Inspiring Action through UWASC Public Policy Day

 Advocating for change in our local community 

UWASC meets with legislature in a room at the state house, the group sits lecture hall style

By Michelle Bornfleth, Trident United Way Associate Director of Community Investments

What is Public Policy Day and why is it important?

UWASC group standing outside the state capital

Every year United Way Association of South Carolina (UWASC) hosts a Public Policy Day for local United Ways around South Carolina to visit the statehouse, meet with legislators and discuss the most pressing issues facing our communities / the state. South Carolina United Ways are a network of 25 local United Ways advocating for policies that will ensure the stability, security and growth of our communities through improved access to education resources and learning opportunities, pathways to sustained financial stability, and opportunities to improve health outcomes. Trident United Way is a member of the statewide association and joins with the collective voice of the United Way brand to support valuable legislation and policies that improve the communities we serve.

The day started with a morning session of conversations with Legislators, followed by a legislative luncheon and ended with office visits and committee meetings. The conversations with Legislators featured our very own Representative Marvin Pendarvis (Charleston & Dorchester Counties), as well as Representative Brian White (Anderson County) and Senator Katrina Shealy (Lexington County). Topics discussed included affordable housing, broadband, children’s mental health, and food insecurity.

Financial literacy was also a topic of discussion throughout the day. Learn more about why financial literacy matters in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties. 

Advocacy and Policy Change is about Relationships

While influencing policy change may appear complex and complicated, the real work is driven by and through relationships. Advocating for policies that ensure stability and access to needed resources, requires connection and relationships with our policymakers. Local United Ways represent their service area in a unique way by advocating for individuals, families, communities and partner organizations. Through the United Way network we connect with our leaders to influence and advocate for important community issues. 

Trident United Way VP of Community Impact Amanda Lawrence, Representative Marvin Pendarvis, Trident United Way President & CEO Chloe Knight Tonney

Members of the Trident United Way team had the opportunity to meet and have conversations with Representative Gil Gatch (Charleston & Dorchester Counties), Representative Mark Smith (Berkeley & Charleston Counties), Representative Marvin Pendarvis (Charleston & Dorchester Counties) and Representative Sylleste Davis (Berkeley County). We are grateful for their commitment to the Tri-County and the issues they are spearheading and leading. 

Interested in finding out who your senator or representative is? Click here to find your legislator and how to contact them. 
A big thank you to United Way Association of South Carolina for hosting a valuable and productive day in Columbia. Click here to learn more about Trident United Way’s efforts in Public Policy and advocacy priority areas.