Mesa United Way raises donations through workplace campaigns and allocates the money to local non-profits who join us in fighting for the Health, Education, and Financial Stability for Mesa residents. Last year through designated and non-designated donations, we contributed over 1.6 million dollars to community agencies. However, Mesa United Way is so much more! In an effort to meet the needs of all of our citizens, we also create initiatives, collaborations, and volunteer opportunities that strengthen our community. Here are 10 other aspects of the work of Mesa United Way.

  1. 12 Books – Education. Read on Mesa and 12 Books work to increase the literacy of students through 3rd grade and their families. Last year we distributed over 12,000 books. This school year we have moved into a new location where we can store and prepare the books and offer GED and literacy classes through a partnership with Chicanos Por La Casa. We will also provide tutors to some of our Title One school partners to aid in the critical issue of literacy. Contact: Patricia Mullen
  2. AmeriCorps – Last year we managed and provided over 50 AmeriCorps/Vista volunteers to several agencies in Mesa, increasing the capacity and outreach in Health, Education, and Financial Stability, creating a workforce savings of $686,359. Contact: Harmony Nelson
  3. AWEE –  Arizona Women’s Education and Employment, Inc – Education, Financial Stability. A recent partnership with AWEE is allowing our first group of 15 people to receive two months of intensive training in the banking industry. At the end of the training, financial institutions will interview and hire most of the students (their track record is 80% with a 90% retention rate). Contact: Don Jensen
  4. Helen’s Hope Chest – Health, Education, Financial Stability.  Helen’s Hope Chest provides clothing, back-to-school items, birthday gifts, necessities, and Christmas gifts to young people in foster/kinship care and their caregivers. We exceeded all of our records last year and expect to do the same this year. We have added workshops for the families –  everything from college prep to nutrition – and expect to have an even greater impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our community. Contact: Katie Pompay
  5. Homeless Coalition – Health, Financial Stability. At the request of Mayor Giles, we are working with a coalition of providers, city staff, and other connected agencies to create a rational, affordable, and compassionate strategic plan to assist those who find themselves without a place to call home. Contact: Azza Abuseif or Mark Young
  6. Kids in Philanthropy – Education. Because of a generous gift of one of Mesa’s strongest philanthropists, we have been involved in teaching 5th graders at Lehi Elementary School what it means to be a philanthropist. Each child is given $100 to give to local agencies. They learn about philanthropy, listen to the presentations of local nonprofits, and then determine how their money is used. This year Paz De Cristo, House of Refuge and the United Food Bank received $4,300 at the conclusion of the program. Contact: Alicia Holmes
  7. Mesa Veterans Resource Center – Health, Education, Financial Stability.  Last year, The Boeing Company generously awarded us a $50,000 grant to begin Bridge to Employment, a program designed to help veterans receive training for work with the help of a mentor. We discovered that there are dozens of veterans organizations doing good work in a variety of arenas, but they are spread across the valley and often unknown to the veterans. With the help of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and Mesa Community College, we will soon be opening a place where veterans can come and get a variety of their needs met, always talking to a person instead of getting into an endless phone loop. We will house many of the services onsite and will provide transportation to other places and appointments. Contact: Travis Anderson
  8. Mesa Youth Unite – Education, Financial Stability. In its second year, Mesa Youth Unite, through our AmeriCorps program, hires young people to work in local nonprofits. Last year we hired 5 young people to work in area food banks. This year we had 50 applications for 20 positions and found exceptional students to work with our partners in areas of literacy. The students also receive leadership training, marketing training, and an educational stipend to further their own education. Contact: Jessie Young
  9. Oakwood Memoir Project – Health, Education. Speaking of AmeriCorps, we have two young writers interviewing some of the members of Oakwood Creative Care in order to create a memoir project, stories of many of the members that can be shared with caregivers and families, and stories that may help change the perception of what it means to be a person battling Alzheimer’s and dementia. Contact: Joseph Nieves
  10. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – Financial Stability. Our VITA program is one of the strongest in Arizona, exceeding goals every year by helping low-income people get their taxes filed and get returns they deserve. Our VITA program works year round, also assisting those who are in trouble with the IRS or people who haven’t filed taxes for years. The program enlists over 90 volunteers to work in 6 locations throughout Mesa during tax season and last year brought back more dollars in returns than ever before (well over 6 million). VITA will be expanding this year to help provide training to other communities’ volunteers. Contact: Don Jensen