What We Do

United Way mobilizes the caring power of our community to improve the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Thurston County.

Are you looking for a meaningful way to make a difference in Thurston County? Join us! At United Way of Thurston County, we are focused on addressing our community's most complicated and critical challenges. We are dedicated to uniting individuals, organizations, and resources to improve the lives of every person in our community.

A Growing Need…

The United Way produces the ALICE report every two years. It’s widely used by government agencies, non-profits, and service organizations to talk about poverty. Who is ALICE? ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households earn more income than the Federal Poverty Level but not enough to afford their basic needs.

United Way uses the ALICE report to determine individuals who are economically disadvantaged. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are households that earn more income than the Federal Poverty Level but not enough to afford their basic needs. In Thurston County, 22% of all households were considered ALICE, with an additional 10% who earned below the federal poverty level in 2021, according to an online data dashboard. A family of four would have to make $26,500 or less in 2021 to be considered poor by the federal government. In determining those who will be served through this project, we can say with confidence that all households will fall either within the ALICE or Federal Poverty guidelines.

Career Pathway

A Bit of Research…

United Way of Thurston County assembled a group of experts from diverse fields, and united by a common goal: breaking Thurston County's cycle of poverty. This team is our Education to Financial Stability Task Force (EFSTF). Through meticulous research, the task force identified a critical gap in the educational journey of high school seniors. Our findings reveal a staggering truth – the disparity in lifetime earnings between non-skilled jobs and those requiring a technical certificate can amount to an astonishing $750,000 - $1,000,000 over a working career. Those earnings mean the opportunity to own a home, build emergency savings, and to create generational wealth.

A Real Plan…

Our mission goes beyond recognizing the problem; we're dedicated to creating practical solutions. We've discovered that even with available financial aid, less than half of Thurston County students complete federal student aid (FAFSA) application, a gateway to higher education opportunities. Barriers like lack of information, trust, and connections impede progress, tutoring, and college preparation. Through our Career and Resource Navigators pilot program, we are helping students dream big and break down those barriers.

We are excited about the future of UWTC and Thurston County. Future initiatives will focus on creating a skilled trades career pathway in Thurston County, improving youth mental health, increasing Kindergarten readiness, and creating access to quality early childhood education for all children.

Each step brings us closer to a community in which all people are able to thrive. With your help, we can address the pipelines to poverty, not just the symptoms.

That’s Not All…

United Way is an employee engagement resource for businesses. We support the community by pairing businesses with volunteer, engagement, and training opportunities. We host periodic volunteer events and share ongoing opportunities with our non-profit partners. We have a network of employee engagement coordinators who share ideas and are a resource to one another.

When disaster strikes...

We’re here. In the aftermath of the Nisqually River Flood, we provided immediate relief and support to those affected. From emergency shelter to long-term recovery, we are dedicated to providing support to those impacted by an unexpected disaster. United Way of Thurston County is not just an organization; we are a responsive force that steps up during crises. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted our community's resilience and compassion. United Way of Thurston County was the County’s partner in recruiting, screening, training, and supervising all non-medical volunteers for the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics. In the face of unprecedented challenges, we collaborated with local partners to provide essential services, support for struggling families, and resources for frontline workers. Together, we demonstrated the strength that comes from unity.

In a diverse county, we face the fundamental challenge of ensuring equitable access to education, healthcare, and financial opportunities. This is why we are partnering with local schools, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits to address poverty in Thurston County. The work we do is only possible because of compassionate people like you. By joining forces with United Way of Thurston County, you become a part of a powerful movement shaping our community's future. 

Together, we can overcome challenges, create lasting change, and build a Thurston County where every person can get a quality education, a good job, and live a healthy life.

Partner With Us!

The only way we can continue to do the work is with partners like you! Here are some ways for you to get involved:

A Financial Gift - Even a small donation goes a long way.

Volunteer - We are always looking for folks to help with projects and programs. 

Connect - Bring United Way to share our work with your workplace, social gathering or networking group. This is a huge help!