Skip to main content

United Way ALICE Project

Who is ALICE?

To achieve lasting change, we must first understand the population of families that are working hard but falling short in our community. This is why we partnered with the United Way ALICE Project to better understand this challenged and often overlooked population, while obtaining data that will allow us to promote a stronger and more resilient Frederick.
Conducted by Rutgers University-Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, the United Way ALICE Project shines a spotlight on a large population of residents who are employed, yet have little or no savings. The population identified as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) is comprised of people who earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but can barely cover the basics: housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation. They are often one emergency — such as a major car repair or a medical bill — from falling into poverty. 
The ALICE population works in jobs that are integral to our community, from child care educators and home health aides to mechanics. These are all workers we rely on each day. The future success of our community is directly tied to the financial stability of ALICE households. When they suffer and are forced to make difficult choices, we all face serious consequences.

Why does the ALICE Report matter?

The United Way ALICE Report includes a series of new, standardized measurements that quantify who in Maryland's workforce is struggling financially, and why. These measurements provide a broader picture of financial insecurity than traditional federal poverty guidelines, and provides invaluable insight regarding how we can better promote policies and programs that benefit everyone.
The report establishes an income threshold based on a Household Survival Budget (a monthly budget to meet basic needs) per county. It also outlines the role of ALICE households in the state economy, the public resources spent on households in crisis, and the implications of struggling households for the wider community. It further offers short-, medium- and long-term strategies that would make a lasting impact on the ALICE population.
Click below to view or download the full report and a multi-state comparison.

ALICE in Frederick County

Population: 243,675 | Number of Households: 89,084
Median Household Income: $84,203 (state average: $73,971)
Unemployment Rate: 5% (state average: 7.2%)
Gini Coefficient (zero = equality; one = inequality): 0.39 (state average: 0.45)

How many households are struggling?

ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, are households that earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county.
Combined, the number of poverty and ALICE households equals the total population struggling to afford basic needs.

What are the economic conditions?

The Economic Viability Dashboard evaluates community conditions for ALICE in three core areas. Each is an index with a scale of 1 (worst) to 100 (best).




poor (38)

good (59)

good (63)

What does it cost to afford the basic necessities?

This bare-minimum budget does not allow for any savings, leaving a household vulnerable to unexpected expenses. Affording only a very modest living in each community, this budget is still significantly more than the 2014 U.S. poverty rate of $11,670 for a single adult and $23,850 for a family of four.

Click here to view a PDF of the Household Survival Budget and the Household Stability Budget for Frederick County. 

Click here to view the Household Survival Budget and the Household Stability Budget for each county in Maryland.

What is United Way doing to help?

The report underscores United Way’s mission of bringing people and institutions together to collectively build a strong, viable community. We focus on strengthening the education, financial stability, and health of our community because we know that children do better in school and in life when they have access to quality education; people are more financially secure when they have the skill set to land and keep good jobs, and have access to affordable, quality health care.

Whether it's through our Prosperity Savings Accounts program, free tax preparation, budget coaching, or financial education, our Prosperity Center helps families and individuals obtain the knowledge and resources they need to achieve financial stability. 

Through our grants, we have invested $256,338 in programs and organizations that help children, adults and families thrive. And that's our investment in FY 2015-16 alone.

We also collaborate with business, government and community groups to identify and advocate for solutions that address underlying issues that negatively impact our community, and especially ALICE families.

Need help?

Click here for a list of community resources and programs that could be of help to you or someone you know.

Media Coverage

Click to watch Malcolm Furgol, director of community impact, speak about the ALICE Report with Jordan Lindsay of WHAG.

The Frederick News-Post -

Click to read this article about the ALICE Report and the Prosperity Center. This piece, authored by Nancy Lavin, was featured on the front page of the January 14th issue of The Frederick News-Post.

Click to read this article about the ALICE report and its connection to adressing and understanding ACEs' (Adverse Childhood Experiences) impact on county residents. This piece, authored by Kate Masters, as featured in the April 29th issue of The Frederick News-Post

Click to read this article about the scarcity of public transportation and how this translates to ACEs' impact on county residents. This piece, authored by Nancy Lavin, was posted on August 26th on The Frederick News-Post website.

Click to read this article about the successful food bank program run by Frederick Rescue Mission. This piece, authored by Nancy Lavin, debuted on August 23rd on The Frederick News-Post website.

Click to read this article about the success of United Way's nonprofit collaboration The Unity Campaign. This piece, authored by Nancy Lavin, debuted on August 23rd on The Frederick News-Post website.

Comcast Newsmakers -
Click to watch Malcolm Furgol speak about the ALICE Report on this Comcast Newsmakers segment.

For Members of the Media

Maryland ALICE® Report Release Media Webinar

The media webinar took place on Monday, January 2016 at 11 am. Click here to view the recording, and here to view or download the slide deck.