Advocate for change:

What we’re fighting for and how you can help

Being plugged in to government on all levels is second nature to Liz McQuillen, Metro United Way’s Chief Policy Officer. She and her small but mighty team work to make the often-complicated world of policymaking accessible to everyone.

From hosting events that educate Metro United Way’s partners on advocacy, to days in Frankfort and Indianapolis speaking with lawmakers, to sending advocacy alerts to activate our network – her effort has led to several big policy wins during this year’s budget session in Kentucky. Wins that will help maximize Metro United Way’s impact as we fight for a brighter future for us all.

In Kentucky, lawmakers passed a historic investment in the state’s child care infrastructure. House Bill 6 will improve child care assistance programs, invest in background checks and further training for providers, and encourage innovation and partnerships to expand access and capacity to child care throughout the state. It also includes dedicated investments to improve preschool quality and access in Louisville through a new initiative called “Thrive by 5” that will ensure every 3- and 4-year old has the opportunity to access early learning.

Other policy wins include expanding access to prenatal care and postpartum mental health supports to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Kentucky, and legislation that encourages local communities to undertake zoning reform to expand where child care providers can operate.

Meanwhile, some of the biggest successes came from what was not passed. A bill that would have banned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and studies at public universities was blocked. And while some legislation threatened to remove thousands of children from Kentucky’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), those efforts failed.

In Indiana, though it was not a budget session, legislators continued to address the state’s child care crisis by streamlining regulations and increasing support for child care providers.

But wins don’t come without missed opportunities. While some of Metro United Way’s key policy priorities did not get traction in this year’s budget session, we have hope for the future.

“Policy is a long game,” McQuillen explained. “We want to make sure we’re bringing attention to the policy issues and potential solutions that improve our communities and make them more equitable.”

Get more details about these wins and missed opportunities by clicking or tapping here.

In order for us to be a powerful voice in Frankfort and Indianapolis, we rely on advocates and partners.

Near the beginning of each state session, the United Way network hosts a Live United Day where people can interact with their lawmakers and make their voice heard. This year, we provided grants so 16 child care providers could join our staff in Frankfort. Live United Days ensure that every state legislator in our service region meets with Metro United Way staff members and advocates. We also advocate at the local level, and national level when needed.

For those who aren’t sure how to get involved, we have begun hosting a free event series: Impact to Advocacy. It provides insight into the world of policymaking and gives constituents the chance to hear from legislators in a small setting where they can ask questions.

If either of those sound interesting, join our advocacy network to help shape the policy that affects us all. Together, we will advocate to create a region where zip code does not define anyone’s outcome.

Sign up now by clicking or tapping here.


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