SunTrust Foundation Awards UWNCA with $250K to Support Region’s First Financial Empowerment Center

Largest, Single Market Grant Will Help National Capital Community Residents Receive Critical Financial Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), the region’s preeminent convener, collaborator and catalyst for social change throughout the National Capital Community, announced that it has been awarded a $250,000 grant by the SunTrust Foundation to help D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area residents access critical financial services, counsel and support.

The award is the largest single grant awarded by the SunTrust Foundation to a single market and will go toward supporting United Way NCA’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) located at Prince George’s Community College Largo Campus.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the SunTrust Foundation in partnering with us to help deliver critical financial services to thousands of our neighbors in communities throughout the metro area,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO, United Way NCA.  “This grant will allow us to offer even more low and moderate income individuals an opportunity to access free financial assistance ranging from one-on-one financial coaching to free tax preparations through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and credit counseling.  Through community partnerships such as this supportive grant awarded by the SunTrust Foundation, we will be able to put families and individuals throughout our area on track to achieve financial stability and independence around the region.”

The FEC at Prince George’s Community College is the first of several Financial Empowerment Centers United Way NCA plans to open across the region as part of a financial stability goal to help provide 100,000 residents over the next five years with services that remove barriers to financial independence and affordable housing.   These funds will help support critical programs at the FEC, such as credit counseling, budget management, housing counseling, financial workshops and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). The VITA program provides low to moderate-income families throughout the region access to free tax preparation assistance to file their tax returns, maximize their available tax refunds, and gain access to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Last year United Way NCA’s VITA program put $19M back in the pockets of residents throughout the region by accessing the EITC. The program is regarded as an important tool in lifting people out of poverty. Through the VITA program, United Way NCA is working to ensure all of our residents have access to free, professional and accurate tax preparation.

“Helping build strong communities is a fundamental part of our organization, and we are honored to partner with United Way NCA to help fund the Financial Empowerment Center,” said Dan O’Neill, president and CEO of SunTrust Bank’s Greater Washington and Maryland division. “The center will be a great resource for thousands of community members as we all work together to help people move from financial stress to financial confidence.”

Throughout the metro area, approximately 260,000 residents belong to a household that is “unbanked,” which means they are not connected with traditional banking services.  These families and individuals often work or have work histories but are still unable to make ends meet and may be utilizing predatory payday loans, check cashing stores or pawnshops as their primary way of gaining access to cash.  Due to these circumstances, they are oftentimes unable to weather an emergency without falling deeper into poverty.

United Way NCA’s FEC located at Prince George’s Community College provides them with resources and counseling to help put these individuals on sound financial footing.  To help families break the cycle of poverty, the FEC offers free services to help people create a household budget, manage debt and save for the future.

L-R: United Way NCA president and CEO, Rosie Allen-Herring, joined by Dr. Charlene M. Dukes, president, Prince George’s Community College were awarded SunTrust Foundation’s largest, single market grant by Daniel O’Neill, president and CEO of SunTrust Banks Greater Washington and Maryland division.

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About United Way of the National Capital Area
Focusing on the critical areas of education, financial stability and health, United Way of the National Capital Area works to build a thriving community by addressing our region’s most pressing challenges. United Way NCA has been improving lives by creating measurable impact in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties for more than 40 years.

United Way NCA is rated Gold-level with GuideStar, the world’s largest source of non-profit information that advances transparency and enables users to make better charitable giving decisions.

For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit UnitedWayNCA.org.

About SunTrust Foundation
The SunTrust Foundation is dedicated to the company’s purpose of Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being by engaging organizations to advance financial confidence. Grants and activities focus primarily on financial empowerment, but also include education, health and human services, civic improvement and cultural growth. The SunTrust Foundation supports American Red Cross disaster relief efforts and contributes as a United Way Global Corporate Leader. Established in 2008, the SunTrust Foundation has proudly provided grants totaling more than $100 million throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.