United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County recently made a commitment to invest $6.3 million over a five-year period in its Dual Generation Initiative. The investment continues the nonprofit’s work to break the cycle of generational poverty for children, parents and families on the Eastside and significantly expands the initiative’s work to the Westside of San Antonio.
The allocated funds are part of an unrestricted $20 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in December 2020. To advance the work further, the Corporate Partners for Racial Equity invested an additional $1.5 million over three years to improve racial equity in San Antonio.
“Building on the momentum of the Dual Generation Initiative work in San Antonio’s Eastside that began in 2012, the Board of Directors of United Way has approved this strategic investment to bring services and hope to more families and neighborhoods in key Westside zip codes,” said Lisa Friel, chair of United Way’s Board of Directors. “We’re also able to strengthen our existing outreach on the Eastside to make a lasting difference in thousands of lives in our community.”
Edwina is one of Dual Generation Initiative’s newest Eastside participants. She is hopeful the program is the start of a brighter future for her and her young son.
“Two years from now, I see myself not only finishing the program but maybe taking it a step further and getting into community college… I see my son at some really cool daycare and enjoying his time… I see an ability to look back and say ‘I overcame that. I got through that. I didn’t just do it for myself but I did it for my baby,’” said Edwina.
The Dual Generation Initiative supports people like Edwina by providing tuition-free career training, support services for uniforms, immunizations, certification fees, employment placement as well as high quality childcare services. The Initiative focuses on removing barriers and enabling families to achieve greater stability and success by creating solutions for finding education, housing, childcare and employment.
Overall, the Dual Generation Initiative will invest $2.1 million per year to supplement programming with childcare subsidies, direct client assistance for basic needs, family engagement activities and United Way “backbone” (infrastructure) supports.
The Dual Generation Initiative also works closely with “systems” partners to enhance services to parents and children, including Alamo Colleges District, City of San Antonio, Workforce Solutions Alamo, SAISD, San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA), and Texas A&M-San Antonio Institute for School and Community Partnerships and Edgewood ISD through SB-1882.
For generations, poverty and a lack of education and opportunity have held people back from achieving more for themselves and their loved ones.
“As a result of MacKenzie Scott’s foresight and trust in United Way and our mission … we are now able to leverage the work of our existing and new partners who are equally as engaged in transforming the lives of at-risk families in our community,” said Chris Martin, United Way President and CEO.
“We are grateful for the vision of our City leadership, a recent investment from the Corporate Partners for Racial Equity, and for MacKenzie Scott’s gift and its profound and far-reaching impact on our community,” said Martin.