Despite all the wins and progress we’ve experienced as a community over the last 30 years, poverty remains a persistent and urgent problem in Greenville County.
Our local economy has flourished, but our hard-won success is fragile. Our attitudes, power dynamics, and policy choices protect economic interests for some while maintaining barriers for others, creating a fixed underclass where only a few people can reach the middle class or above.
United Way of Greenville County’s How We Win strategy identifies four barriers to higher earnings for low-income households in the Greenville County region: Housing, Childcare, Education, and Transportation.
Population growth and the real estate boom in Greenville County is putting a disproportionate strain on low-income families.
While the recommended budget for housing is 30 percent of a family’s total income, 13,163 households in Greenville County spend more than half their income on rent or had no income to pay for rent.
The cost for a quality childcare program is like paying a second mortgage every month. Imagine trying to find a high-quality program that will support early childhood development when you’re already struggling to make ends meet.
Right now, more than two-thirds of students entering kindergarten in Greenville County aren’t prepared to learn at their grade level. If we don’t invest in our children, they’ll never be able to break the cycle and build a better life.
At least 60 percent of students in Greenville County Schools (more than 46,000 children) are experiencing poverty. It’s difficult to prepare for your future when meeting daily needs is a struggle.
Just 32 percent of Greenville County high school students are considered college and career ready when they graduate.
Transportation impacts almost every aspect of a person’s daily life: where they work, shop, go to school, access medical care and more.
In a 2015 survey, 22% of people in Greenville County said they had trouble getting to their job due to transportation and 21% had trouble getting to the grocery store or pharmacy. As gentrification pushes individuals further and further away from our city centers to access affordable housing, the problem is only increasing.
With our region on pace to add another 240,000 people by the year 2040, the time to act is now.
We know we can accomplish much more together as a community than we can alone. That’s why United Way of Greenville County leverages our network of hundreds of community partners — public, private and local nonprofits — to remove barriers to higher earnings and financial stability.
Powered by the generosity of our community we’re attacking these issues in three important ways:
When you give to United Way, you are investing in a vetted portfolio of the most impactful local organizations making a difference where it’s needed most. Thanks to your generous support, last year we helped more than 60,000 people live better lives.
When we identify a need that’s not being addressed, we roll up our sleeves and put our experience and expertise to work, developing initiatives that move our community forward like OnTrack Greenville, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, and the Greenville Racial Equity and Economic Mobility (REEM) Commission.
By the time students in Greenville County reach eighth grade, more than half are failing to meet the standards for math and English. OnTrack Greenville is a community of support for students, their families and our schools designed to create solutions — keeping students on track to graduate on time.
Our 2-1-1 non-emergency resource line provides 24/7 assistance to connect our most vulnerable neighbors with resources like housing, utility assistance, food, transportation and more. Just dial 2-1-1 or text "HELP" or "AYUDA" to 211-211 to get connected.
The Opportunity Center is a unique resource hub to improve financial stability and economic mobility options for families and individuals in Greenville County. It also serves as headquarters for our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, offering free tax assistance to Greenville County individuals and families.
For more than a decade, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, or VITA, has been one of United Way of Greenville County's most successful financial stability initiatives. Sponsored by the IRS, our VITA program provides free income tax preparation assistance to individuals and families with a household income of $60,000 a year or less.
AmeriCorps Upstate helps create access to services for people in need. Our members navigate resources that help community members thrive, such as financial classes and tools, educational programs, food, and social service applications for SNAP benefits and Medicaid. By placing our members at local nonprofits and other services locations, we are able to support opportunities that create vibrant communities for all in Greenville County.
Formed in partnership with the Greenville Chamber and Urban League of the Upstate, the Greenville Racial Equity & Economic Mobility (REEM) Commission convenes around matters of racial inequities, social justice, and disparities in key areas that negatively impact the Black community in Greenville County.
Thank you for joining us to build a stronger, more equitable Greenville County for all. Please complete the form below to stay connected with us.