When you think of California, agriculture might not be the first word that comes to mind, but the Central Valley is known for agriculture and our investment into farmland. California produces 13% of the United States’ food source and is the highest Ag producing state. Unfortunately, the same people who pick our food fall between the cracks and don't always have access to the resources they need.
That's where The Yield comes in.
The Yield comes from the Valley's agriculture background. The idea is you yield the time and energy that you put into your crop. You cannot just throw seeds around and hope that they will grow. As a community, we need to tend to the soil and water the seeds in order to yield the best crop. It is our social responsibility to make sure that we don't just put a band-aid on the situation but attempt to turn the situation around.
The Yield is a unique, multi-year investment to United Way Fresno and Madera Counties only. This program does more than just address the basic need such as food and housing to the community, they work one-on-one families where they address the issue and come up with solutions that completely change the situation. This work can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months.
When The Yield steps up to help a family who comes in, they do not just give them emergency food or shelter. While those are needed resources, they want to see how they can start the process so that the family won’t have to worry about the same issue next month. These resources can range from job placement, financial coaching, and health issues. United Way is there to get them lasting results. They don’t just focus on the problem, but they focus on the whole person.
Part of the Yield is coordinating and integrating systems and services in order to provide families with a much-needed deeper level of individual support.
Though Huron, Mendota, and Madera might be experiencing some of the same issues, the way they approach issues and solve them are completely different. The idea of Prosperity center focuses on Hubs. These Hubs can be run by schools, community-based, and health care organizations, university, housing authorities, workforce centers, and so on. The key is for the community to invest in themselves and to educate what services are available. In this case, United Way is not the main service provider, but we act as a broker. Identifying needs, finding resources, and making connections.
The Yield in Action
One example of this model is our “More Than Back Pack” program. United Way, in partnership with Fresno State University, provides more than a backpack and school supplies. United Way and Fresno State are investing in the students and walking alongside parents to get their child college ready.