Read about UWECI’s experience advocating for important initiatives at Day on the Hill last week.
On a chilly Wednesday morning, members of United Way of East Central Iowa’s (UWECI) staff joined other Iowa United Ways for the organization’s annual Day on the Hill Wednesday, February 5.
“With Day on the Hill being just my third day at United Way, I was looking to observe and learn,” said UWECI President and CEO Kristin Roberts. “I was able to understand what main points are important to our local United Ways across the state as well as see the collective momentum we can create when we work together.”
Each year, United Ways of Iowa collaborate to develop their top priorities for the Iowa legislature that align in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. UWECI staff spoke with a vast majority of the state’s representatives and senators and advocated for three main initiatives:
- Childcare assistance: Staff advocated for the expansion of child, dependent care, and early childhood development tax credits so more Iowans can benefit from these programs.
- 2-1-1 funding: Staff advocated for more funding and efforts to begin a statewide investment in the coalition.
- Children’s mental health system: Staff advocated for support of the Coalition to Advance Mental Health in Iowa for Kids to fund the Children’s Behavioral Health System, which was established in 2018.
In the afternoon, United Ways of Iowa met with Bill Kitson from United Way Worldwide to discuss the “Modern United Way”, followed by discussing strengths, weaknesses and the possibility of shared services in the future. This discussion brought different initiatives to light and encouraged UWECI staff to think about the bigger picture.
“It was impactful and unifying to see the collective work of United Ways from across the state of Iowa come together to share a joint vision and priorities for all Iowans,” said Senior Manager, Volunteer Engagement Angelica Vannatta.
Throughout the day, staff members found the experience to be educational and eye-opening, especially when it came to learning of plans for the initiatives they advocated for.
“[Enhancing 2-1-1] will be game changing for our community members if we can get the word out through the app, website and phone lines,” said UWECI graduate intern Allison Hein. “I didn’t know about 2-1-1 before interning at United Way, but I’ve already used the app to help friends, family, and people I meet in the community find resources.”
Roberts agrees, and is looking forward to the influence this day will have on future plans and projects.