United Way Conversation Series: Financial Stability and the Journey to Economic Mobility
by Meghan Barp, President & CEO
In the second installment of our conversation series on United Way’s work in economic mobility, TD Bank’s David Lominack and CommunityWorks’ Tammie Hoy Hawkins — both leaders on the Greenville County Race Equity and Economic Mobility Commission — join me to discuss the fight against poverty in Greenville County and how our multiple-pronged approach is building financial stability.
The financial stability of every individual and family that makes up Greenville County is imperative to the vibrancy and equity of our community. United Way works to empower people on the journey to financial stability by providing education and training programs that lead to higher-paying careers. We also aim to increase access to financial services and benefits — giving them the tools to save and protect themselves against a personal financial crisis, while gaining long-term assets like a home or business.
When people earn enough income to be self-sufficient, build savings and gain assets, our whole community benefits. Financially stable families are also more likely to raise children equipped with the tools and experiences to succeed in school, creating sustainable impact across generations.
Despite a strong local economy and continued growth, this kind of financial stability is an elusive dream for many in Greenville County.
Over 55,000 people in our community are living in poverty — approximately one in 10 people who live here. People of color in Greenville County are disproportionately affected by poverty, with 21 percent of Black and 22 percent of Hispanic people living below the poverty line, compared to 9 percent of whites. We also know there are strong ties between economic mobility and racial equity. Communities can only reach their economic potential by resolving entrenched, often systemic, and structural racism.
Across our community today, many families struggle to stretch their wages to meet the cost of basic needs. Though often not deemed “poor” by official poverty measures, these families lack enough income to meet the rising cost of essentials such as food, housing, transportation, and health care.
Your gift to United Way is an investment in 19 local organizations working to increase financial stability in Greenville County, as well as our new Opportunity Center, powered by United Way. This new resource offers connections with premier local partners providing financial counseling and coaching, access to affordable loans, matched savings programs for asset building, income supports and free income tax filing through United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which last year filed more than 10,000 returns in the Upstate.
We need your help to overcome poverty in Greenville County. When you support United Way, your gift creates economic opportunity for those who need it most.
Watch the whole conversation with David and Tammie below.
The challenges we face are complex. To solve them, we’ll need our community’s support more than ever before. Click here to learn more and get involved.