Employees and volunteers of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, along with 39 other United Ways across the state of Tennessee, gathered in Nashville recently for its annual "Hill Day" to support preservation of funding for pre-kindergarten classrooms.
UWTN Board Chair Lester Lattany, First Lady Crissy Haslam and Kathleen Murphy from National Health Mothers, Healthy Babies, this year’s UWTN Advocacy Leadership Award winner for text4baby.
“The chance to have a presence in our state’s capitol and discuss topics such as pre-k funding with legislators provides a unique opportunity to our United Way,” said Meagan Flippin, President and CEO of the local organization. “One of United Way’s three action areas is that of advocacy, so the Hill Day provides a time to advocate for issues that will benefit our community through enhancing the quality of life.”
Pre-K program funding was a top issue for the day. “While we were grateful that Pre-K classrooms received full funding in the Governor’s budget, we need to stay vigilant in tough economic times,” said Lester Lattany, Board Chair of United Ways of Tennessee (UWTN). “Every $1 spent on Pre-K saves taxpayers $7 by reducing the need for special education, welfare and criminal justice services, and we’re only serving a third of at-risk children now.”
First Lady Crissy Haslam presented this year’s UWTN Advocacy Leadership Award to National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition’s (HMHB) text4baby program. “UWTN is partnering with HMHB to increase Tennesseans’ access to this free program,” said Mary Graham, President of United Ways of Tennessee. “With text4baby, we can provide pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life.”
For more information about giving, advocating or volunteering with United Way, visit www.uwrutherford.org or www.uwtn.org.