From the CEO and Board Chair
Every now and then we hear stories from our members that really inspire us. One of those stories comes from Carema in Detroit.
Carema walks the talk when it comes to supporting her community. She’s a true example of what it looks like when we care for the people around us. Instead of waiting on others to step up, she looked around, saw a simple way to help and took action. How? By making baggies with essential items like food, toothbrushes and socks and keeping them in her car just in case she runs into someone who might need them.
“Some people admire athletes and celebrities but I admire people that are like ‘we have extra food and we’re going to give it to people in [our] community.’ Those are my heroes that inspire me,” she shared.
Sadly, last September, Carema lost her brother. She used some of her UpTogether funds to help pay for his funeral. Even in her grief—with her brother being the third person she lost recently—she’s kept her focus on others. She’s now in the process of becoming a health coach to prevent others from experiencing the health challenges her brother, father and friend faced. She told us if she can change someone else’s life, her loved ones wouldn’t have died in vain.
While Carema is a one-of-a-kind individual experiencing her own life journey, her story is not unique. There are millions of others just like her across the country who not only work hard for their family but are also intentional about helping others in their community, even people they may not know. Their stories often go untold because of who they are and where they live.
We think about all of their stories and we’re inspired. We’re inspired to continue to trust and invest in families, knowing it creates a ripple effect that also improves the lives of those around them. And we’re also inspired to tell their stories so we can change the false narrative about people who live in financially under-resourced neighborhoods. We’re also challenged. Challenged to do much, much more to shift the systems that make it harder for Carema and others to achieve, and sustain, socioeconomic mobility.
This impact report is a deep dive into what our members were able to do in 2021 with their unrestricted cash investments, resources and support from other UpTogether Community members. We’ve learned so much from them and we’re proud of what they’ve accomplished. Our hope is that this report provides evidence that will move us one step closer to our bold goal: State and federal government adoption of our strength-based approach of cash, community and choice as the best tool to make a real impact against poverty.
Thank you for your continued support of our mission. Together, with our members, we will advance policies and change narratives so Carema, and everyone in the country, are seen and invested in for their strengths and are able to build their social and financial assets.
UpTogether Board Chair