"We must eliminate the systemic racism that permeates throughout our society..."

"We must eliminate the systemic racism that permeates throughout our society..."

I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota.  I went to college there and was fortunate enough to be hired by United Way of America as a Management Trainee over 30 years ago.  My first placement was at United Way in St. Paul and I was so pleased to stay in my hometown. 

From the beginning of my career, I understood the word “United” in our name means something special. How we “Live United” by inviting unlikely allies – corporations, small businesses, philanthropic and charitable individuals and institutions, elected and non-elected leaders, schools, service providers, and community advocates to tackle complex challenges like poverty, inequity, and disparate access to health care is remarkable.

My father was an educator who believed every person is entitled to be treated with dignity, respect, and justice.  He did not tolerate racism, prejudice, or discrimination.  He championed diversity and inclusion for everyone and taught me to do the same. 

That is why I broke down sobbing in my living-room May 25th, the morning I heard George Floyd was killed. I questioned why this racist, violent tragedy happened, along with the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbrey, Breonna Taylor, and countless others whose names we may never know.  My heart continues to ache.  We must eliminate the systemic racism that permeates throughout our society and tackle these inequities and mistreatment.   

Over the years, United Way has tried to work towards equity in learning, health care, and economic mobility.  But we can do better, striving toward a more equitable future for every person and denouncing racism and violence.  

Join us on this journey to make Johnson and Washington Counties one place in America where, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our children are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

Sincerely,

Catherine Knight, CEO & President

United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties

 

For COVID-19 Related Information click HERE.

 

NEW TAX ADVANTAGES FOR DONORS

There is a new financial incentive for Americans to give generously to qualifying charities, including United Way of Johnson & Washington Counites and many of our community partners. The new universal tax break for charitable donations was included in the final $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law last week and will go into effect starting with the 2020 tax year.

The measure grants taxpayers an above-the-line deduction for up to $300 in charitable donations given in 2020. For example, if you take the standard deduction and give $300 to charity, you will get a $300 tax break in addition to the standard deduction.

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this “above-the-line” opportunity and give to qualifying charities in our community during this health and economic crisis.

Here is the tax benefit break down for those taking standard deductions, itemized deductions and corporate giving:

Standard Deduction
For people who take the standard deduction, the CARES ACT allows you to take a tax deduction for contributions made to qualified charitable entities up to $300 per year starting in 2020 – this deduction is “above-the-line.” The 2020 Standard deduction is $12,400 for individuals and $24,800 for married couples filing jointly. Therefore, any donation to qualifying charities of up to $300 will be added to the standard rate of deduction. This deduction applies for 2020 and beyond.

Itemized Deduction
For people who file for itemized deductions, the CARES ACT allows you to take a tax deduction of up to 100% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for contributions to qualifying charities starting in 2020. The new law temporarily lifts the limits on charitable giving from 60% of a taxpayer’s AGI to 100% for 2020.

Corporate Donations
For corporate donors, the CARES ACT allows an entity to take a tax deduction of up to 25% of their Adjusted Tax Income for contributions to qualifying charities starting in 2020. The new law temporarily lifts the limits from 10% of adjusted taxable income to 25% for 2020.

To make your chairtable United Way donation click HERE or to designate your donation to the Community Disaster Relief Fund click HERE

 

 

 

 

                               2018  County Health Rankings Report - Iowa

Learn More....Click HERE for the full report.

 

 

Time for Iowa City's strengths to shine in wake of P&G job cuts

Jim Throgmorton, Geoff Fruin, Mark Nolte, Kim Casko and Katie Knight, Guest opinion Published 5:56 p.m. CT Feb. 13, 2018 | Updated 1:21 p.m. CT Feb. 14, 2018

(Photo: David Scrivner/Iowa City Press-Citizen)

 

For over 60 years Procter & Gamble's Iowa City beauty care site has been a vital part of our local economy. On Feb. 7, P&G shared with the local community its decision to move the hair care and body wash production lines from Iowa City to its new West Virginia location in 2020. Make no mistake; the ramifications will stretch far beyond the estimated 500 positions that will be lost. P&G and its various supply chain companies have been some of our area’s best employers. They offer strong wage and benefit packages and have been great corporate citizens by investing back into the community and supporting numerous nonprofit agencies.

The challenges that lie ahead are numerous, but we are confident the Iowa City community will come together to support the affected employees and ensure the remaining P&G operations are not only maintained but can grow and thrive.

One thing needs to be made crystal clear — the decision is not a reflection on the quality of our local workforce or our supportive business climate. P&G made this decision, and numerous similar decisions impacting plants across the United States, based strictly on transportation and distribution efficiencies for water-based products. This decision is all about geography; reducing P&G’s expenses and carbon footprint by locating the production of these heavy products proximate to population centers. This decision is not reflective of any amount of public assistance, financial incentives or lack thereof.

In fact, as P&G was internally making plans to move the beauty care lines from Iowa City, it was aggressively investing more than $100 million in capital and hiring 150 new employees over the last two years to expand its oral care operations, all without requesting public assistance. The quality of our local workforce was a significant factor in the decision to initiate production of its electric toothbrush in Iowa City. P&G communicated clearly to us in the last week that the oral care operations are firmly entrenched in Iowa City, and the company sees continued growth in employment and capital investment in the near future.

With P&G’s decision made, where do we as a community go from here?

In 2020, we know that approximately 500 positions will be lost. We need to work with P&G, its Iowa City employees and their respective labor unions to ensure every employee has a successful transition plan. We need to take a holistic approach and not simply focus on the next employment opportunity. Rather, we must ask what additional services will these employees and their families need. Partnering with local organizations like the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties and the strong, nonprofit community will be critical. Solutions will range from continued employment with P&G in another capacity to targeted skills training for new employment, or entrepreneurial support for employees who may want to start their own business. We know we have outstanding partners including Kirkwood Community College, the University of Iowa, Iowa Workforce Development and local trade unions — all are eager to help be a part of the solution.

We must work with P&G leadership to support the continued growth of the oral care operations and explore every possible opportunity to bring new product lines to the Iowa City plant. We must actively identify and aggressively market to new companies who would stand to benefit from the existing supply chain infrastructure and our local assets.

This is unfortunate news to be sure. There is no sugar coating this situation. However, the Iowa City area still has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and there are vibrant, growing companies across the region already seeking to recruit the talented people affected by this news. There will be impacts and unintended consequences, and the only way to lessen the negative aspects of this news is to continue to work as a community to support each other and continue to remind people why the Iowa City region is so special. The prevailing mindset of this area is one of strength, support and a faith that the future will be better for our children through our collective effort on a daily basis.

To those families who are affected by this news, please know you are not alone. You are part of a community and one of our strengths is that we pull together in times of need. It is true we have some time to prepare, but we will not wait to act. It is time for our strength to shine.

This community response was drafted by Jim Throgmorton, Iowa City mayor; Geoff Fruin, Iowa City City manager; Mark Nolte, Iowa City Area Development Group; Kim Casko, Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce; and Katie Knight, United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties

Learn more HERE