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Annual Report & April 2014 Newsletter
Get the latest news from United Way and view upcoming partner agency events.


United Way of West Alabama Exceeds Campaign Goal

Coverage on WVUA:

Coverage in The Tuscaloosa News


United Way 2013 Campaign Bulletin

Click here for the latest campaign bulletin for 2013. Thank you very much to all of the businesses and individuals that donated to this year's campaign!! Your dollars will be spent helping improve health, education and financial stability in West Alabama.

2013 Campaign Kickoff Luncheon Draws Record Crowd 



A record number of supporters gathered Tuesday at the Bryant Conference Center for the United Way of West Alabama's annual fundraising campaign kickoff luncheon.

“It is the largest number of individuals we've had at any luncheon since the inception of United Way of West Alabama, surpassing last year's record,” said Dennis Steverson, a Tuscaloosa attorney who is chairman of the United Way's board of directors.

The event, which had more than 520 people registered to attend, also served as a celebration of last year's record-breaking fundraising year.




UWWA Day of Action Attracts Record Volunteers

United Way of West Alabama rallied over 200 volunteers to work together on projects to make an impact on their community during their annual Day of Action on June 21. 

Volunteers worked on projects such as adding a new coat of paint to the inside of a facility, gardening, landscaping, helping with a camp, holding a cook-out for the clients of an agency, and many more.




The diversity of the types of projects was matched by the diversity of groups who volunteered.  Business professionals, college students, families, teachers, youth groups and even a middle school football team and cheerleading squad were among made up the teams of volunteers.


United Way of West Alabama had a record participation level of volunteers and hopes to increase the number of volunteers and service projects next year.  For more information about volunteering in West Alabama, contact Tamika Alexander at tamika@uwwa.org

UWWA Partnership Helps Save on Prescriptions


In West Alabama, a partnership between the United Way and the nation’s leading provider of free prescription drug discount cards has helped 7,128 people save $895,413.

Nationwide, FamilyWize Community Service Partnership along with 1,000 other local United Ways have helped more than 5 million people get medicine they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

“Saving people money on necessary prescriptions is vital to the health and well-being of our families and our community,” said Jackie Wuska, president and CEO, United Way of West Alabama.

“Too often, not taking medicine you need because you cannot afford it begins a series of consequences that could start with disease progression and end with large medical bills or even bankruptcy,” she said.

Since 2005, FamilyWize, United Ways and pharmacies around the country have helped people stay healthy and productive in more than 95 percent of all U.S. counties.

The partnership has provided free prescription discount cards that help people get the medicine they need, accounting for more than $500 million in direct savings on prescriptions.

Dan Barnes, president and CEO of FamilyWize, said, “We set an ambitious goal for our partnership — to help families save $1 billion on the cost of medicines by the end of 2015. Now we’re halfway there.”

According to Consumer Reports, Americans who are financially strapped tend to skip medicine or lower their dosages.

A New England Journal of Medicine article reported that the cost of medicine not taken exceeds $100 billion each year on avoidable hospitalizations and $177 billion on additional health care costs.

And a Harvard University/CVS Caremark study shows that taking medicine as prescribed can save as much as $7,800 per patient annually, money that otherwise would be spent on emergency rooms, hospitalizations, tests and other procedures.

Financial complications that often arise when necessary medicine isn’t taken as prescribed include absenteeism, job losses, mortgage forfeitures and bankruptcies.

“The United Way/FamilyWize partnership demonstrates how a grass-roots initiative can help individuals and communities avoid such consequences,” Wuska said. “We provide these free prescription discount cards to local social service agencies, faith-based organizations, schools, community centers, local government and healthcare providers so everyone can get the medicine they need.”

Many local pharmacists and physicians also assist by providing cards or making their patients aware of how to get a card, either through United Way of West Alabama, the FamilyWize.org site or even via text by sending the word “family” to 700700 to receive a Rx discount card via text.

Savings are often as high as 75 percent off the price charged without the card, which can be used for any FDA approved medicine at most pharmacies.

With average savings of about $20 per prescription, the FamilyWize card often means families can avoid a choice between getting medicine or buying food.

“People’s need for such assistance will not diminish with the Affordable Care Act and health care reform,” Barnes said.

He added that “the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on the “Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage” estimate anywhere from 29-44 million will remain without insurance over the next 10 years.”

For information about the free prescription cards, call 211.

To compare discounted prices of prescriptions at nearby pharmacies or for more about the program, visit FamilyWize.org.

(Source: Tuscaloosa News: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20130519/NEWS/130519730?p=2&tc=pg)

(From Web on Sunday, May 19, 2013)

Need Assistance in West Alabama?

For the most up to date information about the ways to give and get help, call 2-1-1, United Way’s Information & Referral line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and enter the ZIP code you are calling about.  You can also download the latest Infoline Newsletter here.




UWWA Exceeds 2012 Campaign Goal 

United Way of West Alabama held a fund raising campaign celebration on December 13 at The University Club in Tuscaloosa and announced the community raised a record $3,351,273 in 2012.  This total represents 106% of UWWA’s $3,150,000 campaign goal and is the largest amount raised by the organization.  Prior to 2012, UWWA’s previous high pledge total was in 2007 when just over $3.2 million was raised.

“People saw the need; they stepped up,” said Dennis Steverson, UWWA’s 2012 Campaign Chairman.  Steverson continued, “It certainly is appropriate during this season of joy, giving and thanksgiving that I can express a personal thanks to you who so represent these virtues.”

In her first year as UWWA’s President/CEO, Jackie Wuska furthered Steverson’s sentiment by adding, “It’s a testament to the heart of giving in our community that we raised a historic amount.”  In addition to the exciting goal announcement, the crowd of nearly 150 heard performances of holiday songs from UWWA partner agency Arts ‘n Autism which is enjoying its first year as a United Way partner agency. 

Ola Mae Hobson Ribbon Cutting
Reverend Kervan Jones (Pastor of Third Street Church of God in Greensboro and Board member with Habitat for Humanity in Hale County), Ola Mae Hobson (UWWA Individual Development Account Investor), and Dennis Steverson (Tuscaloosa attorney and UWWA 2012 Campaign Chair)

Individual Development Account Investor Celebrates Success

On June 14, United Way of West Alabama hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and lunch for Ola Mae Hobson of Greensboro at her home.  Ms. Hobson is the first investor in West Alabama to complete United Way’s Individual Development Account (IDA) program. 

The IDA is a federal grant program administered by the Office of Community Services of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The program assists qualifying individuals who open an IDA by matching earned income with local United Way funds and federal funds. The IDA promotes savings and financial stability and enables participants to acquire a lasting asset to purchase a first-time home, to earn a college education, or to start or expand a small business.  (See more information about the IDA program below.)

“I feel blessed, very blessed,” said Ola Mae Hobson about her investment in the IDA program and the purchase of her home.  When asked about opening an IDA and her experience in the program, Hobson said, “I don’t think it was difficult.  I think it was just putting your mind to what you wanted to do, and this is what I wanted.”

Jackie Wuska, United Way of West Alabama President/CPO, said, “United Way is thrilled to help West Alabamians like Ola Mae realize a lifelong dream by participating in the IDA program.”  Commenting on the value of the program, Wuska added, “It is most rewarding for us to give back to hard working individuals and families who are the backbone of our community, and a program such as IDA allows United Way to directly affect our community with funds which are reinvested and make an economic impact on West Alabama.”

 “I am proud United Way of West Alabama is reaching beyond Tuscaloosa to help those in all the West Alabama counties we serve,” said Robert Kuhn, Capstone Bank President and UWWA’s Board President.  He added, “By providing opportunities to Ola Mae and others investing with the IDA program, United Way is able to fulfill its mission of offering long term solutions to needs in our community.” 

Individual Development Savings Accounts

What is the Individual Development Account Program?  The Individual Development Account (IDA) program is a matched savings program focusing on financial stability that assists qualifying participants in acquiring a lasting asset—a first-time home, college education or start or expand a small business.  The IDA program is part of Assets for Independence, a federal program administered by the Office of Community Services of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. United Way of Central Alabama serves as an administrator for the IDA program and partners with United Way of West Alabama to bring the program to West Alabama residents. 


How do I qualify for an IDA?  To be eligible for the IDA program, individuals must have:

 How do I get started on my IDA?

The Individual Development Account program is administered by United Way Central of Alabama who partners with United Way of West Alabama to bring the program to West Alabamians.  It is supported by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Community Service. Local matching funds are provided through the United Way Financial Stability Partnership of Alabama by corporations, foundations, municipalities and individuals, who are committed to helping Alabamians become financially stable and build assets for personal financial independence.  Call 2-1-1 or click here to learn more.