Since the bottom fell out of economy, we’ve seen poverty and unemployment numbers grow, and day after day of bad news. However, there may be signs that the economy is stabilizing. The 2011 census poverty data is out, and the nation’s official poverty rate in 2011 was 15%, with 46.2 million people in poverty. After three consecutive years of increases, there was no statistical change from the previous year.
Some are heralding this as good news. However, we at United Way say 46.2 million is too many.
“Though there are signs of recovery in terms of a stabilized national poverty rate and a Bay Area unemployment rate which fell 13% in the last year, people on the ground just aren’t feeling it,” said Eric McDonnell, United Way Chief Operating Officer. “Poverty has become the new normal, and we say that’s completely unacceptable.”
Contrary to the census news, nonprofits are seeing more people come through their doors. According to United Way’s Nonprofit Pulse Survey which surveyed 368 Bay Area nonprofit organizations, 74% of nonprofits report an increase in need for services.
To manage the influx, collaboration is becoming more important. According to the survey, 61% of nonprofits collaborated with other organizations to provide services last year.
That is why United Way is harnessing the collective power of dozens of nonprofits, government agencies, corporations, and labor organizations in a movement to cut Bay Area poverty in half by 2020. Big names like Catholic Charities, Goodwill Industries and dozens of others are with us.
“It’s going to take nothing short of a movement to cut poverty. United Way is bringing together the community in that movement, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Debbie Alvarez-Rodriguez, CEO of Goodwill Industries.
But any movement is only as strong as the individuals in it. Right now, there are 70,000 people who give, advocate, or volunteer through United Way. If you’re not already one of them, click here to join the movement.
Click here to learn more about the Nonprofit Pulse Survey.