Ann Arbor nonprofits to launch financial security program for Washtenaw County families

Twenty dollar bills. (Pexels)

ANN ARBOR – United Way of Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation are partnering with UpTogether to help Washtenaw County families combat financial insecurity.

UpTogether is an antipoverty nonprofit that provides families with funds and an online platform for them to share resources, support and connect with others to overcome their financial struggles.

Over the next two years, UWWC and AAACF plan to serve around 45 families. To identify families in need of this resource, they are partnering with the following local nonprofits:

  • Aid in Milan
  • Buenos Vecinos
  • Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach
  • Faith in Action
  • Manchester Community Resource Center
  • Mentor2Youth
  • Trusted Advisors of the Success by Six Great Start Collaborative

“Through our COVID-19 relief efforts, our organizations saw the power of mutual aid in the form of cash assistance to families,” UWWC President & CEO Pam Smith said in a release. “UpTogether members work alongside each other to build social capital, financial knowledge, as they use their cash investments to manage their individual household needs.

“We feel urgency around piloting a permanent solution to the continued financial insecurity experienced by Washtenaw County families given that 31% of Washtenaw County people struggle to afford their basic needs. We must do something radically different to shift these community conditions.”

“We were compelled to partner with UpTogether due to the significant longitudinal data they compiled over the past 18 years, which demonstrates that before COVID-19, on average, families who engaged with UpTogether for two years experienced annual income increases of 21%, government subsidy decreases of 42%, and fourfold increases in savings along with a greater sense of community and self-worth,” AAACF President & CEO Shannon Polk said in a release.

The two-year pilot program will launch in Washtenaw County in May.

Families selected to participated in the program will receive quarterly payments of $625.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to launch UpTogether in Washtenaw County,” UpTogether’s associate partnership director Tiarra Comer said in a release. “This is a powerful opportunity to trust and invest in families while providing another way for them to build community.”