Please consider contributing to the United Way. The organization supports many programs and services aimed at the region's most challenging problems, from helping families become financially stable to connecting people in crisis with the help they need.

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Education offers a pathway out of poverty. But getting into college, with money for tuition, takes a student only partway toward graduation and a rewarding career. By supporting the United Way and its expanding Benefits Hub program, community members can help college students complete the journey.

On six college campuses, including Seattle Central, Highline and Green River colleges, the Benefits Hub offers emergency financial assistance, free tax preparation, a food pantry, emergency housing assistance, legal services, and help with transportation and child care. This program is one of the many ways the United Way of King County gives people in our community a hand up out of poverty.

From the United Way’s leadership on ending homelessness to its efforts to break the cycle of poverty by supporting families in financial and emotional crises, the United Way raises money to tackle King County’s most pressing challenges. Many of the organization’s efforts focus in three areas: homelessness services, education success from preschool through college and reconnecting youth on the path toward a successful life.

Data illustrating the economic challenges of college life led the United Way to expend the Benefits Hub program beyond a pilot project, and they are hoping to expand it further this next year, as long as they meet their campaign goal of raising $35 million by the end of June. Benefits Hubs served 4,000 students during the 2017-18 school year.

The college graduation gap is largely economic. Seattle has one of the highest concentration of college students living below the poverty line when compared to cities of similar size. At local campuses, 9 percent of students are homeless, 36 percent report they are food insecure, and 71 percent of students who drop out say they leave because they have to choose between school and work.

Because of financial challenges, students from high-income families who enter college are now six times more likely than students from low-income families to graduate.

The couple chairing this year’s United Way of King County campaign, Jonathan Sposato, a tech entrepreneur who is chairman of GeekWire and PicMonkey, and Heather Lowenthal, a veteran video producer and content strategist, recognize the value of a diverse workforce that is ready for the high paying jobs of the future.

Sposato and Lowenthal believe the United Way’s innovation and flexibility will attract more tech workers to get involved, especially in the Emerging Leaders program for professionals in their 20s and 30s who donate — or raise — $1 a day.

Please consider contributing to the United Way to help successful projects like the Benefits Hub expand. The organization supports many programs and services aimed at the region’s most challenging problems, from helping families become financially stable to connecting people in crisis with the help they need.

Donating to the United Way of King County is a smart investment in the community.