Public Policy - United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
Public Policy


United Ways across the country engage in public policy advocacy because government is a major provider, funder and decision-maker for health and human services. United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County views engaging in public policy as a critical strategy to ensure we achieve our results. This includes reminding policymakers of our mission, vision and the impact their decisions have on our approach to solving our community’s most critical issues. To achieve long-term community change, we must review how public policies affect our ability to achieve results and advocate for improvements.

Our advocacy strategies are non-partisan, data-informed and results-oriented. We focus on building relationships to inform, educate and build consensus around our four community Impact Areas. No single agency, organization or effort can address the myriad of needs our community faces alone. We leverage our relationships to advocate for advancing policies that uplift the lives of children, students, families and individuals and to provide safety net services in times of crisis.


Our Ready Children Impact Area aims to have all children grow up in safe, stable and nurturing environments. It ensures that they are healthy in mind, body, spirit and are progressing toward their full potential.

Ready Children Impact Area Priorities:

  • Ensure access to affordable, high-quality child care and strengthen the child care industry as an essential workforce support
  • Support promising and evidence-based practices that reduce abuse, neglect and toxic stress, improve maternal health, improve child health, encourage parenting and promote healthy child development
  • Engage and support caregivers as partners in learning from birth to improve literacy and numeracy
  • Expand access to vital, affordable health care programs including Medicaid, which provides all essential health benefits including behavioral health services, maternal health and child health
  • Improve public payment rates: Complete Cost of Quality vs. Market Rate Study and shift to funding by Cost of Quality
  • Scholarship (subsidy) must be able to be set at the highest available rate – for Texas Rising Star (TRS) 4 (and maybe for TRS 3 as well) – this would incentivize providers to keep pressing up to TRS 4 – and potentially make it financially viable to stay at TRS 4

Our Successful Students Impact Area works to have all young people be actively engaged in their communities, prepared for the workforce and have resource-rich environments to learn in.

Successful Students Impact Area Priorities:

  • Support strategies and initiatives aimed at improving student health, emotional well-being and academic outcomes
  • Strengthen efforts to effectively engage and support all caregivers in their roles as partners in learning from birth to improve literacy and numeracy through eighth grade
  • Strengthen pathways to college and career, including wraparound supports to provide equitable access to postsecondary opportunities
  • Strengthen previous improvements and efforts aimed at closing the long-standing gaps in student outcomes among the state’s low-income and communities of color
  • Ensure equitable access to affordable, high-quality early and out-of-school care and education opportunities, especially for under-served communities

Our Strong Individuals and Families Impact Area strives to ensure all individuals and families are stable, flourish economically and maintain a quality of life free of discrimination.

Strong Individuals and Families Impact Area Priorities:

  • Strengthen access to workforce education and training programs that provide wraparound services
  • Stabilize and strengthen the child care industry as an essential workforce support
  • Support policies and practices that strengthen financial health, including financial literacy, credit repair, asset building, access to banking and fair lending practices
  • Support tax credit outreach and assistance programs/funding
  • Ensure access to physical, mental and behavioral health services, including substance use treatment and suicide prevention – considered as a part of the wrap-around supports tied to workforce education and training
  • Boost the safety net and update eligibility requirements for SNAP and TANF
  • Create and implement a statewide higher education articulation framework for early learning pathways

Our Safety Net Impact Area strives to provide emergency and disaster care services to help stabilize individuals and families, meeting their most immediate needs.

Safety Net Impact Area Priorities:

  • Invest in and strengthen 2-1-1 as a connector and data resource that leverages information to address non-medical drivers of health, such as food, housing, transportation and employment within the healthcare delivery systems
  • Support a continuum of services focused on ending housing insecurity and ensuring access to safe, affordable and stable housing
  • Combined with Priority #1, address social determinants of health by leveraging information and referral systems such as 2-1-1
  • Boost the safety net and update eligibility requirements for SNAP and TANF to help Texans meet their basic needs and support a family’s pathway to self-sufficiency


The nonprofit sector is the third largest employer in the US and has played a critical role in helping the country respond to recover and rebuild post-pandemic. However, increased demand for services does not always lead to increased revenue – thus, there is a need to advocate for strengthening the sector.

Nonprofit Capacity Building Priorities:

  • Strengthen the capacity of nonprofits, including improvements to contracting and partnerships between nonprofits and the government
  • Increase the Universal Charitable Deduction to at least $4,000/$8,000 through 2024 and beyond
  • Invest in Texas 2-1-1 and strengthen its ability to serve as a front door, connector and data resource for critical community needs and services as needed
  • Bridge the digital divide for communities across Texas through digital equity and inclusion
  • Supporting policies, partnerships and programs that promote equity and social justice
  • Provide additional federal tax incentives for charitable donations from individuals, foundations and businesses

Jeniffer M. Richardson, DM, MAOM
UWSA Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Public Policy

Jonathan Gurwitz
Chair, UWSA Public Policy Committee

Michelle Lugalia-Hollon
Vice-Chair, UWSA Public Policy Committee

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