I often hear from the community that people do not understand what United Way Bay Area (UWBA) does—do we run workplace campaigns? Do we lead poverty-focused programs? Do we support other nonprofits? The answer to all of this is yes. But I want to take this opportunity to clearly state what we stand for.
Simply put, UWBA fights for the right of every single Bay Area resident to have equal opportunities to thrive. And we do mean every single resident, every population, every minority group, and every individual struggling in our community. We see our work through a lens of celebrating diversity both externally and in our internal guiding principles, which you can read about here in our Diversity Statement (PDF).
Through all of our work and especially through advocacy, we will be firmly and unequivocally standing up for everyone who feels vulnerable, including immigrants and refugees in our community. We believe immigrants make significant contributions to our community. They are community leaders, business entrepreneurs, and part of the rich fabric of the cultural diversity we enjoy in the Bay Area. They are our colleagues, community partners, and clients. Our family, friends, and neighbors.
And in the face of recent executive orders, we stand with immigrants to fight for equal opportunity and reject rhetoric and policies that foster fear, discrimination, and hate.
Four years ago, our Board of Directors took a stance in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Today, we reinforce our position to support policies that provide opportunities for all immigrants to achieve economic success, including the undocumented as they get on a path to citizenship. UWBA serves and advocates for EVERYONE to have a chance at prosperity regardless of their country of origin, race, sexual orientation, or religion.
A few cases in point: 211 provides a critical helpline to all people seeking information and referral including immigration and naturalization legal services; Earn It! Keep It! Save It! helps all individuals file their taxes and provides assistance to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; SparkPoint provides financial coaching to anyone who walks through their doors and is committed to long term stability; our labor liaison in San Francisco provides citizenship classes and legal support to immigrant workers though WE RISE SF; and our policy team successfully advocated for health coverage for all children in California irrespective of their immigration status.
We stand with our partners in government, business, labor, and community who have voiced their support and compassion for our immigrant communities. Now, it is more important than ever that we stand firm in our core values. At UWBA, everyone is welcome.
Chief Executive Officer