CREATING BETTER LIVES IN SHASTA COUNTY
The Prosperity Initiative is an ongoing effort to find and produce greater economic mobility opportunities for residents of Shasta County. Using collective impact framework, individuals and organizations have been working together to enhance youth development and enrichment, increase financial stability for families, and strengthen workforce development within the community. Our goal is to create a connected and vibrant community with a thriving economy that benefits all residents.
This initiative was launched in 2014 by United Way of Northern California and the Shasta County Health & Human Services Department after observing a correlation between low income/ low educational attainment and negative outcomes for county residents on various measures of health.
At the time, studies showed that:
- 14.1% of Shasta County residents lived below the federal poverty level and 30% fell below the true measure of making ends meet in the county.
- Shasta ranked 50th out of California’s 58 counties on overall health measures.
- The county’s premature death rate was 45.3% higher than the state average and life expectancy was 4.3 years lower than the state average.
- Median household income —$44,651— was 36.8% lower than the state average.
- The percentage of residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree (18.8%) was 40% lower than the state average.
Improving financial stability for families was seen as a key step toward influencing other outcomes. United Way believed a comprehensive approach, informed by a cross-section of community leaders, would be necessary to life opportunities for all Shasta County residents.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We recognize that the goals of Prosperity can only be achieved by coming together with like-minded partners committed to this effort. We also know that in order to create lasting change, we must determine and address root cause issues. We will do this by tackling the causes of poverty in a holistic and sustainable manner, while building on existing programs and strategies in our community with a proven success rate, affecting a greater number of our neighbors and communities.
This collective impact approach requires the commitment of a group of organizations — including nonprofits, government, business, and philanthropy — to coordinate their efforts around a clearly defined goal.
United Way of Northern California has pledged to coordinate fundraising and implementation activities in support of the Prosperity Initiative and envisions a three-year effort with financial and in-kind resources provided by a number of non-profits, along with banks, foundations and government agencies.
PROGRESS TO DATE
A summit meeting was held on June 2, 2016 at Turtle Bay Museum where participants endorsed three strategic plans and programs to help this effort....
Program: NorCal Bank On
Connects unbanked and under-banked to mainstream, low-cost bank accounts; provides targeted outreach and access to financial education.
Program: Sparkpoint Resource Center
Provides low to moderate income residents with financial coaching, career-counseling, and multiple related services in a one-stop-shopping model. Services focus on three key elements of financial success: managing credit, increasing income and building assets.
Program: National Workforce Readiness Credential
This credential is designed to be a valid predictor of competent entry-level work. Helping Shasta residents gain this credential will improve their prospects and help employers by identifying work-ready applicants.
Program: Semi-Annual North State Workforce Forum
Twice a year, we will bring businesses, service providers and prospective transitional employees together to link clients with jobs and employee assistance services.
Program: Coordinate Youth Mentoring and Training
Many excellent programs exist for youth, but the best ones need to be scaled up and there is a lack of coordination that results in inefficiency and lack of opportunity.
Program: Increased Funding for Youth Enrichment Programs
Create "Teen Fund" to boost after-school and other enrichment programs that excite kids, keep them off the streets and provide positive adult (and peer) role models.
Program: Interactive Youth Website
Site serves youth, agencies that serve them and parents; points to a variety of resources including jobs, internships, scholorships, etc. Includes: web portal & mobile capability.
HOW YOU CAN HELP- JOIN THE PROSPERITY MOVEMENT
DONATE- Any amount, large or small.
VOLUNTEER- At any agency that supports families & youth
BE A MENTOR- Our youth need positive adult role models
If you are interested in learning more about The Prosperity Initiative please contact United Way of Northern California at 530-241-7521 or email firstname.lastname@example.org