Baby in grass

Creating Better Lives In Shasta County

UWNC partnered with the Shasta County Health & Human Services Department in 2014 to spearhead the Prosperity Initiative through 2019. The goal of the Prosperity Initiative is to produce greater economic mobility and opportunities for residents of Shasta County. This initiative has laid the groundwork for programs that help families increase savings and improve their financial stability.

Why Prosperity? 

Improving financial stability for families is a key step toward influencing other outcomes. When the initiative started, 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.
  • 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.

How We 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 need to address root-cause issues. We do this by tackling the causes of poverty in a holistic and sustainable way. At the same time, we build 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 coordinated fundraising and implementation activities in support of the Prosperity Initiative, with financial and in-kind resources provided by a number of nonprofits, along with banks, foundations and government agencies. 

Progress to Date

Program: NorCal Bank On

United Way of Northern California helps local individuals open a bank account through Bank On. A bank account can help you build savings, get access to credit and keep your money safe. We’ll connect you with financial literacy classes, training, and information so you can start putting money back in your pocket. 

Click here to learn more, or contact Theresa McCausland at (530) 241-7521 x 101 or

Helpful Resources

Real Cost Measure

How Much Does it Really Cost to Live in California?

The United Ways of California conducted a study of the financial challenges facing working families. Its report – the Real Cost Measure – replaces the federal poverty index (which primarily accounts for the cost of food only) as a true measure of the minimum salary needed to live in a given community. The Real Cost Measure takes into account the cost of housing, health care, child care, transportation, food, and other basic needs. 

Here are some of the findings from the 2019 study:


  • A family of four in Shasta County would need $71,288 to stay afloat.
  • The median household income in Shasta County is $45,582.
  • 38% of households in Shasta County struggle to meet basic needs. That’s an estimated 20,186 households. The corresponding figure is 39% in Butte County and 41% in Tehama/Trinity/Colusa/Glenn.


Program: Semi-Annual North State Work Readiness Forum

United Way collaborates with the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency and the Smart Business Resource Center to prepare residents for job success. This event is held twice a year to educate people on first impressions, how to create a winning resume, dressing for success, and other job readiness skills. The event typically brings together more than 100 participants and 20 community-based organizations.

Program: Interactive Youth Website

The Youth Portal serves youth, parents and youth-focused agencies by pointing them to a variety of resources including social services, training programs, internships, scholarships and more. It can be accessed at   

Interested in learning more about The Prosperity Initiative or related programs? Contact Theresa McCausland at (530) 241-7521 x101, or