA volunteer and change lives like Gary.
Backpack Project Delivers Impactful Message on The UA Mall

Students, faculty and visitors of the University of Arizona got an eye-opening look at an otherwise hidden problem here in Southern Arizona last month. 5,500 backpacks lined the UA mall, symbolizing just more than quarter of the 21,000 Opportunity Youth living in and around Tucson. Opportunity Youth are 16-24-year-olds not working or in school due to economic, social and educational barriers. The project was both an art installation and collection drive to raise awareness about Opportunity Youth in Pima County. It was led by the Backpack Project Youth Coalition and supported by United Way of Tucson. We want to thank everyone who donated and helped draw attention to this important issue. Click here to donate to Opportunity Youth here in Southern Arizona.  Click here to read the Arizona Daily Star article about the art installation. 
Hundreds Gather for United Way Campaign Kickoff

The giving season is now underway! United Way of Tucson had its annual kickoff event, hosted by Citi. Nearly a thousand people showed up last month to get energized for the workplace campaign season. The campaign is an annual giving program that enables employees of local businesses to support United Way's community impact program through convenient payroll-based contributions.  This year's kickoff set the tone for an exciting year with inspirational speakers, games and even a mascot dance-off including Ronnie the Roadrunner of the Tucson Roadrunners, The GEICO Gecko, IBM's Bee, Teddi the United Way Bear and others. 
In the end, the TEP Powercat proved to be the most energized and took the top spot. The workplace campaign will run until June 30, 2019.  This year's campaign chair is Steven Dasch of Citi, a United Way board member.  "Just imagine, with only $10 donated every pay period, an employee of a local business is providing  more than 100 hours of volunteer time for seniors in our community so they can stay in their homes,"  said Dasch. "And with a $30 donation every pay period, an employee is helping to successfully re-engage  one student who has dropped out of school with new educational and career pathways," he continued.  For more details on the workplace campaign and information on how to enroll as a participating  business, click here. 
 Give and Receive this Holiday Season

The giving season is now upon us! But this year, you can give and receive when you GIVE UNITED. Because United Way of Tucson qualifies for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit, when you target your donation to Helping the Working Poor, you qualify for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on your Arizona State Income Tax Return. Individual filers can donate $400 and joint filers can donate $800 and get the credit. Besides that dollar-for-dollar tax credit, when you donate to United Way of Tucson,  we are able to turn each dollar into a $5 impact thanks to our partnerships, grants and community support. And every dollar of that stays right here in Southern Arizona to help provide job-skill training, affordable child care, educational opportunities, emergency services and more to the working poor in our community. 

Mark your calendars! The annual Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 27th. Giving Tuesday is a global movement that sheds light on giving back to the community the Tuesday after Thanksgiving when the holiday season really ramps up. We ask that you please consider giving to United Way of Tucson  this Giving Tuesday. When you GIVE UNITED, the problems and challenges that seem too big to tackle in and around Tucson are suddenly within reach. Click here for more information and for a simple way to donate. 
Tocqueville Invests in Tucson

Top left: Tocqueville members and community leaders at the Davis's home Top right: Edmund Marquez and Sandy Maxfield Bottom left: Sisters Yolanda and Beki Quintero Bottom right:Karla Bernal Morales with Cole and Jeannie Davis and UA President Dr. Robert Robbins

We want to thank all those who came out to our 2018 Fall Alexis de Tocqueville event late last month. Our generous Tocqueville members gathered to celebrate our major accomplishments over the past year and renew their investment in Southern Arizona. A special "thank you" to our hosts for the evening, Tocqueville members Cole and Jeannie Davis and Tocqueville member, United Way Board Member and President of the University of Arizona, Dr. Robert C. Robbins, who was our keynote speaker.  Tocqueville Society members set the standard for charitable giving in our community, helping United Way of Tucson make long-term improvements in Education, Health and Financial Stability. The Tocqueville Society is always looking for new members. Click here to email Jeff Petrovic for more information on joining this incredible group making a major impact on Tucson. 
Grieving the Dead in the 21st Century

Thanks to all those who attended the  18th Annual End-of-Life Community Conference appropriately held at the Westin La Paloma. The event was held on el Dia de los Muertos, a day of celebration and remembrance of friends and family members who have died. More than 300 people attended the event that was presented by Casa de la Luz Foundation in conjunction with the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership of United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona (EOLCP). The EOLCP brings together people from a wide range of organizations to collectively create a global model for end of life care. United Way of Tucson is the backbone organization for the Partnership, whose mission is to enhance the way we live by fundamentally changing the way we talk about death. Click here to learn more about the Partnership and why it's so important to face the often uncomfortable issue of death. 
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