Advocacy - United Ways of California

Why We Advocate

We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve the building blocks of a good life — a quality education, financial stability, and good health — and that expanding this opportunity is both a core objective and a key strategy to fulfilling our mission at United Way.

Advancing the common good is not just about helping one person or family at a time, it is also about changing systems to help all of us. We are all connected and interdependent. We recognize we need to change the environment and the systems that impact lives to catalyze social and cultural change.

Advocating for change and mobilizing communities, therefore, is central to our mission and call to action. In fact, “Give – Advocate – Volunteer” is our United Way tagline. Advocacy is the foundation of why United Ways of California exists. In 2008, local United Ways sought to work together to educate state and national policymakers on the major issues deeply impacting their communities. That work has only grown since then.

What We Advocate For

California’s United Ways work to increase opportunities for low-income families to get an education, to be healthy, and to be financially stable. Working with our local United Way members and partners, we identify opportunities to increase the odds of success for working families in the following goal areas:


  • Increase health coverage rates of all low to moderate-income children, families, and adults in California.
  • Improve access to children’s comprehensive care and developmentally appropriate benefits for families from infancy through adulthood.
  • Better health through increased preventative care and healthy behaviors.


  • Children enter school ready to succeed by ensuring increased access quality to early care and education.
  • Ensure equitable access to learning and developmental supports for all children, including mental health supports, family resource centers, school-based health centers, broadband access, and summer learning opportunities.
  • Increase the percentage of students who graduate prepared for success in higher education or to enter the workforce.

Economic Justice

  • Increase and improve access to financial supports for families and individuals.
  • Support families and individuals in staying housed and/or recovering from homelessness.
  • Increase affordable housing supply for families and individuals.

Community Strengthening

  • All Californians will have access to vital resources and information through statewide 2-1-1 services.
  • Policymakers will understand the vital role nonprofits play in their local and statewide communities, and how laws and regulations affect their ability to serve the public good.
  • Community members will expand their engagement in decision-making processes, like voting and community conversations, and be supported in having their voices heard.

2024 Legislative Priorities

Click here to view our latest legislative and budget priorities.

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