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Fighting Food Insecurity and Systemic Racism

Learn more about how United Way helps with their Bridge to Finish Program.

Presented by United Way April 18, 2022

Prices of everyday items are going up. We’re continuing to fight jobs, housing, and food insecurity. And systemic racism throughout the education system has limited educational opportunities for people of color. For our community college students—more than half of whom are people of color and living below the poverty line—it isn’t just a challenge. It’s a crisis and one step away from dropping out.  

Over the last few years, through its Bridge to Finish program, United Way of King County has been working to connect this population that’s so close to achieving economic opportunities to the resources they need—food, rent, tax credits, public benefits, financial coaching, and mental health support. 

With a focus on students of color, first-generation college students, and parenting students, Bridge to Finish aims to increase persistence and completion rates for community college students in King County.

And those rates are up. Between 2018 and 2021, 84% of students who received at least one Bridge to Finish service during a given quarter completed a credential or persisted to the next quarter, according to an evaluation by Washington Student Achievement Council and MDRC. This rate is nearly 13 percentage points higher than all non-Bridge to Finish participants at the same institutions.

While Bridge to Finish helped connect over 6,000 students to over 27,000 financial supports in the 2020-2021 school year, with your support, we can mobilize more resources for these students so they can stay in school and continue their education.

When you give $1 a day for a year ($365) to United Way to join young professionals to become an Emerging Leaders 365 donor or give $100 a month or more for a year to become a Change Maker, we’ve partnered with The Intentionalist to give away gift cards to support your favorite local coffee shops and restaurants as a special thank you.

The health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and our national reckoning with the history of racism that keeps too many Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color (BIPOC) in poverty, require us to accelerate efforts to create a more just and equitable society.

An equitable recovery requires us to help thousands more students earn degrees and credentials that lead to a living-wage jobs. Now is the time to get this right.

Our community college students need us. Together, we can be their Bridge to Finish.

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