Our advocacy work provides objective information to key decision-makers and the community about the health and human service needs of individuals and families in Cumberland County. Strengthening the quality of services in this area is paramount to our mission. There are overarching local, state and federal policies that impact the day to day operations of the agencies that provide vital services to our citizens. We advocate for policies that help ensure children succeed in school, individuals live healthy lives, and everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial well-being.
We can’t do this work alone. We must all be committed partners in improving the education, income, and health outcomes of our community. Whether you are talking to a neighbor or sending a letter to your senator or representative, voicing your opinion on an issue is advocating for a cause and is an essential part of advancing the common good.
We work closely with our partner agencies and other human service agencies on emerging issues in which we can provide assistance. United Way of Greater Portland, for example, recently tri-chaired a task force on homelessness in Portland. With the information gathered during this work, United Way of Greater Portland is increasing awareness and will work to help implement the Task Force’s recommendations. Click here for more information on the Task Force on Homelessness.
United Way of Greater Portland considers itself a partner with the State of Maine in delivering quality health and human services. This partnership serves thousands of Maine citizens. During the legislative session, we testify and send letters to members of the legislature on issues that will improve the lives of Maine citizens. Whenever we can, United Way of Greater Portland works with other United Ways around the state to increase the strength of our message.
United Way of Greater Portland testifies and submits letters on issues, such as the importance of early care and education and income support programs that help ensure financial stability. Below are links to current testimony, letters, and other advocacy materials:
- Testimony Regarding LD 1581 & LD 1682 An Act to Increase Reimbursement for Quality Child Care and An Act to Preserve Head Start and Child Care Services (delivered January 2014)
- Testimony Regarding LR 1664 An Act to Encourage Charitable Contributions to Nonprofit Organizations (delivered January 2014)
- Testimony Regarding LR 1578 An Act to Increase Health Security by Expanding Federally (delivered January 2014)
- General Assistance Eligibility Factor Changes Testimony (submitted January 2014)
- Testimony Regarding the Report of the Director of the Office of Policy and Management (submitted January 2014)
- 2013 Work
On federal policy issues, United Way of Greater Portland follows the lead and recommendations of United Way Worldwide. When a federal issue impacts the Greater Portland area, we ensure our federal delegation is aware of the issue and work with them to find an appropriate method of advocacy. We also engage our representatives locally with initiatives in the community whenever possible. We have worked, for example, with our congressional delegation to advocate for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
The Public Policy Committee
The Public Policy Committee educates and influences key decision-makers and the community by providing objective information about the human service needs of all our citizens. The members of the Committee represent a diverse background in local and state policy and helps bring United Way of Greater Portland advocacy work into the community. Members of the Public Policy Committee are:
David Brenerman, Unum
Maxwell Chikuta, Maine Medical Center
Tae Chong, Community Volunteer
Jim Elkins, Career Planning Services
Victoria Loring, Community Volunteer
Gloria Melnick, Community Volunteer
John Portela, Local S6 Shipbuilders Union, BIW
Judy Reidt-Parker, Maine Children’s Alliance
Blanca Santiago, Community Volunteer
Ed Suslovic, Portland City Council
Rachel Talbot Ross, NAACP Portland
David Varney, Hannaford Bros. Co.
Bill Vickerson, Levenson Vickerson
Nicole Witherbee, John T. Gorman Foundation