Farewell 2019 and the decade you take with you. You have been the decade of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE is our friends and family who are working hard but not able to make ends meet.
As this decade began, United Way of Treasure Valley and most of our community leaders were focused on putting the Great Recession behind us. We issued a collective sigh of relief; said ‘good riddance’ to the economic stress and damage of the Great Recession and looked forward to better economic times in the new decade. And for many in Idaho, this decade has indeed been one of boom. We have collected more headlines and national attention for our growth than at any other time. Idaho is officially on the map.
However, while the headlines shout out our growth, more than 40% of Idahoans are trying desperately to hang on. Idaho’s Federal Poverty numbers have remained relatively unchanged while the numbers of individuals who are employed, but not able to meet a basic survival budget where they live is growing year to year. Realizing the post-Great Recession realities, United Way has taken the lead in gathering Idaho data and attention in support of ALICE. We call Idaho’s hard working but struggling families ALICE as a term of respect and acknowledgement of their value and contributions.
This past decade has shown us that Idaho runs on ALICE. ALICE are our teachers, health care and child care workers, manufacturing and hospitality workers and serve us every day in every way as we go about our holiday activities. ALICE is making your coffee, ringing up your holiday purchases, delivering your holiday packages, baking and making your holiday trays of treats and goodies, and providing you a ride home from holiday celebrations.
ALICE deserves our attention and our support. Because when ALICE struggles, Idaho’s neighborhoods and communities will struggle.
In the new decade, United Way of Treasure Valley is committed to raising the volume and resources to help ALICE become stable and ultimately achieve all she is capable of achieving. We recognize that solutions are here, today. It just takes a community of talented passionate people from every layer of our beautiful Idaho cities who are willing to step forward and become part of the connected community of ‘passionistas’ working to lift up those who work so hard for us.
It takes a community to change the odds for children and families in Treasure Valley. United Way of Treasure Valley is leading the way. Join us in the new decade.
Nora Carpenter & the United Way of Treasure Valley Staff