United Way News You Can Use: July 2022

Recipients of the 2022 Promise on the Plains grant pose together.
Promise on the Plains invests $100,000 to build a more equitable community

United Way observed the Juneteenth holiday by announcing our first-ever equity grant recipients through Promise on the Plains. 10 local nonprofits collectively received $100,000 to help close gaps and disparities in the communities of color they serve. This grant opportunity was announced earlier this year during Black History Month. It aims to support and strengthen organizations serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities while advancing the work of United Way in the areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs.

For a list of this year’s Promise on the Plains recipients and more about this equity grant, read our press release.

A side view of a Wichita City Transit bus that's wrapped in artwork advertising the Veterans Ride Free program.
Veterans Ride Free renewed

Veterans Ride Free, a vital transportation program that allows veterans to ride any Wichita Transit bus or Q-line for free, has been extended for two years. The program is funded by the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center and United Way’s Flags of Freedom initiative. The service has been a pilot program in collaboration with the City of Wichita since 2020. It’s aimed at removing transportation barriers to help veterans access medical appointments, employment, shopping, social visits and other daily needs. Last year, veterans rode the bus 40,345 times. Stops at the VA Medical Center have increased by 120% since the inception of the program, just one indicator that veterans are getting better access to services.

“I started using the free bus rides for veterans about a year ago,” said Josh. “It changed my life. Before I walked everywhere. My feet were my only transportation. Now that I can ride the bus for free, I keep my medical appointments and can go anywhere I want without having to bother someone for a ride. I feel independent for the first time in years.”

A volunteer listens to a third grade student read as part of the Read to Succeed program.
Dial 2-1-1 for free tax prep appointment beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18

Thanks to the dedication of volunteer reading coaches, more than 340 second and third-grade students improved their reading skills this past school year through Read to Succeed. Volunteers met weekly, one-on-one with a student for 30 minutes to listen to them read and provide intervention tactics. The goal of the program is to help students achieve on-grade reading levels by the end of third grade. This year, students in the program outperformed their peers in the number of words per minute gained per week and overall accuracy. 33.5% of program participants met reading benchmarks for their grade level.

Because of the continued success of Read to Succeed, we are expanding to second grade in THREE new elementary schools for the upcoming school year: Adams, Isely, and Lawrence. We estimate over 400 children will need the help of Read to Succeed volunteers throughout the 24 schools we will be active in.

Can we count on you? Sign up today if you’d like to volunteer as a reading coach next school year and meet weekly with a student for 30 minutes. We will notify you in August to sign up for the school of your choice

A classroom of students pose with new books they received from United Way through the Coaching for Literacy initiative.
Impact Created by Your United Way: Second Quarter 2022

We are problem-solvers, hand-raisers, and game-changers. View our second-quarter impact statement blog post for a summary of the lasting change created in the areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs because of your support

Our brand promise

As members of our community, our partners and our investors, you experience the United Way brand through our words and our deeds. Our brand promise (above) frames how we communicate and innovate. Learn how we live this promise out through our mission, vision and values.

Want to be part of our team and this promise? Check out our job openings.

United Way of the Plains logo.

245 N. Water St., Wichita, KS 67202
(316) 267-1321
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Our focus is on healtheducationfinancial stability and basic needs—the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Click below to learn more about what we’re doing, the programs we invest in and our lasting impact in each area.