Testimonies to UWRA's VALUE ADD

Based on UWRA’s work as we look to the future …….will more UW staff plan effectively for their retirement years, will more UWs have viable planned giving programs, will more UW staff have access to an qualified mentor, will more UW retirees/alumni stay connected with each other and the UW mission, will the history of UW be preserved for future generations of service leaders, will more UWs be linked with needed interim assistance, will more people get the help they need and communities be made stronger…..We believe the answer is Yes!!

Testimonies…. samples provided below:


As they say, “The Proof is in the Pudding”. Just a few of the many appreciative local United Ways who have let UWRA know what an impact was made on their community by your UWRA Service Corps.

Preservation of History….Global Vision and Local Action published in 2009 reports the history of United Way International from its incorporation in 1974 through its staff integration with United Way Worldwide in 2009.  Grassroots Initiatives Shape an International Movement (2004), documents over 200 local innovations that have come to define local United Way programs since 1876. 
In my search for a history of the United Way, I was ecstatic to find” Grassroots Initiatives” by Dick and Mary Lu Aft as this valuable resource not only afforded me with a comprehensive account of the beginnings of the United Way of America, but also provided a rich context for the current transformation of our 1,300 local United Ways into instruments of “community impact” that will assuredly” improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities”. I was so captured by the useful information found within this book and inspired by the passion it stirred within me as I turned the pages, that I ordered 20 copies for our Board of Directors and key supporters. I wrapped a ribbon around each copy and, as I handed them out, I remarked that this gift does come with one “string attached”, YOU HAVETO READ IT! As I rarely endorse books (who am I anyway?), I hope you will consider reading this one, and, if you find that it helps to kindle the fire in your heart for United Way’s mission, and if you discover that it gives you tools to achieve that mission, then by all means recommend to your friends and colleagues.”
Dennis P. Carman, MSW, MAPA, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Plymouth County
History Books are for sale and all proceeds go to United Way Endowment Funds): 
Please click here for ordering information: Grassroots Initiatives Shape an International Movement (the history of United Way since 1876)
Please click here for ordering information: Global Vision and Local Action (the history of United Way International)
Endowment and Planned Giving (EPG) ….. The UWRA EPG program works to increase the number of United Way organizations with viable planned giving programs.  Significant benefits to the United Way include: 1) access to years of experience within United Way that each UWRA volunteer brings to the table; 2) considerable cost savings gained using a program facilitated by experienced volunteers versus an outside consulting firm and 3) increased community awareness of the local United Way and their community impact agenda.   One recipient of UWRA EPG services:
With just a teeny bit of effort…NO PERSONAL CALLS YET…we have received $600,000 in letter of intent promises PLUS, our $300,000 CASH bequest.  That is more than our annual campaign.  Put my picture on the milk carton…I am the poster child for the retiree program and UWW planned giving guide. Julie Capaldi, CEO United Way of Pickens County (Metro VI)
We already wanted to launch a program but it gave us the tools and research to back up what we wanted to do.  Great Experience...we ALL learned alot about our UW's ability to grow an endowment. Thanks. United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area
The opportunity to utilize the expertise of a United Way retiree in the field of Planned Giving is excellent. The Consultant was highly competent in her field and provided the necessary information and direction. Overall the process continues to impress me. I am glad to be involved in this endeavor. United Way of Silicon Valley  
Mentoring/Coaching…. UWRA provides mentoring/coaching to United Way staff who reach out for assitance. 
The program provides an opportunity for shared growth and development of the mentee and mentor. I value my participation in the program. It has been a gift. Thank you! 
I am 6months into my current position and find that reaching out to those experienced or retired from United Way extremely helpful. It's a great opportunity to ask questions without fear and ask for advice from someone who’s already walked in your shoes.
I have really enjoyed learning from my mentor, and having a person who can provide an unbiased opinion in regards to my work situation. She has opened my eyes to a network of people and resources in the UWW system.
This program has been a lifesaver!  Had it not been for my mentor, I probably would have been searching for another job.

The Mentoring Program has been very helpful to myself and the board in our transition to becoming a Community Impact United Way.  Even though we are behind in the process, the mentor really helped in clarifying some of the terminology and issues we face. 

Thank you! My mentor is a wonderful person to work with.  It is so helpful for me to have someone who understands UW, is there to support me, doesn’t have any vested interest in local politics (people, agendas, etc.)  who I can freely share concerns with. 

It is a challenge to figure out which “balls” should be in the air, keep those “balls” in the air, and decide which “balls” my predecessor dropped and get them going again.  My mentor helped me decide what’s important – keeping me healthy.  He has great UW system knowledge and tips.  There is just so much to do. 

Please click to read a few articles published in UPDATES on UWRA's Mentoring Impact - 2013 Relationships and articles from a Mentor and Mentee’s perspective.

UWRA will work to fill mentoring requests on an “as needed” basis as described HERE which lists some key services UWRA offers to United Ways or on the Service for United Ways portion of our website. 

Interim Assistance…. For local UWs in need of interim assistance the UWRA listserv (current and retired UW staff) is a valuable resource to reach individuals who can step in and help on an interim basis without a learning curve. 
What do you do when your only fund development professional does not survive your Pacesetter Kick off?  United Way Retirees to the rescue!!  Thanks to Tricia Smith’s rapid response to my desperate email, retired CEO Dale Gray graciously moved to The Woodlands, TX from Arizona on a temporary basis to guide our Metro 3 organization through the 2009 campaign.  Dale’s knowledge and experiences brought the right level of expertise to our LUW when we needed it the most.  He is helping us restructure our annual campaign to develop the depth and institute the best practices we have needed.  The best part has been having someone right here who can share his perspective, wisdom and calming influence on all aspects of our operations.  Thanks, Dale and UWRA!  Julie Martineau, CEO Montgomery County United Way
When Julie Martineau, President of the Montgomery County United Way, asked UWRA for help because she had lost her Director of Development, I was available to provide leadership to their $3.7 million campaign.  Julie is an excellent Executive and it has been an enjoyable experience working with her and her key volunteers.  We are on target to make the goal.  I will be leaving The Woodlands, TX towards the end of March after seven months of an enriched experience. Dale Gray, UWRA Member
Retirement Planning Initiative…. dedicated to issues around retirement planning and living in retirement and geared to encouraging and empowering United Way current and former staff to take responsibility for planning for their retirement and to view it as a lifelong effort. Effort has included two Publications, Website Resources and a Webinar series. A few comments about the Webinars:
Good information. Strongly encourage panels at conferences and state/regional gatherings. People need to interact and network on this important subject.  I appreciated the lessons learned, and the presenters, "learn from my mistakes”.
Great information! The upcoming Webinars look great. Thank you for hosting this and many thanks to the presenters for sharing their stories. I appreciate learning about their pitfalls. It made me feel not quite so dumb!

Outstanding quality, highly relevant. I wish all United Way professionals, both active and retired would view this. I think this could be a good opportunity for United Way volunteer leaders to learn about the issues and develop better policies in this area. Thanks to all the presenters for their time and talent.  

Crisis Response…. UWRA members have stepped in and assisted United Ways when their communities have encountered some type of crisis situation:


At the time that Hurricane Floyd stormed into North Carolina, I had been Executive Director of the Beaufort County United Way for only two month.  I was unaware of your organization or the fact that one of your member, Don Sanders, would come to our aid and provide valuable insight and direction regarding the saving of our ‘99/2000 Campaign. Through one of my many phone calls I made to Jim Morrison, Executive Director of the United Way of North Carolina, I learned that Don Sanders, retiree from Central Carolina United Way in Charlotte, had volunteered to assist us and would be coming here to assess our situation.   Don spent two days here; meeting with me, our campaign chairman and leadership giving committee.  During that time he correctly assessed that our greatest opportunity for this year’s campaign was through leadership giving.  Following his advice, we gave greater emphasis to that category and it showed a 22%increase over last year’s campaign even though all other categories were down 32%from the previous year.  Don also helped us establish our strategy for the next campaign as we laid the groundwork within the leadership giving division.  We are ery grateful to Don and his wife who accompanied him and put his recommendations into printable form.  TO him and to the United Way Retirees Association, a very big Thank you!


During the 1999/2000 campaign, our community suffered the flood of the century.  Additionally, being new to Lenoir County United Way, I entered into this campaign on a learning curve.  With these two factors in place, having Gene Berres’ assistance was so appreciated.  Mr. Berres arrived, observed our situation, then began assisting and offering suggestions to put us back on track,  Mr. Berres wrote his observations and suggestions so that we could refer to them as needed.  With great sincerity, I thank not only Gene, the United Way Retiree Association, for providing help when it was so needed.  Again, thank you for being there when we needed you. 


As a small United Way in a poverty stricken area, we were overwhelmed by this occurrence [flooding disaster in southeastern Kentucky], but thanks to the UWA team, who sent Jim Settle (a retired Executive Director) to help us sort our priorities, survey the situation, and give us some encouragement, we were able to complete the initial phase of the crisis.


The 2004 hurricane season, led by Charlie caused considerable damage to Charlotte County. The United Way office was destroyed, as were the personal residences of the staff. When we did not know where to begin, UWA and the retired United Way executives that came to our community provided a much needed resource. From assisting in disaster relief efforts, contacting partner agencies, relocating the UW office, and organizing a campaign, they provided the much needed support to keep our doors open. During this time, we also utilized a retiree as an interim CPO, while we were conducting a search for a permanent executive. Our board quickly realized that their knowledge of UW, their capacity to implement direction and also blend into our community during these trying times made the difference.