Friday, August 15, 2008

Busy Times at United Way

It's been a while since we last updated on what is going on here at United Way. But I can assure you that it's been a whirlwind of activity and only now are we starting to catch our breath.

To start with we invited volunteers who will serve as part of the United Way's Speakers Bureau to a training in order to educate them on the new Live United movement, and how to speak, not only about United Way, but to incorporate their own Live United story.

Melanie Arterbury from Arterbury Consulting & Training took the volunteers through an invaluable session about giving powerful presentations. It was definitely the highlight of the training session, and an additional benefit to the volunteers because they can utilize the key points Melanie shared in their professional lives as well.

Then on August 6 we had a great Young Leaders meeting presented by IO Metro at Arvest Ballpark where the topic was corporate responsibility. The Young Leaders in attendance heard from Miguel Rivera from Wal-Mart's General Counsel talking about Wal-Mart's responsibility towards environmental sustainability. He talked in length about their efforts and the ways that they are truly making a difference in their efforts.

Lennon Patton, with Jason's Deli also spoke about how Jason's Deli is committed to bringing healthy foods and sustainable stores where ever they go, including their newest store in Fayetteville.

Finally Eric Edelstien, General Manager for the NWA Naturals spoke about how they are able to utilize the new ballpark and their exposure to help non-profits raise money through various avenues such as promotional revenues like Launch-a-Ball and percent of ticket sales to partnering organizations.

It was a great learning opportunity that was only offered to Young Leaders, and we encourage you to learn more about our Young Leaders program so that you can be included in these sesssions in the future.

The next day we followed up the meeting of Young Leaders with a training session for the 2009 Campaign leadership. The training was held at Fast Lane Entertainment in Lowell which has a wonderful meeting facility that gave the meeting a fun, relaxed environment that we hope got the campaign volunteers geared up for the year's campaign.

These volunteers have a huge task ahead of them over the next few months as they go forward, not only to raise funds, but to raise awareness about our Live United movement. It's not a small task because we are asking them to convince a community that by working together by giving, advocating and volunteering we can create a stronger Northwest Arkansas for, not just the neediest in our community, but for us all.

Finally, on August 14 we officially kicked off the 2009 Campaign at Razorback Stadium. The turn out was amazing, and reminded us here at United Way how really lucky we are to have so many people that care about the condition of their community, and how they can be a part of making it better.

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long was the featured guest speaker and he spoke about building a winning team. As many of the U of A faithful will know, Long has been working to build a winning athletic department since his arrival just a few months ago. The insight from his past experience of building other winning teams, as well as the process of building the Razorback athletic department is a great example of how the United Way is working to build a winning team for our community.

But unlike the athletic teams at the U of A, it doesn't take amazing athletic talent to be a part of the United Way's team, it only takes an outstanding commitment to the betterment of our community through long-lasting changes.

Also, as part of the event, the United Way received a gift of $31,000 from Raymond James & Associates towards a homeless initiative for Northwest Arkansas. The United Way will match that gift making the total investment in the homeless initiative $62,000. We are still in the process of determining the parameters for this investment and hope to bring you more information soon.

Check out the story on Fox 24 about our kickoff.

Now we are moving into our busy campaign timeframe, and we are hoping to bring you great stories of how companies and individuals are Living United through giving, advocating and volunteering, but we want to hear from you, too. So make sure and submit your Live United story so that we can share your story with the community.

No comments: