Public Policy is a significant catalyst for change…it directs funding towards important community health and human service needs that complement the ongoing fundraising and investment efforts of United Way of Ventura County.

United Way of Ventura County volunteers and staff develop a public policy/legislative agenda to provide guidance on a variety of local, state and federal policy issues. We will provide information to legislators and to the public in an effort to increase understanding and awareness of the impact of policy and budget decisions on health and human services in our community.


Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) – Communities are stronger when people are healthy, able to receive a good education, and can get a job that provides for them and their families. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) assists the newly unemployed and working poor from falling into chronic homelessness and food insecurity. Ask your Congress Member to support funding for EFSP at $160 million for FY 2020 by clicking here!

Charitable Deduction – Expanding the charitable tax deduction to include all taxpayers is a matter of fairness. Every individual and family who donates to charities should be given the same opportunity to deduct their donation amount from their taxes. Raise your voice to support efforts to expand charitable giving incentives to millions of Americans. Tell your Congress Member every tax payer should be able to take the charitable deduction by clicking here!

The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit – The EITC and CTC alone lifted 7.9 million Americans out of poverty in 2018. This reinforces the power of the EITC as one of the best tools we have to promote work and fight poverty. Only those who work are eligible, and recipients use the EITC to pay for the basics–like reliable transportation to get to work, groceries, and quality childcare. We can build on the success of EITC by expanding it for workers not raising children at home and young people just starting out. Ask Congress to expand this common sense policy for working Americans who are currently shut out of the credit and taxed into poverty by clicking here!

Advocacy Wins

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) – FY20 will provide $25 million (the amount we advocated for!) for the VITA program, a $7 million increase over last year’s funding! The increase will provide more hardworking families free, high-quality tax preparation and filing services. 


Tier 1:

LEADERSHIP: UWVC will assume a high level leadership role – educating legislators and bringing visibility to a specific policy position. Volunteers & staff will be actively involved and additional financial support may be necessary for ongoing research, advocacy and partnership mobilization efforts.


Health insurance coverage is vital to our children, their families and our economy. Healthy kids attend school, learn and become viable workers in the future.  We will focus not only on efforts to expand coverage to all children, but work to prevent the numbers of uninsured children from rising.


United Way is committed to making 2-1-1 available to all California residents through its partnership with 2-1-1CA.  Working together, we will ensure families and individuals in need are connected to the building blocks for a good life: education, financial stability, and health.


The Children’s Health Insurance Program is a proven, bipartisan program helps ensure California’s kids have access to comprehensive health coverage.


Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, volunteers become IRS-certified tax preparers and provide assistance to qualifying individuals and families by preparing and e-filing federal and state tax returns at not charge.


Expansion of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, CalEITC, for working low- and middle-income families, would  increase disposable income for those families and, according to research on similar programs in other states, would also produce various long-term benefits such as more money for childcare or reliable transportation, contributing to a stronger workforce.


Advocating for policy change to address issues of oral health care access and utilization for children.


Across California, United Ways are addressing issues of Housing and Homelessness through public policy, coalition building and direct services.  UWVC will support local, state and federal policy initiatives to address the need to increase housing opportunities for our county’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

Tier 2:

ADVOCACY: UWVC will help educate the community on an issue and will take a clear position on this issue. Key United Way volunteers and staff will be active on an as-needed basis.

Education: Helping children and youth achieve their potential

In partnership with United Way Worldwide and United Ways of California, UWVC will support federal and state policy initiatives aimed at increasing student achievement from early childhood education through high school graduation so they are college and workforce ready.  

Income: Promoting financial stability and independence

All Californians should have opportunities to increase income, build savings and grow assets. There are many state and federal government programs intended to help families achieve financial stability; however, existing pro­grams may be under-funded or need reform.  Policies that promote family self-sufficiency are integral to achieving our goal of reducing the number of lower-income families who are financially unstable.

Tier 3:

SUPPORT: UWVC will lend its name and reputation to a policy issue. Staff and volunteers will monitor and respond to requests for support through such vehicles as signing on to letters. UWVC will support the work of coalition partners. No additional monies are likely to be necessary.


The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) began in 1983 with a $50 million federal appropriation. The program was created by Congress in response to the economic recession at the time to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people throughout the United States and its territories by allocating federal funds for the provision of food and shelter.


Charitable giving is critically important in enabling local communities to meet local needs. The charitable deduction is a nearly century-old tradition and reflection of American values and our commitment to helping our neighbors. Congress should protect the full value and scope of the charitable deduction and expand incentives to give by making charitable deduction available to all taxpayers.


Get involved: You can become an advocate for United Way of Ventura County regarding health, financial stability and education in any of the following ways

Respond to Calls to Action

Through district and Capitol legislator advocacy and education

Tell your story. Do you have personal experience of being positively impacted by one of the items we advocate for? Nothing is more powerful than putting a face on an issue.

Social Media: Take to social media to educate your network about issues that may affect them. Participate in sending out our monthly social media messages to your network. 

To find out more information about becoming an advocate, contact Jennifer Herrera at 805-479-9873 or