United Way of West Tennessee Celebrates Year of Impact with Excitement for the Year to Come


United Way of West Tennessee recently hosted their annual Celebration Breakfast to celebrate and recognize local companies and volunteers who contributed to the organization’s impact over the past year.

During their 2023-24 campaign year, United Way invested $2.3 million in the community, with $774,700 specifically supporting 54 programs for 44 local nonprofits in West Tennessee. In addition, United Way secured $7.4 million in total funding – more than doubling the organization’s previous record.

“None of this could have been accomplished without our community’s support,” said Matt Marshall, President/CEO of United Way. "We are so grateful to every individual who has supported our work as financial givers, volunteers, and encouragers. And we believe that 2024-25 will prove the most impactful in our organization’s history.”

The Department of Human Services recently awarded the organization a $1.5 million Families First Grant. Beginning in July, United Way will be able to massively expand their work and address one of the region’s most critical needs: high-quality, affordable childcare.

West Tennessee has only 159 local childcare providers across 15 counties, with childcare services being hard to find and often one of the greatest expenses for families with young children. According to United Way’s latest ALICE report, (research highlighting the financial hardship of households living below and right above the Federal Poverty Level) the annual income required to operate a stable budget for a family of four, with an infant and preschooler, in Tennessee is $107,472.

For those who are ALICE, this expense often forces many families to stay home with their children. Without the opportunity to work and receive income, these individuals can quickly find themselves in a cycle that significantly limits their ability to thrive.

In response, United Way will use the grant funding to hire Family Champions in West Tennessee. These advocates will provide support to childcare centers and help local families access benefits and services through the state’s TANF program. Families will also receive access to free financial counseling through The Greater Jackson Financial Empowerment Center.

“This grant will help us support over 650 families by offering family coaching, financial workshops, job connections, and other services,” said Kaitlyn Mingle, United Way Director of Early Education Initiatives. “Our goal is to partner with our region’s childcare providers so we can build stronger communities and help families thrive.”

United Way also received the Digital Skills Education and Workforce Development grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. This funding will be used to support the J-TECH program in collaboration with Jackson State, the Greater Jackson Chamber, and the Jackson-Madison County School System, and help guide more students into tech-related careers.

“The best part is that we have even more exciting news to announce soon,” Matt Marshall stated. “Thankfully, our community believes in our work and the change we are making as we continue to strive for a more United and resilient West Tennessee. The future is indeed bright!”