Every day, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. While it’s easy to understand the importance of people’s health and education in the broad context of community, financial stability can be harder to grasp. But, starting on the individual level, financial stability plays a vital role in making Central Alabama a better place for us all to live.
“Financial stability can change your life,” said Andrea Smith, UWCA Board Member and BBVA Birmingham Market CEO. “Once you have stability, you can plan for tomorrow, next week and next year. It changes your entire perspective.”
A longtime supporter of United Way, Smith has used her financial expertise to work closely with several of UWCA’s financial stability programs, including the Individual Development Account, or IDA (also known as Assets for Independence). An innovative matched savings program, the IDA allows families to build assets and develop skills for financial self-sufficiency by helping with educational expenses, purchasing a home or starting a small business.
“Working with the IDA was the first truly meaningful relationship I had with United Way,” said Smith. “It’s such an important program because it establishes an actual tangible pathway to financial stability.”
To Smith, one of the best things people can do to support financial stability in the community is to get involved. “I think part of the challenge with financial stability is understanding where problems occur,” she said. “By volunteering with various programs, you become more aware and can, therefore, influence and educate others.”
When people become financially self-sufficient, they’re empowered with a greater sense of independence. They’re better able to raise their families, care for themselves, focus on new priorities and participate in, and make meaningful contributions to, their communities. And when that happens, everybody wins.
You can browse volunteer opportunities centered on financial stability, health and education on INVOLVE, UWCA’s online volunteer platform, or learn more about UWCA’s work with financial stability here.