We’re helping families on the path to becoming financially independent by focusing on the most important tools to build financial stability—good paying jobs through training; financial literacy and education; and free tax preparation services—to get hardworking people the returns they deserve. These initiatives and others will help break the cycle of generational poverty.

The Challenge–Pathways out of poverty

By the “numbers”, Orange County is prospering. But the facts of poverty in Orange County indicate that the social and economic gaps here in our county continue to grow.

Over the past decade, local job growth has been led by low-paying service sector jobs—jobs that often don’t include health coverage or other benefits. This leaves many families walking a financial tightrope.

There’s a direct link between financial hardship and the poor health and academic prospects of children and families living in poverty. At Orange County United Way, we help solve the equation of getting more families on the path to becoming self-sufficient by focusing on the most important tools to economic stability:


SparkPoint OC Financial Empowerment Centers

Financial empowerment centers help hard working low-income residents with free financial resources and coaches for personal finance, savings and asset planning to escape financial hardship
Did you know

Did you know...

More than 300,000 people in our community are living below poverty—that's more than 10% of our neighbors, coworkers and friends. A “living wage” is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family. In Orange County, for a family of four, the living wage is $16.83. Minimum wage is $9.00. To afford a typical two-bedroom apartment, a worker would need to earn $30.92 an hour—and a household would need the equivalent of 3.4 full-time minimum wage workers to pay the rent. * Learn more...


Free Tax Preparation

Helps identify available tax credits and return thousands of dollars to hard-working families—refunds that would otherwise go unclaimed—so that these families can build towards a self-sufficient life
Did you know

Did you know...

The IRS estimates that four out of five workers claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) they earned, leaving billions of dollars on the table each year—money workers can use for groceries, rent, utilities and other bills Learn more...


Employment Resources

Job training and workforce development programs connect local businesses to a pipeline of skilled workers, enabling low-income individuals to find decent jobs that pay living wages
Did you know

Did you know...

The 2013 Family Financial Stability Index (FFSI) indicates that 41% of OC neighborhoods have a high concentration of families that are financially unstable (based on income, employment, and housing expenses). Training for and landing a higher paying job—one with 21st century job skills—provides family-sustaining wages and helps break the cycle of poverty. A financially independent person, with their hope and dreams restored, is better able participate in our society, our micro-economies and local community to the benefit of all. Learn more...

Results—Orange County United Way at Work

Success Stories

Samuel Workforce Development

Although I am a college graduate, I found myself without a job. I attended an Employment Readiness Program, where the workshops equipped me with a refined resume, gave me confidence in interviewing skills, and a renewed appreciation for my real-world experience…I found the best job I have ever had with an opportunity to build my career.

— Samuel , Former client of WHW