The 2023 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress

Click here for the article.

Engaging Insights: A Comprehensive Review of York County’s Nonprofit Landscape

The York County Community Foundation initiated this project, receiving additional support from the Powder Mill Foundation and the J. William Warehime Foundation. Additionally, a temporary advisory group, called the York County Nonprofit Resiliency Advisory Group, comprised of local foundations and nonprofits guided the process.

The York County Nonprofit Resiliency Advisory Group will use these results to develop a recommended strategy for how the York County funding community should invest in capacity and resilience-building programming for local nonprofits.

Click here to read the entire report. 

Replenishing Trust: Civil Society’s Guide to Reversing the Trust Deficit

Trust for institutions across society is declining. This is not a theory but a fact, affirmed by leading experts like the Edelman Trust Barometer, Gallup and General Social Survey by NORC at the University of Chicago. This growing trust deficit is a serious problem. It erodes a high-functioning pluralistic democracy, compromises vibrant public health and makes it impossible to solve collective problems like climate change. Trust in institutions is necessary to create and improve the social contracts that govern democracy and allow communities and the nation to strike sustainable civic bargains. Trust doesn’t just happen. It is earned person by person, moving through large segments of society. It is handed down and passed on. American civil society institutions have an important role to play in addressing this deficit in trust.  Click here to read the article. 

We came across this powerful video through YouTube.  This is A Million Dreams (The Greatest Showman) performed by One Voice Children’s Choir in 2018 made possible through the United Way of Northern Utah.  These two non-profit organizations teamed up to create “A Million Dreams” to help children in poverty.  New Hope Ministries shares in the mission to help children in poverty. Click here to view the YouTube video. 

ALICE in Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Pennsylvania is brought to you by United Way of Pennsylvania — representing 42 member United Ways — in partnership with United For ALICE, a driver of innovative research and action around financial hardship for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households. With a commitment to racial and economic justice, United For ALICE and United Ways across Pennsylvania share this work with foundations, government, corporations, and other nonprofits to inform policy and promote positive change for ALICE households. The grassroots ALICE movement, developed by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to 27 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more about the ALICE movement here.

To truly address food insecurity, it takes innovative collaboration among the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to address the social determinants of health (SDOH) and ensure the availability and awareness of interventions and wrap-around services. That is why, in September 2015, Governor Tom Wolf established the Governor’s Food Security Partnership (GFSP). Comprised of the secretaries and staff of the Pennsylvania Departments of Aging, Agriculture, Community and Economic Development (DCED), Education (PDE), Health (DOH), and Human Services (DHS), the GFSP has been responsible for promoting coordination, communication, and joint planning between government programs and entities in the private sector in providing nutrition and food assistance to residents. In September 2016, the GFSP released Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA (Blueprint), which identified the following goals and initiatives to address food insecurity across the commonwealth. Check out the article here!

2022 Cumberland County Food Assessment Report

A community food assessment involves the collection and dissemination of community data on demographics, food access and agricultural resources. Assessments may allow a community to understand and assess food system vulnerabilities and challenges. This 2022 assessment builds from the 2018 assessment researched and written by Dickinson College students to inform and enhance community food planning in Cumberland County. The 2022 version reflects collaboration between Dickinson College students and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank staff, in conversation with the Cumberland County Food System Alliance and other community stakeholders. The effort seeks to promote community food access and sustainability of our shared food system.

Over 20,000 people in Cumberland County face food insecurity. Although Cumberland County has the 4th lowest food insecurity rate in the state of Pennsylvania, challenges persist for vulnerable communities in the county (Gunderson et al., 2022). The current food insecurity rate of 8% means that roughly one in 12 individuals in Cumberland County face food insecurity, a surprisingly high rate for one of the wealthiest counties in Pennsylvania. This signifies an unequal distribution of wealth leaving disadvantaged families more likely to be in poverty and food insecure (Gunderson et al. 2022).  Click here for complete report. 

Period poverty: why it should be everybody’s

Period poverty, defined as a lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management, and education, affects many women globally causing physical, mental, and emotional challenges. The stigma that shrouds periods further prevents individuals from talking about it. Lack of data and limited research on period poverty are challenges hence more research and engagement are called for. Period poverty like other forms of poverty can be debilitating. It can take different forms and has emotional, physical, and mental health effects on individuals. More than half of the world’s population are menstruating people, it is high time period poverty becomes everybody’s business. Since the world is drowning in plastic, reusable environmentally friendly menstrual products need to be explored. This calls for innovation alongside intersectoral collaboration to ensure access to water and sanitation.  Click here for complete article.

Diaper Dilemma – Low Income Families Face High Costs and Limited Supplies

Diapers are not only necessary for the health and well-being of children but have significant impacts on parents. Providing diapers to caregivers is expected—and expensive. When supplies are low or absent, it can add to the challenges of maintaining consistent childcare and steady employment. In addition, for low-income mothers—especially those from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds who are more closely scrutinized by the child welfare system—the risk of not being able to diaper children appropriately adds to the stress and fear of being reported as negligent, and the subsequent systems-involvement that such a report may trigger.
Read the complete article here. 

PA Untapped Potential:
How Childcare Impacts Pennsylvania’s State Economy

Executive Summary:  There have been numerous studies highlighting the benefits of early childhood education for both children and their parents. Children gain a strong educational foundation and their parents can pursue careers or enhance their education or vocational skills. Despite the evidence in support of early childhood education, we know that families are struggling to find and afford high-quality childcare. Several states–Louisiana, Maryland, Georgia, Washington, and Indiana–conducted reports and found that they each lose over $1 billion annually in economic activity due to breakdowns in childcare. Building on the work of these states, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation partnered with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission to understand just how much breakdowns in childcare cost Pennsylvania. In this study we looked at the causes of childcare challenges as well as motivations behind why parents select various childcare providers. Knowing many employers want to facilitate more access to childcare but do not know where to begin, we sought to learn what types of childcare benefits working parents desire most from employers. The results confirm what stakeholders have begun to realize–childcare issues prevent many Pennsylvania parents from working or pursuing postsecondary education. As policymakers and business leaders consider ways to position Pennsylvania for success, investing in childcare could enable Pennsylvania to fully capitalize on its resources. Click here for complete article.

PANO Standards for Excellence Codebook

The Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector is the foundation of the Standards for Excellence program. The code identifies 6 major areas of nonprofit governance and management which contain 27 different topic areas. Each topic area includes specific benchmarks and measures that provide a structured approach to building capacity, accountability, and sustainability in your organization. Download a PDF of the codebook here.

Cumberland County Food Assessment

“A community food assessment involves the collection and dissemination of community data on demographics, food access and agricultural resources. Assessments may allow a community to understand and assess food insecurity vulnerabilities and challenges. This Dickinson College student researched and written assessment aims to inform and enhance community food planning in Cumberland County. The effort seeks to promote community food security and sustainability of our shared food system.
Completed from January to April 2018, the assessment involved compiling existing data on demographics, food insecurity, poverty and agriculture. Students interviewed individuals working in the food, economic and employment sectors in the county.

At the request of a food pantry based in the county, Project SHARE, the class conducted focus groups with pantry clients. Project SHARE operates two facilities in the town of Carlisle. The food pantry is available for food benefit recipients. All may select food from their Farmstand, regardless of their income or food benefit status. The intent of the focus groups was to learn about food access and health considerations from food pantry and farmstand clients.”

Fiscal Sponsorship:  A 360 degree perspective

Trust for Conservation Innovation

Introduction:  When the Trust for Conservation Innovation (TCI) published its first white paper on fiscal sponsorship more than ten years ago, this streamlined approach to supporting nonprofit projects was still a nascent part of the nonprofit landscape. Now, although fiscal sponsorship is an established and widely-supported part of the nonprofit ecosystem, little literature exists that profiles the advantages of fiscal sponsorship as an alternative to nonprofit incorporation. The goal of this white paper is threefold: 1) to complement TCI’s original publication and contribute to the current body of literature on fiscal sponsorship, (2) to communicate the value that a good fiscal sponsor can provide to social impact projects, and 3) to highlight the evolution of fiscal sponsorship best practices over the past decade.

Tri County Community Action – Helping People. Changing Lives.

The mission of Tri County Community Action is to build on the strengths and resources available, provide solutions for complex issues, and empower individuals, families, and communities to move out of poverty. The Promise of Community Action, is to change people’s lives, embody the spirit of hope, improve communities, and make America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. Our Vision is that we all live in a community free from poverty. Our work creates strong families and thriving communities. Tri County Community Action uses a results oriented and outcome focused approach to promote self-sufficiency, family stability and community revitalization to eradicate poverty, through empowerment and helping people help themselves. Historically, the agency mobilized funding and established an array of programs and services to address its stated mission, to create and maximize the resources necessary to address and eliminate barriers that individuals and families face in achieving economic self-sufficiency. Over fifty years after the organization was incorporated, it is still designated as the principle anti-poverty planning organization in the tri-county area.

Purpose of Report
The 1998 Community Services Block Grant Reauthorization Act requires that Community Action agencies complete a comprehensive assessment of community needs which also assesses agency resources and identifies improvements and outcomes. Additionally, Informational Memorandum 138, related to the Organizational Standards for Community Action agencies, requires a community assessment every three years, which includes relevant data, key findings and is accepted by the organization’s governing board. As a result, the process utilized by the agency to complete the assessment was solely conducted by in-house staff and reviewed by the Board of Director’s Planning and Evaluation Committee. This assessment reports on the demographic profile of families living in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties, and the needs of our low-income residents.

Looking for more information, here are some suggestions from Eric’s Library:

Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries – New Tools to End Hunger.  Katie S. Martin

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurts the Poor … and Yourself.  Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It).  Robert D. Lupton

The Wealth of the Poor – How Valuing Every Neighbor Restores Hope in Our Cities.  Larry M. James

Scarcity – Why Having Too Little Means So Much. Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir

The Stop – How The Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement. Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis

During a crisis, philanthropic and government funding rightfully targets the most extreme and obvious needs — hunger, homelessness, and, in the case of the pandemic, medical care. Clothing for struggling families is unlikely to even make the list.

But clothing insecurity, or the lack of sufficient, clean, seasonal, and size-appropriate apparel, is a much more serious problem then many people understand. If an individual or a family can’t pay the rent or afford to put food on the table, basics like underwear, socks, and shoes become luxuries.  Click here for the complete article. 

Context: 2020 Data and CARES – Click here for complete report.
▰ In April 2020, Fourth Economy created a similar economic update and forecast for YCEA that projected COVID’s impact on York County businesses, households, and institutions.
▰ The data informed the work of the YoCo Strong Recovery Task Force and the County’s allocation of $40.5M in CARES Act funds, including the way in which we prioritized $16.5M in grants to businesses and non-profits.

▰ Just as in 2020, we intend this data to help inform decisions about how funds are distributed and how we can structure advocacy efforts for policies that will benefit York County residents and businesses.

This report was made possible with funding from the York County Community Foundation (YCCF) and the United Way of York County.

Cultural Intelligence: The Pathway of Inclusion and Justice

The love of Jesus reaches beyond diversity to coexistence and true community.

Article published by Christianity Today.  Click here for full article.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to the United Way Champions Summit. Viewers learned more about how United Way of the Capital Region has been working, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, to help all families in need become self-sufficient through proven programs in access to health care, basic needs, school readiness and workforce development. If you missed it, you can view it on Vimeo:  https://vimeo.com/447242509  or on You Tube at: https://youtu.be/YFwVcQH9lmc

Dickinson College students completed the Cumberland County Food Assessment and online story map in 2018. The assessment identified workforce training as critically connected to food and poverty challenges in the county. If structural poverty and inequality concerns are not addressed in the county, food access will remain a persistent issue. While food pantries provide vital temporary solutions for residents without access to sufficient food, emerging initiatives in Cumberland County seek to address some of the root poverty challenges that ultimately limit people’s access to food and health. New Hope Ministries (New Hope), a social service agency based in the county, takes a multi-faceted approach to expand their food pantries (both permanent and mobile) to workforce training for in demand careers in the region.

On behalf of New Hope, Dickinson College’s Environment and Society class conducted research in 2019. New Hope asked students to explore the opportunities and barriers to accessing healthy food, transportation, and workforce training in Enola, which is an area West of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. New Hope currently operates a well-attended monthly mobile food pantry in Enola. Pending the availability of funding, New Hope is considering a permanent food pantry and workforce training site in Enola. New Hope asked the students to interview their mobile food pantry guests. The goal was to assess the need for the food pantry and workforce training center in Enola, and to identify convenient locations for the potential center. This report attempts to contextualize linkages across food, workforce training, and transportation, with a specific emphasis on the needs of Enola and the broader region.  Click here to download: EXPLORING INTERSECTIONS: FOOD ACCESS, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, AND TRANSPORTATION

Positioning low income workers to succeed in a changing economy.

This report aims to shift the discussion about the changing nature of work from analysis and into action by showcasing strategies, policies and programs that already are improving the present and future for lower-wage workers and their families. This report was compiled, edited and designed by The Hatcher Group.

Please click here to read: Positioning low income workers to succeed in a changing economy.

Closing the Front Door: Creating a Successful Diversion Program for Homeless Families

Diversion is a strategy that prevents homelessness for people seeking shelter by helping them identify immediate alternate housing arrangements and, if necessary, connecting them with services and financial assistance to help them return to permanent housing. Diversion programs can reduce the number of families becoming homeless, the demand for shelter beds, and the size of program wait lists. Diversion programs can also help communities achieve better outcomes and be more competitive when applying for federal funding. The attached describes how communities can begin diverting families from entering their homeless assistance systems.

Please click here to read the National Alliance to End Homelessness Report, Closing the Front Door: Creating a Successful Diversion Program for Homeless Families

Helping the hard-to-employ transition to employment

Some cash welfare clients and disadvantaged parents with child support obligations have significant barriers to finding and keeping a job.  Barriers include low education, physical or mental health issues, criminal history, caregiving responsibilities for disabled child, and recent experience of domestic violence. Approaches include caseworkers providing personal attention and robust supports; incentives for employment and/or child support compliance; and interventions informed by behavioral science.

Please click here to read the report by the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A Seat at the Table

The “A Seat at the Table” project’s intent was just that, collaborative: engaging partners by learning together from evidenced-based data, around a common purpose, to achieve a shared goal—a hunger-free York County. What we know is that York County is home to more than 100 charitable food distribution programs, doing good work and helping neighbors. However, even with these programs there are thousands of people struggling with hunger and food insecurity. The USDA defines food insecurity as the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. With support from the Memorial Health Fund, The Food Trust was commissioned, as an independent reviewer, to evaluate the charitable food distribution system using an innovative mapping approach to identify areas of need, draw attention to challenges, highlight successes, and make a clear call for systemic change to move the needle on food insecurity in York County. Specifically, this report seeks to answer these questions:

• What areas in York County are most affected by food insecurity?
• What gaps are there in its food distribution system?
• How can we better coordinate and expand services to ensure that people living with food insecurity in York County get the help they need?
• What can be done to assure access to healthy and nutritious food for those struggling with food insecurity?
Click here to read A Seat at the Table. 

Living Wage Calculator

Families and individuals working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to meet minimum standards given the local cost of living. The websites listed below developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region based on typical expenses. These tools help individuals, communities, and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living.


Cost of Living

Two-Generation Approach

Two-generation approaches provide opportunities for and meet the needs of children and their parents together. They build education, economic assets, social capital, and health and well being to create a legacy of economic security that passes from one generation to the next. New Hope Ministries believe the two-generation approach helps both generations make progress together.

Best Practices: Innovations and Solutions Developed by Hunger Relief Agencies in Washington State.

By: Washington Food Coalition

Developed as part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program’s Capacity Building Project, this catalog features best practices which can be replicated by emergency food providers. Catalog profiles are identified with visual indicators representing food banks, meal programs, distribution centers, and ideas which everyone can use.

The High Cost of Youth Unemployment

By: By Sarah Ayres Steinberg

Poverty Interrupted

Applying Behavioral Science to the Context of Chronic Scarcity

By: ideas42

Breaking the Cycle of Inter-Generational Poverty For Good

In an effort to help children and their families break out of this cycle of poverty, ideas42 has embarked on a new initiative called Poverty Interrupted (PI). The application of behavioral science to this endemic problem could lead not only to improved lives, but also to more efficient deployment of limited public resources.

Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy:  What Do We Know? What Should We Do?

By: Harry J. Holzer

This paper notes the basic paradox of workforce development policy: that, in an era in which skills are more important than ever as determinants of labor market earnings, we spend fewer public (federal) dollars on workforce development over time. Includes trends in funding and how the major federal programs at the Department of Labor and other agencies have evolved over time.

Promoting Diversity: How Savvy Nonprofits Do It

The Chronicle of Philanthropy 

Reducing Child Poverty by Promoting Child Well Being

By: Elizabeth K. Anthony

The American Dream promises that individual talent will be rewarded, regardless of where one comes from or who one’s parents are. But, the reality of what transpires along America’s K-12-to-career pipeline reveals a sorting of America’s most talented youth by affluence—not merit. Among the affluent, a kindergartner with test scores in the bottom half has a 7 in 10 chance of reaching high SES among his or her peers as a young adult, while a disadvantaged kindergartner with top-half test scores only has a 3 in 10 chance.  Click here for complete report.

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