Plaques presented to Organized Labor and Local Government Leaders

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On May 12, Resource Development staffers Reginald Green and Gail Floyd-Tyree delivered and presented plaques of appreciation to leaders in Organized Labor and Local Government including the City of Memphis. These leaders have committed to partnering with United Way of the Mid-South in supporting agencies which serve people who live in poverty. Thank you to these great leaders and organizations. Where there’s a you, there’s a way.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Volunteer Spotlight: Raised in poverty, Charles Everett works with United Way to improve people’s lives

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“I didn’t have the luxuries then that I have now.” Charles Everett, 55, was 9-years-old when his family moved from Mississippi to Tennessee. His parents were sharecroppers, instilling in their children the value of hard work and humility. Charles didn’t … Continue reading

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Free Tax Prep Program Takes Off Stress with a Smile.


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United Way of The Mid-South has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service to help Mid-Southerners file their taxes and receive their full refund with no strings attached. Last year, the Free Tax Prep program brought more than $12 million in refunds to over 8,400 people.

This year, United Way of the Mid-South hopes it has served more residents and brought more refunds to support the Tri-State economy. Although the regular tax season ended April 18, Free Tax Prep volunteers will continue to serve people who need to make file amended taxes or are filing late at our Hickory Ridge Mall Free Tax Prep supersite in May and June. 

“Our volunteers have been working tirelessly this year, staying after hours to help people get what they need,” says Yvonne Howard, Free Tax Prep program coordinator.

Volunteers, who have signed up through their employers or the UWMS website, have gone above and beyond, providing financial advice for greater self-sufficiency or offering a listening ear for those who have had anxiety and fear about filing their taxes.

“I know many people who have just been floored by the great attitudes and generosity of the volunteers,” Bobbie Chambers said after having her taxes filed at one of our mobile library locations.  “If I had the money, I would pay them something. I wish I had the resources to pay them.”

Ms. Chambers was having a hard time finding the time to file her taxes and taking care of her grandson who had fallen ill. She heard about the Free Tax Prep program and decided to give it a try.

“I was not there long and was surprised how fast they took care of me,” said Chambers.

Phelicia Stuckey is a new volunteer to the Free Tax Program. She carries a smile and a heart full of love and laughter to help ease the process for customers.

“I love to help people,” said Stuckey. “I like to make people feel comfortable so I keep candy at my station with a little decor. look forward to doing this again next year.”

Stuckey also files her taxes through the Free Tax Program and wanted to offer her services to UWMS to reciprocate the generosity and service she received.

“This can be a stressful time for people, and I like to help any way I can.”


United Way Free Tax Prep supersite at Hickory Ridge Mall will help people with continuing tax issues on Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 11 through June 29. People in households with $54,000 or less annual income should bring a picture I.D., W-2 and 1099 forms, a copy of the original tax return to be amended, a social security card for everyone listed on the return, proof of health insurance (if available), Form 1095s, and any letters or transcripts the IRS has sent. The Free Tax Prep supersite cannot prepare K-I’s, Schedule D, Schedule E, or Schedule F. Call 901.433.4364 to schedule an appointment!

Posted in Free Tax Prep, Income / Financial Stability |

Reminder: Everyone can use the familywize card to save on prescription medicines

Family Wize Card

With the changing temperatures and high pollen counts of spring, a lot of people are struggling with allergies, colds, flu, or other illnesses.

Purchasing medicines while simultaneously making plans for summer expenses can pressure family budgets, but with the free familywize prescription discount card some relief may be available.

United Way of the Mid-South is happy to help individuals and families realize possible savings on prescription medications with the free familywize prescription discount card.

United Way is a proud partner with familywize Community Service Partnership, Inc. in offering this free card which can help users get lower prices on prescription medications – even if they already have medical insurance. Since starting this program, hundreds of thousands of prescriptions have been filled with discount savings in the Memphis and Mid-South area!

This program is an important part of United Way’s work to help people in poverty and improve health for Mid-South citizens. When you download a familywize card, you are not supplying your name or contact information, so there is no inconvenient junk mail or e-mail spam to worry about.For more information about the program and the card (including getting a free downloadable card for yourself or a family member or friend)

For more information about the program and the card (including getting an instant, free downloadable card for yourself or family member or friend) visit

Posted in Health, Income / Financial Stability, Information Resources | Tagged , , , |

United Way Pavimentó El Camino (United Way Paved The Way)

“We did not speak English nor did we have housing.”

In March 2000, Ellen Muñoz started a new chapter in her life by coming to the United States as a young teenager, “which was not only a new country but also a different culture and language.”  

Ellen Muñoz, 30, is a Sr. Solutions Specialist at FedEx and looks forward to volunteering with United Way of the Mid-South every year.

Ellen’s father, a minister, was offered a position in Chicago through their religious affiliation. He was hired to supplement the need for Spanish-speaking pastors for their church. The family was living in the Dominican Republic for nine years when they left the world they knew for an unfamiliar land.

Relocation expenses did not come with the new job so Ellen’s family lived with a church member for a few weeks. Soon, her father discovered Casa Central in Chicago, a Hispanic social services agency and a United Way agency.

“I just thought we were surrounded by really good people who wanted to help us. I can personally testify to the great value and benefits that organizations supported by United Way bring to the community.”

Today, Ellen is a Senior Solutions Specialist at FedEx. She is part of the Sales Technology team, focusing on supporting Sales organizations with mobile app development to drive productivity and efficiencies in the US and around the world.

Ellen was new to Memphis when she started volunteering with United Way of the Mid-South four years ago. She knew very little about the city and not much about our poverty problems. Before, she lived in Concord, North Carolina where the poverty rate was 10 percent of the population.

“I give credit to my dad’s nomad spirit that encouraged me to move to several states pursuing job opportunities, and which led me to live in Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and now here in Memphis.”

Ellen was already a faithful donor to United Way of the Mid-South, but it was speaking with a coworker who encouraged her to become a more active volunteer that curbed her curiosity.

“I had questions about whether the money I was donating was truly going to the right places, and was it impacting my local community.”

After living in Memphis for a year, she joined a United Way allocations team, visiting partner agencies to observe what the organizations do first-hand.

Ellen gets emotional as she recalls visiting Y-CAP, a prevention and early intervention program for at-risk youth offered by the YMCA of the Mid-South, a United Way partner agency.  She was taken aback to witness former juvenile delinquents and teenagers who once had behavioral issues present a comprehensive business plan.

“The children had to develop a business model for a new restaurant and create a vision and mission statement. It was so exciting to see these kids learn skills at such a young age, skills I didn’t learn until college. They put a lot of work and effort behind it. These are things they couldn’t have gained in a regular classroom. The leaders of the program do such a good job with tracking each child’s progress, from improved behavior to the improvement in grades. These aren’t just afternoon programs; these are initiatives that really teach life skills for children and their families.”

Y-CAP also partners with and supports parents through counseling, giving a holistic approach to their environments and other external and internal factors that could affect a child’s development. 77 percent of families in the Y-CAP program are “low-income.”

Ellen’s time volunteering has led her to acknowledge some of her privileges and “blessings” while igniting her desire to get involved and find solutions to the many challenges in Memphis. 

“When you see these kids and you see the work these organizations do for them and their families, it humanizes the issue of poverty. This is their reality.”

Ellen has become a community advocate, enlisting fellow employees to not just donate money, but also their time and resources through United Way of the Mid-South. She plans to continue to volunteer, anticipating learning more about the realities of poverty in Memphis and creating solutions.

“Every year, I’ve had the opportunity to visit different organizations on my own. It’s eye-opening to see all the local effort. I didn’t know much about poverty besides what I see on the news. I just didn’t know. As long as you don’t see it, you don’t really think about it and it’s easy to move on with your own life. But when you see it, it’s hard to ignore it.”

United Way works with thousands of volunteers who contribute monetarily and give of their time and service. Our volunteers serve a vital role to the mission and vision of United Way of the Mid-South. They make it possible for us to support our network of agencies that help people living in poverty.

“I support United Way 100 percent. I think focusing on supporting people in poverty is great and much needed. We have to ask ourselves where can we make the greatest impact as members of this community. I know United Way will touch all areas that drive poverty, and I’m excited to be a part of the allocations team again this year.”

Posted in Allocations, Funding Decisions, News, Personal Stories, Poverty, Volunteers |

All Women’s panel informs “Dare to Dream – Art of the Side Hustle” speaker series, Thursday, March 16


The “Dare to Dream: Art of the Side Hustle” speaker series presented by United Way Emerging Leaders continues Thursday, March 16 with an all women’s panel at the American Red Cross, 1399 Madison Avenue in Memphis from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The series encourages millennials to tap into a passion and turn it into a lucrative “side hustle.” Speakers discuss the creativity and drive it takes to develop ideas into a sustainable, profitable business. (A schedule and reservation link for the event are provided at the end of this article.)

Kat Gordon

Kat Gordon
Kat Gordon is the founder, owner, and chief cake taster of Muddy’s Bake Shop.  She adores Memphis and all the incredible stories, projects, and individuals who make this place so special; she also adores cake, pie, cookies, and cupcakes… hence the bakery.  Lately, her favorite part of her job is helping develop leaders both within and outside of Muddy’s and exploring ways that a small, independent business with limited resources can still contribute at a high level and make a truly meaningful impact in its community… it’s exciting stuff!

Brit Fitzpatrick

Brit Fitzpatrick

Brit Fitzpatrick
Brit Fitzpatrick is the Founder & CEO of MentorMe. MentorMe is building a more connected future through technology that makes mentorship easier, more productive, and more impactful. With more than 6,000 users, MentorMe’s clients and partners include the Memphis Grizzlies, Opportunity Nation, and the State of New York. Brit has been invited to speak on entrepreneurship; social enterprise; mentorship; and diversity in entrepreneurship and technology at conferences across the U.S. — including Dreamforce, White House Demo Day, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Summit.

Chef Aryen Moore-Alston

Chef Aryen Moore-Alston
From seasonal pastries and handcrafted specialty cakes to international cuisine and full-service menu offerings, Sweet Potato Baby draws on Food Network Star Celebrity Chef Aryen Moore-Alston’s culinary experience to create expertly-crafted and piquantly flavored dishes that are a feast for both the eyes and taste buds.The University of Memphis “Distinguish Chef” Award The New Tri-State Defender “Best Chef” 2016 – Best in Black Awards, Thumbtack “Top Caterer in Memphis” 2016 & “Best in Customer Service” 2016.

Pamela Urquieta

Pamela Urquieta
Pamela Urquieta is the former VP of  Urquieta Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt. She is currently the Program Director of Let’s Innovate through Education (LITE Memphis), Co-Director of Hispanic College Institute, and an entrepreneurial instructor with RVA Works in Richmond, VA.

Whitney Hardy

Dare To Dream Moderator: Whitney Hardy
Whitney Hardy is the Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at EPICenter. As a Memphis native, she has founded and grown non-profit and for-profit ventures. She graduated with her Masters Degree in Accounting from The University of Tennessee.

6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Meet & Greet
6:30 – 7:15 p.m. Panel Discussion
7:15 – 8:00 p.m. Up Close & Personal with the Panel

Wine and hors-d’oeuvres will be served. For more information, e-mail Click here to make your reservation.

Posted in Emerging Leaders, Events, Income / Financial Stability, Information Resources |

Memphis Mayor and United Way President hold media information event for Free Tax Prep

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UPDATE: See WMC TV 5’s coverage of the event here.

City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and United Way President and CEO Dr. Kenneth Robinson shared details of how the partnership between the Memphis Public Library’s 2-1-1 help and information call center and the United Way Free Tax Prep program can help local people receive free tax preparation and filing services. The Mayor and Dr. Robinson shared details during the meeting on Thursday, March 9th at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library and Information Center.

“We are in the march madness for tax season. It’s the second quarter, and we need to bring attention to this great program offered by United Way,” said Strickland.

The United Way Free Tax Prep program provides fast electronic tax preparation and filing for households with an income of $54,000 or less at absolutely no charge.

“The City of Memphis encourages everyone who meets the criteria to make an appointment for United Way Free Tax Prep by calling the Memphis Public Library and Information Center’s LINC 2-1-1 service to book an appointment,” said Strickland. “We want people to get their full refund so they can spend their money in the city and get what they need.”

“This is a precedent-setting partnership in Tennessee,” said Dr. Robinson. “Connecting people in need with tax credits for which they qualify can sometimes result in a family receiving a tax refund that is nearly 20 percent of their annual income. The program is very important to our Driving The Dream initiative.”

As part of the Driving The Dream initiative, United Way is taking a bold step and focus on supporting organizations who serve people who live in poverty. According to the IRS, millions of dollars in tax refunds and tax credits go unclaimed in Memphis and the Mid-South area every year.

One example of how using a tax credit can impact a tax refund is the Earned Income Tax Credit. A single parent of three making less than $47,955 or a married couple filing jointly making less than $53,505 with three or more children can realize a tax credit of $6,269.00. If a filer qualifies for additional tax credits, the potential refund can be even larger.

“In 2016, our Free Tax Prep program brought more than $12 million in refunds to 8,400 people Mid-South,” said Robinson.

United Way says it needs, even more, people to sign up and be trained as volunteers so it can grow the program for more Free Tax Prep locations.

United Way hosts three Free Tax Prep “super sites” at the Hickory Ridge Mall and Southland Mall, and has other sites across the region. Volunteers use IRS training and online modules to become certified tax preparers.

The LINC 2-1-1 call center is open to book Free Tax Prep program appointments Sundays 1-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

(Photos by Kirstin Cheers, United Way Communications Specialist)

Posted in Events, Free Tax Prep, News |

“Dare to Dream” relaunches United Way for greater impact on Mid-South poverty (with photos)

Last night’s Dare to Dream event was a wonderful success, with roughly 550 people joining United Way for an evening that relaunches the organization in the battle against Mid-South poverty. The Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis ballroom was transformed into a more relaxed yet upscale atmosphere with illuminated towers conveying the impact of people’s support for United Way.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the first-ever United Way Impact Award to the Belz family by R. Scott Barber (Chairman of the event and Regional President of Caesar’s Entertainment) and Dr. Kenneth S. Robinson, President and CEO of United Way. Dr. Robinson said the Belz family has provided strong support of United Way for generations, and cited their involvement as leadership and Tocqueville donors, working as hands-on volunteers, serving on United Way Boards of Directors, and engaging their family business and its employees with United Way to make the Mid-South an even better place to live and work. Ron Belz received the award on behalf of the family.

Dr. Robinson called the attendees together to dare to dream of a Mid-South region where individuals and sectors are working together with United Way, making an incredible impact on the lives of people living in generational poverty.

We’ll have more photos and information on Dare to Dream via our social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram in the days to come. We thank everyone who helped make Dare to Dream a success. Please see the listing of Executive Committee members, Host Committee members, and sponsors at the end of this post.

PHOTOPOD FUN! Dare to Dream guests enjoyed the fun and silliness of the Photopod, and we have some pictures from the event site!

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Dare to Dream Executive Committee:
R. Scott Barber – Chairman
Calvin Anderson
The Belz Family
Dave Ferraro
Kathy and J.W. Gibson
Ursula Madden
Diane Terrell

Dare to Dream Honorary Host Committee:
Ashley Cash
Darrell & Mikki Cobbins
Erika & Damon Conley
Cynthia Daniels
Kayla Rodriguez & Kevin Graff
Kontji Anthony & Patrick Hendricks
Michael Hooks, Jr.
Lee Rankin Hopson
Danielle Inez
Megan & Corey Klein
Afshan Latif
Tarrin McGhee
Cardell & Nefertiti Orrin
Terence Patterson
Claire Rossie
Tami Sawyer
Athena Turner
Joy Turner
Tekedra Terry & Andre Gibson
Monica & Andre Wharton
Jamal & Carlisha Whitlow
Russ Wigginton

Dare to Dream Sponsors:
Phillip Ashley Chocolatier
Crews Family Foundation
John & Leslie Daniel
Memphis In May International Festival
Picture Pod

Posted in Events |

“Art of the Side Hustle” kicks off new United Way Dare To Dream speaker series January 19

Our special “Dare To Dream” event is February 23, but in the meantime, we hope everyone in our Emerging Leaders society will join us for our new speaker series beginning January 19 (see more below the graphic):


The United Way Emerging Leaders presents “The Art of the Side Hustle,” January 19 at 101 South Main Street in Memphis, TN as part of a new United Way Dare To Dream speaker series.

Come join us as we inform and encourage millennials to tap into a dream and turn it into a lucrative “side hustle” extra-hours career with a panel of young professionals. This event is ideal for people who are brand-new to the concept of side hustles and want to develop ideas and plans around creating a sustainable, profitable business.

Kayla Rodriguez Graff, Co-founder & COO of Sweet Bio
Andre Fowlkes, President of Start Co.
Mike Hoffmeyer, Director of Crews Center for Entrepreneurship (University of Memphis)
Christina Stevison, Executive Director of The Sisterhood Showcase

Moderated by:
Antwone Stigall, CMP, DES, CEO of WestWing Events

Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Please RSVP online here.

Posted in Emerging Leaders, Income / Financial Stability, Information Resources, News, Poverty |

Reserve your space for Dare 2 Dream! February 23, 2017

UPDATE: Reserve your space now!

Dare to Dream
February 23, 2017
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn / University of Memphis

We invite you to join us for Dare to Dream 2017. This exciting reception will serve as the reintroduction of our *brand* new United Way. So don’t miss the chance to be among those who Dare to Dream of a thriving community for us all! 

At this interactive event you will have the opportunity to drive the dreams of our community as you journey through the incredible impact of our local United Way. 

Dare to Dream is also our charge to the community to embody what it means to “Live United” and become part of something greater than ourselves, to unite in the fight against our most evasive problem – POVERTY – and to join us in working to provide a thriving community for everyone.

Relevance is connected to continuous innovation and growth. Our United Way is evolving to better serve our region, and we invite you to catch our dream for a community that is helping people escape poverty so they can live the life of their dreams. Reserve your space now!



Posted in Driving The Dream, Events |