PLATINUM2022

United Community

aka United Community Ministries, UCM, UCM of Alexandria   |   Alexandria, VA   |  http://www.unitedcommunity.org

Mission

United Community empowers our neighbors to transform their lives.

Notes from the nonprofit

United Community wishes to thank all of our donors, grant funders, government agencies, faith-based, partner non-profits, businesses, volunteers, and staff for transforming our neighbors lives and working to end multi-generational poverty. You are what makes us a United Community!

Ruling year info

1970

President & CEO

Ms. Alison DeCourcey

Main address

7511 Fordson Rd

Alexandria, VA 22306 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

United Community Ministries, Inc.

United Community

EIN

54-0850780

NTEE code info

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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

United Community's core service area has been identified as an “island of disadvantage” where residents experience poverty, poor education, unaffordable housing, and often lack health insurance. Eight-five percent of our clients live within the two zip codes with the highest incidents of poverty, where over 30% of households earn less than $50,000, the threshold of a living wage for a family of four. Our programs serve a multicultural mix of families who face greater challenges for economic and social mobility; 55% of the households we serve are African American and 37% are Hispanic. COVID-19 revealed and exacerbated the inequities communities of color experience. As recovery efforts continue, the needs and barriers of marginalized communities remain high. United Community provides an array of services focused on creating opportunities for children and families from cradle to career.

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?

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones provides families and individuals with immediate assistance throughout the year. Services include emergency food, eviction prevention, utility assistance, case management, prescription drug assistance, and financial literacy. Stepping Stones supports individuals and families to move out of crisis and towards economic stability. We also refer families to other needed services within our organization and through other local agencies. Highlights in FY21 include providing fresh, healthy food to 12,088 families over the course of the year. The majority visit our food pantry 3-4 times a month. In addition, 400 families are served weekly at one of our six mobile sites hosted within marginalized communities. Rental assistance and/or utility assistance prevented homelessness or disconnection for 1,037 individuals. In partnership with the DC Diaper Bank, we distributed 155,492 diapers along with formula and wipes.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Families

Progreso Center for Literacy and Citizenship empowers immigrants through education, citizenship classes, immigration legal services, and connection with social support networks. Progreso offers four levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) classes from beginner to advanced, a direct path to U.S. citizenship to prepare for the test and interview, and legal support at little or no cost. Highlights in a FY21 include: 1) 177 adult learners improved their basic English skills; 2) 41 individuals were provided with immigration assistance through preparation courses for the US Citizenship Exam, and assisted with completion of the application; and 3) 92 received immigration assistance to include naturalization/citizenship, translation completion/filing adjustments of status, green card applications, family petitions, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) assistance for victims of domestic violence, U-Visa for victims of crime, Visa and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Adults

United Community's Early Learning Center, (ELC), provides high-quality childhood education in Fairfax County, VA. For over 30 years, we have created positive classroom experiences that naturally stimulate children's curiosity and holistically foster their development. Our center serves ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and strictly follows CDC guidelines for health and safety. ELC is a Virginia Quality Certified childcare center that is dedicated to providing curriculum-based childhood education to promote the social and emotional development of every child. In addition to providing quality childcare, we also participate in the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) which provides unique services such as Free Vision, Dental, and Medical Screenings for each child. Our tuition is all inclusive, covering meals, snacks, activities, field trips and more! For more information go to our website at https://earlylearningctr.org/

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

The SPARKS program engages children and youth in positive emotional/social and academic learning through lively, interactive, and creative activities to support individual growth through out-of-school time programming at Creekside Village and Sacramento Neighborhood Community Centers. Healthy snacks and two hot meals are provided daily. Activities include STEAM focused learning, dance, music, art, tutoring, groups discussions, field trips, coding, gardening, sports and mentoring. Parents participate in family fun enrichment events and other activities to support their child's success. In FY21, 85 youth attended SPARKS afterschool enrichment and summer camps.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Healthy Families Fairfax (HFF) program is an intensive, evidence-based home visitation program that prevents child abuse and neglect in high-risk families. Through HFF, parents receive home-based parenting education, health information, community support and school readiness from pregnancy until the child reaches age three. Our data shows, that families that graduate from the HFF have healthier children and better parent-child interactions. In FY21, there were no reports of founded child abuse or neglect for all of the 114 families enrolled in our program. Other accomplishments measured were: (1) 96.8% of babies were born at a healthy weight; 85% of the children received their immunizations as recommended and 100% of families showed an acceptable level of positive parenting.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

Partnering with Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, United Community operates two community centers dedicated to serving and empowering residents by meeting basic needs, providing resources and connections, and facilitating youth and family programs. These are places where residents of all ages connect with their neighbors, access computer labs, create opportunities for education and support, and make changes that strengthen the community where they live.

Population(s) Served

Opportunity Neighborhoods (ON) is the county-wide organizing framework for residents, community-based partners, Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, and other supporters to work together to deliver needed resources that are equitable, accessible, and effective for vulnerable youth and their families. Partners within the scope of the neighborhood work together to identify community needs and develop two-generation solutions. Opportunity Neighborhood Mount Vernon (ONMV), led by United Community, includes schools, partners, families and children within the boundaries of Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School, Riverside Elementary School, Woodlawn Elementary School, Walt Whitman Middle School, and Mount Vernon High School. Five focal areas support: 1) an inclusive and connected community; 2) connected and motivated youth; 3) school readiness & early childhood education; 4) wellness and family stability; 5) workforce readiness, student career preparedness, and family literacy.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families

Community Schools offers an effective level of service provision and a better understanding of service gaps that exist and better support students and families with a more unified, comprehensive approach. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Each Community School has a Community School Coordinator who helps existing school staff meet the needs of students and families by leveraging resources and building sustainable partnerships. United Community works in two schools Walt Whitman Middle School and Mount Vernon Woods Elementary. In FY21, combined outcomes included: 1) 350 families per month visit the schools' Farmers Markets; 2) 120 students received weekly weekend backpacks; 3) 90 parents attended Parents Wisely groups; and, 4) 298 children and parents received COVID-19 vaccinations or boosters during Health Clinics.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families

COMMUN1TY+ is a collective impact initiative led by the support of community members, a broad coalition of organizations, and county agencies who come together around addressing the structural barriers facing communities of color in the Buckman Loop area of Alexandria, VA. United Community serves as the backbone agency providing infrastructure support to this resident driven movement. Shaped by the community's self-identified priority issues, five multi-stakeholder working groups focus on: Health, Child and Youth Well-Being, Safety, Neighborhood Livability, and Economic Opportunity. COMMUN1TY+ empowers community members with the leadership and facilitation skills to actively steer and contribute to these working groups. Convening all perspectives of the community's ecosystem, we work to explicitly address the systemic and structural barriers to racial and health equity in these neighborhoods. In FY21, 9,000+ community members joined in events to address equitable COVID response needs.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Adults
Children and youth
Families
Economically disadvantaged people

The Family Achievement Program (FAP) is designed to assist families in reaching their goals of self-sufficiency and independence. Families are connected with a FAP Coach who works one-on-one with families to identify and achieve their personal financial, educational, and professional goals. Together with a network of local community-based organizations and county agencies, FAP connects families with the resources and opportunities they need to reach their goals. FAP program services include: crisis intervention; childcare assistance; financial assistance; and employment assistance. FAP also offers paid apprenticeships to qualified participants. Achievement is formally measured every six months with the families to evaluate progress. The program began in May 2021 and out of 45 families served, 66% showed progress in two or more domains towards self-sufficiency, 100% participate in budget and financial planning and four individuals have participated in the paid apprenticeships.

Population(s) Served
Families
Families
Families
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

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 individuals who received nutritional food including fresh produce and healthy options

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

Families, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Stepping Stones

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Substantial increase in demand for food due to COVID-19.

Number of individuals who received financial support such as rental, utility or medical assistance to promote stability..

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

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Stepping Stones

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of kindergarten-bound children who demonstrated school readiness measured by evidence-based assessment tools.

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

Infants and toddlers

Related Program

United Community's Early Learning Center

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

United Community's Early Learning Center successfully re-opened in July 2021 after being temporarily closed due to COVID restrictions.

Number of adult learners who improved their English language skills by attending one out of four levels of ESL classes.

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

Immigrants and migrants

Related Program

Progreso Center for Literacy and Citizenship

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of adults who received legal immigration assistance.

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

Immigrants and migrants

Related Program

Progreso Center for Literacy and Citizenship

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Individuals work with Progreso's immigration attorney for legal assistance to include: naturalization, citizenship, green card or visa applications, family petitions or legal protections for victims.

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.

For more than 50 years, United Community has been a leading human services nonprofit in Northern Virginia. Our mission is to build thriving communities and create equitable opportunities by providing supportive services and advancing community-driven solutions.

An array of programs and services is available to help improve lives

While still remaining committed to be an emergency response agency providing healthy food, rental/utility and medical assistance to those in need, we are also concentrating our growth in areas of early education with a two generational approach, community led initiatives, enrichment programs for school-aged children, immigration legal assistance and ESL, and long-term wraparound services and supports towards ending multi-generational poverty. We are doing this by leveraging our status as a trusted partner, community advocate, thought leader, and serving as the largest most impactful direct service provider along the Route 1 Corridor. Through a collective impact model of systems change, we are convening and collaborating with a broad network of stakeholders who share our aspiration of ending multi-generational poverty. These stakeholders include community organizations, non-profits, government entities, faith-based, businesses, and educational institutions that operate within the Route 1 Corridor. Most importantly, they include members of the communities who are most directly impacted by racial and social inequity. We believe voices of those closest to the problems -- the community -- are essential to identifying and starting to shift the structural barriers to equity.

As the anchor agency in the southeast Fairfax region, we are developing the strategic direction to accomplish the goals of this aspiration, working alongside Fairfax County government, which has been a partner in our racial and social equity work since 2018. Our strategic priorities in doing so are to develop a community where:

1) Residents feel physically and emotionally safe at home, school and work;
2) All people are empowered to contribute to the economy and share in its benefits;
3) Youth are prepared for future opportunities through access to educational and developmental programs;
4) Everyone has access to open spaces that foster safe, enjoyable and accessible living experiences, and
5) All people can attain their highest level of health and well-being.

United Community has 18 board members acting on seven different committees to address finances, governance, development, and other organizational concerns. In July 2022 we will be adopting a 1-year strategic plan focused on United Community's core values of: Accountability; Collaboration; Empathy; Integrity and Unity. Our strategic advantages are based on our stability and longevity supported by donors volunteers, government contracts and rooted relationships within our community, our experience and expertise in our respective fields, our public and private partnerships and our ability to demonstrate meaningful impact. Our FY23 priorities will focus on: creating a culture that reflects our values; equity; and integrating a collective impact approach within each of our programs.

United Community is led by a dynamic and passionate Board of Directors, talented and over 60 dedicated staff, and is supported by over 800 loyal volunteers. For 53 years, United Community has served our community by empowering adults, children and families to transform their lives. United Community is a comprehensive human services agency in Northern Virginia. In FY21 we served approximately 21,300 clients and their families. Our reach more than doubled our annual average due to COVID and the dramatic increase in need. United Community works to build strong communities with residents, neighborhood ambassadors, volunteers, donors, and 75+ partner organizations to break down barriers and promote equitable access to education, and economic opportunities.

Our greatest accomplishment in recent history has been our ability to pivot our work during the pandemic and respond to an over 300% increase in demand for services, most urgent of which was food during the height of lockdown. All the while we maintained our operations of emergency services, even when other non-profits were sadly closing their doors. United Community’s mission is to empower our neighbors to transform their lives. In FY21, we reached approximately 21,300 participants in FY21, (a 100% increase due to COVID), encouraging and connecting people to access health and emergency resources along with safe spaces to create equitable human-centered opportunities to address needs while working to end poverty, not serve it. United Community is now at an inflection point where there is no going back - only forward. We are re-evaluating and aligning our programs and services to provide the necessary support and resources for individuals and communities to build wealth, create new or expanded partnerships like never before and invest in tools, talents and resources to guide us to make real and lasting change. We believe our community members have the abilities and desires to BE the change they seek. Our work in collective impact elevates the voice of community members to be in position to lead real systems change. While we continue to respond to the urgent needs of food, rental, utility and medical assistance we are also advancing our work in early education, youth enrichment programming, adult immigration and literacy, and wraparound case management services along with a myriad of partnership supports working together to end multi-generational poverty.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

United Community
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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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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

United Community

Board of directors
as of 12/29/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Thomas Curcio

Attorney, Curcio Law

Term: 2016 - 2022

Janet Heddesheimer

Suzy Coffey

Personal Trainer

Elin Bohn

Eric C. Johnson

Joyce Williams

Armooh-Williams PLLC

Stephanie Castor

DHS/TSA

Craig A. Oldham

Mahdlo, LLC

James Turner

The Law Offices of James D. Turner

Gail Clarke

Booz Allen Hamilton

Garrett McGuire

AT&T

Lisa Jones

Fairfax County Dept. of Family Services

Nathaniel Wilson

Webster University

Heidi Parsont

Torchlight Hire, LLC

Kenneth Disselkoen

Alison Farmer

Executive Coach & Facilitator

Trish Fowler

Rosemary Gutierrez

Director of Government Affairs, Humana

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 6/7/2022

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/03/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.