The Power of 1 United in Action | A Reflection from the Chairman of the Board

CAUW is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Ralph Bender is the 2015-2016 Chairman of the Board, and this post is his reflection of the last year and opportunities for the future.

I have been a volunteer with United Way, off and on, for probably 20+ years (with some breaks).  This is my second board rotation.

Moving through the different committees of United Way, I have realized how much work there is to do with so very few people to accomplish the work, and how much the volunteers in company campaigns give - not just terms of dollars, but heart and soul, time and energy.  I think the one thing that stands out the most, is not a matter how far we have come in a short time, but that there is always so much more to do, so many more that need help that we can take care of, and a heightened since of urgency. 

Through a year where there was a significant change in leadership, CEO, VP Marketing, CFO, the staff and volunteers rolled up their sleeves and just never let anything phase them, they just kept on “trucking on”.  We are now a smaller and leaner staff doing more than we did before, a great testament to our volunteers and staff.  Remember, a board chair really just helps keep folks working in tandem, the volunteers and staff are doing all the heavy lifting. 

We face very real challenges in our community in the areas we have chosen for impact.  People are hungry, in need of shelter, too many kids are not entering school ready for kindergarten, are not receiving the attention they need, too many people are not leaving school ready to enter the workforce.  United Way will not fix all of these problems; it is only one of the vehicles working for positive change.  I believe the challenge is to create a sense of urgency and a need for collaboration amongst the citizens/employers in our community to better raise funds to target fixes to these problems.  Government will not provide all the solutions, and if we truly want to see large scale improvement, we as private citizens must find ways to work together and improve our community.  The opportunity is that we have a very caring community.  If we can continue to learn how to leverage our joint resources, while making the community aware of the needs, great things can be accomplished.

Messrs. Lennon and McCartney said it best:  “In the end, the love you take, is equal to the love, you make”.