Lifelong Muncie resident and community warrior David Heeter stands behind United Way of Delaware County because he knows it makes the kind of difference that changes lives. He's seen it first-hand.
Heeter is president and CEO of Muncie-based MutualFirst Financial and CEO of MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution since 1889, now with more than $1.5 billion in assets. He says that he and his company view banking as an opportunity to lead people who want to help their neighbors live better lives–much like United Way.
“I have been blessed with much,” Heeter said. “I also work for a company that believes we all have a responsibility to participate in activities that make our community better. We can make a difference by providing young people with opportunities they need to be successful.”
Heeter, a graduate of Ball State University with degrees in finance and management, was a United Way of Delaware County campaign chair himself in 2006. He currently sits on the Ball State University Foundation Board, the Ball State University Miller College of Business Executive Advisory Board, and the Cardinal Varsity Club Board.
When Heeter heard this year's campaign was aiming to reach new generations to support United Way of Delaware County, he wanted to help.
“We need the support of younger generations to keep our community thriving,” he said. “That means we need to engage future leaders who can help us create opportunities for growth and prosperity. Whatever we can do to harness their passion counts as important work.”
To conquer generational poverty, United Way of Delaware County has adopted the bold goal of all third graders reading at grade level by 2024. When children are reading at grade level by third grade, this accomplishment steers them toward a successful future.
That work is already paying off. Out of 240 communities surveyed by United Way in the last year, Delaware County is one of only 15 showing significant progress in removing generational poverty by raising reading levels for the youth population.
Leading Muncie’s largest community bank has given Heeter a front row seat to many of Delaware County’s most pressing financial challenges. He has helped residents address those issues regularly, giving his time, mind, and treasure to overcome problems accessing resources needed to provide proper education for children.
The next generation of community leaders weighs on Heeter.
“My professional mentor, Donn Roberts, really set the tone for me as far as being purposeful with your time and talent,” he says. “My parents were both educators in the Muncie Community Schools, so I have a passion for education. United Way has given me a channel to focus that energy.”
This year, United Way strives to reach out to more young professionals who are hungry to make an impact and carry on the legacy of giving.