Today is Giving Tuesday, an international day of giving.

Two collaborative partnerships in Orange County, the Family Success Alliance and Making Connections: Orange County Comprehensive Early Childhood Initiative, are encouraging residents to donate to their campaign to help struggling families in the area.

Family Success Alliance communications manager Kristin Prelipp says bringing awareness to local issues is important.

“If you’re somebody who lives in a certain neighborhood and goes to your school and lives in your neighborhood, you may not be aware of the fact that so many people are impoverished,” Prelipp said. “Almost 30 percent of Orange County families do not earn a living wage and statistics show that 75 percent of children born into poverty in Orange County will remain in poverty unless we break the cycle.

“I would just like for people who have lived here for a long time, and who know and love this community as I do, to want everybody to be doing well in the community.”

The agencies have navigators who work personally with all members in the family, adults and children to address issues and reach YES status, which stands for youth success, early childhood success and stable homes.

The Family Success Alliance focuses on the family as a whole, according to Prelipp.

“When they work with a family, they begin by assessing their needs and then helping them to see beyond the immediate needs such as keeping your lights turned on and having enough food, to what are your goals, and kind of open up their eyes to that there are many things you can look forward to in life such as sending your kid off to college.”

Orange County Partnership for Young Children executive director Robin Pulver says Making Connections instead focuses on the early needs of children from prenatal to age eight.

“There are 2,000 days from the time a child is born to kindergarten, and during that time is a period of rapid growth and development – especially with the brain and how it is formed and how it is processed,” Pulver said. “And what we know to be an issue is toxic stress, where a series of adverse childhood experiences has an impact on the way the brain develops. And so we are trying to counteract some of that to mitigate the impact and the adverse kinds of consequences that come out of that.”

United Way of the Greater Triangle vice president of marketing and communications Stacy Shelp said Orange County’s overall key issues revolve around affordable housing and transportation. Shelp added having agencies partner up to address issues has been a success.

“Working collaboratively is absolutely critical to making a difference. We’ve been working independently as non-profit agencies for years and really not seen the needle move on a lot of issues,” Shelp said. “And the past few years we’ve been working collaboratively with partners – we have 17 partnerships around the Triangle that we’re working with – and each one of those collaboratives make a change.”

Other efforts launched for Giving Tuesday in our community include a #TarHealTuesday campaign from UNC Medicine.

The UNC Medicine fundraising effort is focusing on patient care programs, which are designed to “help families cope with the emotional and financial stress experienced” when a family member is sick. Donations to this effort can be made online or individuals can donate in person at Bondurant Hall on the UNC campus from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Individuals who donate online can enter a drawing for a chance to win two tickets to a UNC men’s basketball game, according to a release, and those who donate in person on Tuesday at Bondurant Hall can receive stickers and other gifts.