United Way Worldwide announced on May 11 at the United Way Community Leaders Conference in Vancouver, B.C., Canada that United Way of Southern Cameron County won the Common Good Award for Community Solutions. The annual award celebrates the ways in which United Ways are creating lasting impact in the areas of education, income and health--the building blocks of a good life.
The award recognizes a specific United Way from nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories which best exemplifies United Way's goal of building stronger communities through their work. This year, United Way Worldwide recognized excellence and effectiveness in three areas: Program Solution, Issue Initiative and Community Solution. Honorees were evaluated on the effectieness of their programs and their ability to foster meaningful change in their communities.
United Way of Southern Cameron County was honored in the category of Community Solution. Community Solution recognizes multi-sector efforts to identify and provide solutions for underlying community issues.
United Way of Southern Cameron County works with many community stakeholders to increase family financial stability and to control and offer an alternative to payday and auto title lending in southern Cameron County. Major accomplishments of the partnership are the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance project, which brought in over $4.3 million in Earned Income Tax Credits and $9 million in refunds this year, the adoption by the City Commission of an ordinance regulating payday and auto title lenders, and the creation of an alternative to these loans through the Rio Grande Valley Multibank's RGV Community Loan Center, developed and administered by the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville.
"We are honored that United Way of Southern Cameron County was selected as one of three United Ways in the world to be honored with a Common Good Award," said Traci Wickett, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We share this award with Community Development Corporation of Brownsville and its visionary Executive Director, Nick Mitchell-Bennett. Without Nick and his team, the Community Loan Center would not exist."
Board Chair Claudia Cantu-Grimaldo of Wells Fargo Bank said, "We are a very small United Way, and it's a huge honor to be recognized for our work by United Way Worldwide. We are grateful to them and to everone in southern Cameron County who supports United Way of Southern Cameron County. Our local donors make everything we do possible."
United Way of Southern Cameron County was founded in 1955 to provide solutions to southern Cameron County's most pressing community problems. Governed by a 21-person Board of Directors comprised of local leaders, United Way of Southern Cameron County focuses on cradle to career education initiatives, increasing family financial stability, and the prevention of health problems. The organization's mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community to advance the common good.