United Way of Central Jersey

Give. Advocate. Volunteer.

aka UWCJ   |   Milltown, NJ   |  www.uwcj.org

Mission

United Way of Central Jersey’s leadership brings together resources for local disadvantaged families to ensure that all young children in our community attain better educational outcomes and a healthier, brighter, and more successful future. We accomplish our mission in collaboration with our partners, volunteers, and the generosity of our donors.

Ruling year info

1958

President and Chief Professional Officer

Ms. Gloria Aftanski

Main address

United Way of Central Jersey 32 Ford Avenue

Milltown, NJ 08850 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-1520408

NTEE code info

Fund Raising Organizations That Cross Categories includes Community Funds/Trusts and Federated Giving Programs) e.g. United Way (T70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The United Way of Central Jersey (UWCJ) has a priority on young children, from their prenatal beginnings to the age of 5. Numerous studies about the importance of early brain development in children have indicated that the first few years of a child’s life have the most critical impact upon achievement of their full potential. Children, even prenatally, are negatively impacted by the insidious effects of poverty and suffer detrimental consequences to their health, mental health, and well-being. UWCJ strives to provide opportunities for vulnerable children from birth to age 5 and their families by delivering and sustaining programs that achieve data-proven results in Education, Health, and Financial Stability.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Nurse Family Partnership Program

Program Summary :
Our Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) is an evidence-based, nationally acclaimed program which targets first-time pregnant low income expectant mothers from early in pregnancy (ideally from the 12th week or 28th week at the latest) through to the 2nd birthday of the newborn child. Specially trained, Bachelor of Nursing level professionals, following an intensive home visitation schedule, utilize a highly structured curriculum that addresses pre-natal content and concerns as well as post partum developmental subject matter.

Curricula components include, but are not limited to, the benefits associated with early /quality prenatal care, breast-feeding, smoking and substance abuse cessation, keeping on schedule with immunizations as well as tracking developmental milestones of the child. NFP has been tested in three scientifically controlled trials, over more than three decades, with different populations living in different contexts and different geographic locales within the United States. In these trials, NFP resulted in significant impact in eight areas: improving pre-natal health; reducing childhood injuries, increasing inter-birth intervals; increasing the stability of partner relationships; reducing family use of public assistance; increasing maternal employment and earnings; improving child language, cognitive and academic functioning among children born to mothers with fewer psychological resources; producing long term reductions on state verified rates of child abuse and neglect; and on reducing youth arrests and convictions. This program, based upon the findings of long-term longitudinal research cited above, has demonstrated dramatically improved birth outcomes (full term births / birth weight, etc.) as well as such longer term impact in the areas of early child development, success in school and later life.

Referrals to our program, staffed by nurses from the VNA Health Group, are initiated largely by local clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), area hospitals (especially New Brunswick based Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and St. Peter’s University Hospital) as well as from private practicing physicians, word of mouth, etc. Our experience since the onset of programming in 2005 documents the consistency of referrals and enrollment of a disproportionate number of Latino families with limited English proficiency, many of whom are illiterate in their native languages. Our nursing staff is 70% bi-lingual / bi-cultural.

A report released by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy in July 2011 recognized NFP as the most cost effective Child Welfare focused home visitation program with a benefits minus costs value totaling $20,905, a 7% rate of return on investments. Additionally, the Bridgespan Group (NYC) in collaboration with the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (Chicago, Illinois) in a 2015 report characterized the Nurse Family Partnership as a high quality evidence based program and one of the most effective investments philanthropy can make.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Infants and toddlers

United Way of Central Jersey's Multi-Faceted Pre-School Educational Initiative, targeting three and four year old children primarily, but not exclusively enrolled at the JFK Elementary School in Jamesburg, New Jersey consists of (1) the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program, (2) The Summer Sprouts Program and (3) the Early Literacy Initiative.

Our Pre-School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Initiative utilizes a child’s natural curiosity and their daily routine to begin to build the foundation for later science and technology learning. Our Women’s Pre-School STEM Committee has developed and executed a wealth of STEM activities tapping expertise from corporate personnel (IBM, UPS, Silverline) as well as instructional staff from Educational Institutions (Middlesex County College). The participating children are exposed to a range of hands-on experimental, science related activities and demonstrations which encourage creative and analytical thinking.

Our Early Literacy programming is predicated upon extensive research which has shown that children who have access to books in the home are more likely to be reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Each year United Way works with corporate and other partners to assemble and distribute over 1,000 early Literacy Kits to children in area pre-schools and kindergarten classes. The kits are designed to support early grade reading and contain one or more age-appropriate books and educational activities that tie into the theme of the book and/or concept being taught.

Our Summer Sprouts Program targets rising first graders who need to improve math and literacy skills in order to be successful in first grade. In part, it is an attempt to address the "summer slide" or learning loss which research has demonstrated, often occurs during the two month break (July and August) when children are out of school. In addition to effectively address the "Summer Slide" problem which is most predominant in low income areas, United Way of Central Jersey has partnered with corporate funders and a local elementary school for the “Summer Sprouts”, a 6 week summer learning program focusing on skill maintenance and enrichment through cross-curricular activities. On average over 50% of the Summer Sprouts students improve their reading ability over the end of the school year and over 25% improve their reading skills above the normative level for their grade.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Economically disadvantaged people

United Way has successfully replicated the Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) programmatic strategy which supports kindergarten readiness predicated in part upon the recognition that parents are, in effect, their child’s first teacher. This evidence based initiative has been recognized and validated as being highly effective in strengthening and empowering parenting behaviors, building critical early childhood knowledge and developing the leadership and advocacy skills of Latino parents. This program which was developed in California by and for Latino parents, primarily targets Spanish speaking parents of children from birth to five years of age, The program, through a series of ten highly structured workshops, with a comprehensive curriculum, endeavors to improve the outcomes for children by building both the capacity and confidence of parents to be strong and powerful advocates in the lives of their children. It is based in part upon the premise that enhancing parenting skills early in a child’s life leads to important economic and societal benefits. The program curriculum is centered on the cultural values, strengths and experiences of participating families.

Parents are provided with the knowledge, tools, and supports that can greatly enhance their ability to guide their children academically, support their social and emotional development and promote good health all of which combine to offer the promise of better results in school and in life.

Population(s) Served
Parents
Infants and toddlers

Our Health Service focuses upon insuring access to health care largely by encouraging and assisting eligible individuals and families to enroll in such care provided through the Affordable Care Act, Expanded State Medicaid or the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In appreciation for our extensive efforts in his this area, the United Way of Central Jersey has been recognized as a "Champion for Coverage" by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).


Our Immigration services was guided and informed in part by two studies commissioned by the United Way of Central Jersey and conducted by the Eagleton Institute and the Jersey City based International Institute, our Immigrant Immigration Program endeavors to address the problems, concerns and issues experienced by immigrants living in Middlesex County, clearly one of the most diverse counties in the state. A resource directory of social and educational services designed to meet the needs of newly arriving immigrants was distributed widely, both in English and Spanish. A series of educational seminars are regularly conducted helping to orient agency personnel to the unique needs of various immigrant populations. United Way of Central Jersey continues to play a lead role in reaching out to legal immigrant populations connecting them with direct legal assistance around their residency / citizenship status.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Families

Our Volunteer Income Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax preparation services to individuals and families earning up to $65,000. First implemented for tax year 2008, and over the protracted subsequent period, our VITA program has recruited and trained more than 560 tax preparation volunteers, filed nearly 12,000 returns and generated $11 million in refunds, $2.35 million in Earned Income Tax Credits and almost $1.5 million in Child Tax Credits for taxpayers in Middlesex County.
It is important to note that the above information refers exclusively to the filing of federal returns. With specific respect to state returns, our success in securing state refunds including the state earned income credit (EITC) has been equally impressive. For the tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined, our VITA assisted in the preparation and submission of more than 5,600 New Jersey State tax returns resulting in well over $1.5 million dollars in state returns of which $656 thousand was attributable to the state earned income tax credit.
Tax forms are filed electronically. Taxpayers receiving refunds are strongly encouraged to save as much as possible. The United Way of Central Jersey has also encouraged non-citizen taxpayers to apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) enabling filers to take advantage of any refunds for which they may be entitled.
All of the volunteers providing the direct tax preparation assistance participate in a comprehensive training program utilizing a curriculum developed by the Internal Revenue Service and must pass a test to establish their proficiency in conducting this work.
Taxes are prepared at the United Way of Central Jersey office as well as at United Way of Central Jersey-led coalition sites throughout Middlesex County including libraries, public buildings, private non-profit agencies and corporate offices.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families

The ParentChild+: Family Child Care Model is a promising new home visitation program in which Early Learning Specialists work with family child care providers to support school readiness and family engagement for all the children in their care. The program targets providers who have limited access to training and professional development opportunities, and the curricula promotes provider-child interaction, enriched care environments, and connects the families of the children in home care settings with information and materials to support the development of school readiness and early literacy skills at home.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

UNITED WAY WORLDWIDE Membership Certified 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of tax returns completed by volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Families, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2020 tax return preparation services - although curtailed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic - were successfully provided via remote tax return preparation and low-contact with tax clients.

Dollars saved in tax preparation fees

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Families, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

VITA tax preparation services in 2021 were curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a somewhat smaller number of returns were prepared.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

United Way of Central Jersey's leadership goal is to bring together resources for local disadvantaged families to ensure that ALL young children in our community attain better educational outcomes and a healthier, brighter, and more successful future.

In 2004, the Board of the United Way of Central Jersey established a Children’s Leadership Council of local early childhood experts and advocates, including the Director of the County Board of Social Services, the County Superintendent of Schools, the Director of Youth Services for the County, a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, and Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations. The Leadership Council recommended that the UWCJ Board invest in “upstream programs”, meaning those that provide interventions and resources into a child’s early years with the idea that they will benefit in the long term.

Since that inception in 2004, UWCJ has sought to improve the quality of life of young children and their caregivers within our community and in New Jersey at large. We accomplish this by looking closely at the “big picture” of what causes inequality in children's lives, and funding programs and advocating for policies that address these issues. Our ultimate vision is to create strong and healthy communities, where all community members assist each other in becoming productive, contributing members of society, achieving their full potential. By addressing issues in early childhood, we believe that we will help inspire both current and future generations to achieve that vision.

We have a number of strategies that we use to promote children’s quality of life, including:

Promoting healthy parenting practices and child wellbeing through our evidence-based Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) Program to ensure first-time low-income mothers give birth to healthy babies, and deploy successful parenting skills in the first 2-years of their babies lives.

Early childhood learning in home-based child-care settings through our Parent-Child+ program.

Advocating for, and supplying, quality early education through our educational initiatives and associated advocacy endeavors.

Health and Immigration Services for families and communities that ensure that children grow up in healthy, safe environments. This includes early childhood dental health programs, and addressing family food-insecurity issues.

Programs that promote Financial Stability for families, such as our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides not only free tax preparation but also investment strategies like using tax returns to build college funds.

UWCJ invests heavily in early childhood success research and development of programs and services in our communities to address identified needs.

UWCJ solves issues using a comprehensive and integrated approach to address all facets of early childhood issues and simultaneously fight for systems change. We have developed this approach by utilizing the three pillars identified by United Way Worldwide for a good quality of life and a strong community: Education, Financial Stability and Health. We couple these three building blocks with extensive evidence-based, evidence-informed, and best practice research regarding early childhood success.

We coordinate efforts to promote early childhood wellbeing, including; interacting with all stakeholders, influencing policy, and continuously developing and improving upon direct service programs. Alongside community partners, we advocate at the state and municipal levels for the appropriate funding and policies that support early childhood success.

To stay true to our dedication to transparency and accountability, we report on extensive yearly metrics through United Way’s Global Results Framework. This allows us to both share our impact in the community, and track our progress in our multifaceted work.

UWCJ makes every effort to collaborate and maximize resources to achieve the greatest possible impact with the highest level of leveraged resources. We collaborate with community partners, and provide leadership, to further maximize impact and apply resources with expert efficiency.

Early Childhood Services:
Throughout calendar-year 2021, UWCJ has been the provider of Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) programming throughout Middlesex and Somerset Counties (New Jersey) drawing down over $1.13 million dollars in governmental (state and federal) support and monetary contributions from area foundations and corporations. As a result of additional available resources, United Way of Central Jersey has expanded the NFP level of service units, including expanded services for NFP mothers to access continued education opportunities, plus dental-health services for NFP mothers and their infants/toddlers.

Financial Stability/Economic Mobility:
United Way of Central Jersey (UWCJ) serves as the lead organization for the Middlesex County VITA Coalition, which consists of partners including Rutgers University, Middlesex College, and up to 20 non-profit organizations that assist low income individuals and households with the challenges associated with living in extreme poverty.
Despite the unexpected advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UWCJ-led VITA program continued to provide FREE tax return preparation services throughout the years 2020 and 2021 via remote preparation and limited-contact drop-off services. As a result, the UWCJ-led VITA program prepared - free-of-charge - 3,731 Federal and State Income Tax Returns for low-moderate income individuals and households. VITA clients not only saved an extimated $362,600 in tax return preparation fees, VITA tax preparers also identified applicable tax credits such as EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and Child Tax Credits, which return money to low-moderate income households. UWCJ's VITA program efforts - during the 2021 ongoing COVID pandemic - generated $2,076,500 Income Tax Refunds for 2020 Tax return filers - which included $415,062 EITC, $279,798 Child Tax Credits, and $49,861 Education Credits.

Health and Immigration Services:
United Way of Central Jersey continues to promote Affordable Care Act enrollment, especially to low-income individuals and households that qualfy for Medicaid or CHIP (Childrens Health Insurance Program) insurance.

Throughout 2020, UWCJ funded Central Jersey Legal Services and D.I.R.E. (Deportation & Immigration Response Equipo) to assist community members requiring immigration issues intervention.

Dental health is often overlooked when addressing healthcare. in 2019, UWCJ initiated a program whereby NFP program mothers were provided transportation to/from dental appointments at a local clinic. UWCJ also initiated a program in 2020 to teach dental care to preschoolers in the JFK preschool in Jamesburg NJ. The JFK dental care initiative was successfully deployed via remote-access education, coupled with school-distributed dental care products provided by UWCJ.

Future endeavors for the agency include continuing to provide quality services for our community and expanding upon our already successful models.

Financials

United Way of Central Jersey
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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United Way of Central Jersey

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Lawrence O’Connell

Retired IBM Executive

Lee F. Livingston

Imperial Consultants

Jane S. Leal

Sol Heckelman

Richard Wildnauer

Chris Van Der Stad

Geraldine L. Cochran

Muriel Grimmett

Gary Karlin

Joann LaPerla

Thomas S. McDonough

Bristol Myers Squibb

Giselle Mudge

Supremia International

Stu Schwartz

Maurice Williams

Trina Mehr

Ainsworth Kiffin

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/29/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data