Jeff Lang remembers sitting in the audience at Cornerstone Center for the Arts for last year’s wrap-up rally of the 2017 fundraising campaign for United Way of Delaware County.
Casey Stanley, known for the production value he brings to any stage, used a drum roll to announce that the campaign had exceeded the goal but not his expectations. Lang remembers thinking to himself, “Boy, I wouldn’t want to be the campaign chair that follows that guy.”
But life has a way of putting you where you need to be when you’re needed most.
Lang, a longtime Delaware County resident, is the 2018 Campaign Chair for the United Way of Delaware County. Lang stepped in after Ball State University Miller College of Business Dean Jennifer Bott, who had accepted the role last year, left for a job at Western Michigan University.
Lang follows Stanley, who helped raise nearly $1.5 million in the 2017 Campaign.
“There’s so much momentum we can build upon,” said Lang, newly retired as Chief Financial Officer at the Ball State University Foundation. “Casey, the United Way staff, and the 2017 Campaign Leadership Team put in place a terrific structure to keep things going. Plus, we have the opportunity to expand into some new areas as well. I’m excited!”
Lang is a longtime community leader, heavily connected through his civic engagement. He is a board member and past chair of the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County; a director and treasurer of Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity and formerly director and treasurer of the Maxon Charitable Foundation. He has served as chairman of the board for the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ivy Tech Community College, Region 6; and a former director and treasurer of the Delaware County Advancement Corporation.
United Way may be the community’s single most important fundraising campaign, effecting more organizations and more citizens than all the others combined. Since 1925, the Delaware County community has given more than $275 million, in today’s dollars, to provide a lifeline to its neighbors in need. For families fighting to keep their heads above water – and make a better life for their children, high-quality childcare and preventative healthcare may seem like costly services far out of reach. But with help from donors and 29 strategically funded local programs, these families will be provided with the resources they need to ensure rich learning environments, daily meals, and adequate healthcare for themselves and their children.
According to UWDC, nearly half of the county’s households are either living in poverty or are one unplanned financial event away from it. This year’s campaign follows the momentum of campaigns before it to provide a wide variety of resources to working families. Early childhood education remains the principal goal of UWDC, which translates into future economic growth and a strong workforce.
“We made great strides last year,” Lang said, “but the significant work remains ahead.”
While raising dollars, UWDC also is identifying the next generation of community philanthropists, said Jenni Marsh, CEO of United Way of Delaware County. “We had nearly 3,200 individual donors last year and a total of 89 companies, businesses, schools, institutions and nonprofits ran campaigns or made a corporate gift.
“I am grateful to Jeff and our Campaign Leadership Team who will use their time and talents to help us stand up and combat barriers contributing to generational poverty,” she said. “They understand that UWDC is working to put children and families on a pathway out of poverty. To tackle something so big and important, we need our entire community’s support.”