Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meet Mike Williams

Mike Williams is United Way of Northwest Arkansas' Vice President of Resource Development. Originally from the great state of Tennessee, Mike has been leading our campaign with dedication and excellence for three months now. Read his LIVE UNITED story below.

My LIVE UNITED story began in the summer of 2005 when I served as a Loaned Executive for my local United Way. Like many, I had heard of United Way but no one ever took the time to explain to me how United Way helped people. So, I never gave. After visiting agencies that worked with children infected or affected by AIDS and several others, I quickly saw the need and how gifts to United Way were helping people. I had to give and quickly stepped up to become a Leadership Pillar giver. That wasn’t enough for me though. I wanted to do more. So I began to tell my friends about United Way. Some of us even volunteered our time to some of the non-profits supported by United Way.

Shortly after my experience as a Loaned Executive, I got an entry-level fundraising job at my local United Way. Fundraising was something I had done on a small scale in school, but nothing like what I was getting ready to face. I learned that like me, many people don’t give to United Way because they don’t understand how United Way is improving our communities. Before working for United Way, I had never heard that they support non-profits all across our area to provide better Education, Income and Health to those in need. (My family relied on several of these when I was growing up!) I didn’t know that United Way was strategically partnering with organizations like the IRS to educate low-income families about the Earned Income Tax Credit that could place up to $4,000 in their hands. I had never seen the Gifts In-Kind Warehouse that takes slightly damaged non-perishable goods normally discarded by manufacturers or retailers and gives them to non-profits to provide to those less fortunate than me. I had no clue that United Way was giving a second chance to families that had lost all hope by connecting them with much needed resources through the 2-1-1 referral hot-line.

Most people do not give because they don’t know what the organization is all about or they were never asked. People want to help out, most just aren’t sure where to start. One of the easiest places to get started is with United Way. There are 3 ways you can make an impact on Northwest Arkansas.

GIVE – Make a donation to support our network of non-profit partners that are making a BIG impact here. Your gift stays here and supports our neighbors who need it most!

ADVOCATE – Tell someone else about United Way. Write a blog, post a Facebook status, or link us in a tweet.

– Lend an hour, change a life. There are many opportunities all across NWA to give your most precious resource, time, to make a difference.

That’s my LIVE UNITED story. What’s yours? Tell us your story of how you LIVE UNITED and we may feature it in a future blog!

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