WHAT I’VE LEARNED BY KIM JOHNSON

When I learned that I was selected as the next Manager of Community Impact for United Way of Northwest Arkansas, I was beyond thrilled. I have always wanted to help children, but have never had the opportunity in a professional capacity. The work that UWNWA does has a lasting effect and direct impact on the children in Northwest Arkansas. I also love event planning! I felt like this position was my dream job! And it has not disappointed! Every day brings a new adventure and a lot of hard work to help children living in poverty.

United Way of Northwest Arkansas has the BOLD GOAL to provide every child a pathway out of poverty!

Why?
As a state, the number of children living in poverty and high-poverty areas in Arkansas worsened from 2005 to 2014. In the Northwest Arkansas metro region, over 26,000 children under the age of 18 live in poverty. That’s nearly one in four children.

How?
United Way of Northwest Arkansas recognizes that children living in poverty is a serious epidemic that demands collective action in Northwest Arkansas. UWNWA is committed to address the issue of children living in poverty through educating our community, identifying impactful partnerships, mobilizing resources, and investing in our community. With the collective impact of all of us working together, we will have far-reaching, long-lasting results that broaden the path of opportunity and build a future for every child in Northwest Arkansas. UWNWA will simply facilitate the process of bringing the community together, and will be one of the leaders to help address the issue of children living in poverty.

United Way of Northwest Arkansas has a lot of great internal initiatives that we manage, including the Free Tax Service Initiative!

  • As the manager of the Free Tax Service Initiative, I have learned a lot over the last month in order to prepare for tax season. UWNWA partners with CARE Community Center to help hardworking families who earn $58,000 or less annually with free tax preparation and financial literacy.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites—CARE Community Center has set up five VITA sites throughout Northwest Arkansas to help prepare taxes and see what credits you may qualify for.
  • MyFreeTaxes.com—Want to file your taxes when it’s convenient for you? You can log on 24/7 to myfreetaxes.com and file your taxes for FREE!
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs, annually lifting 6.6 million people out of poverty. Last year, over 27 million workers received nearly $62 billion in EITC. The average credit was over $2,200 but can be as much as $5,891 this year depending on the worker’s income, marital status, and whether they have children.

I am so excited for what the future holds at United Way of Northwest Arkansas! Here are some of the things that I am looking forward to at UWNWA:

  • I want to get out in the community and see as many non-profits as I can! I love being able to see what people are doing in our community to help those in need.
  • I’m excited to be part of the upcoming events for this year, including Bags for Books, Live United Day, Underwareness at the Warehouse: Building Britches in the Community, Fill the Bus, and so much more!
  • I cannot wait to see what the NWA community rallies behind to help provide a pathway out of poverty for children. It is exciting to think of the programs and services that could be started or expanded with the help of collaboration between area non-profits, businesses, and organizations.
  • I hope that one day we will see our BOLD GOAL accomplished!

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