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.
We know that, alone, we cannot end generational poverty. But together, United, we can change this community forever. This week, we made a final ask to the community to rally behind UWDC’s 2017 campaign and give to our Day of Giving—and you answered the call.
Like many of you, I gave thanks last month. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a reason to be thankful. Today, I’m grateful for Muncie’s Collective Coalition of Concerned Clergy, which is asking its congregations to donate to United Way of Delaware County this weekend to help end generational poverty.
Since 1978, United Way has been a part of the history and culture of Muncie Power Products. Through financial and volunteer support, the company has proudly supported United Way of Delaware County through each campaign ever since.
For generations, MutualBank’s dedicated staff has supported United Way of Delaware County. MutualBank’s current CEO, Dave Heeter, was United Way’s 2006 campaign chair, and the company’s president and COO, Pat Botts, was a board member and currently serves on the finance committee. In addition, MutualBank’s senior vice president, Chris Caldwell, was UWDC’s campaign chair in 2013 and serves on the board of directors today.
For more than 15 years, Jennifer Stanley spent time on the road singing, writing music, and sharing her voice with others from the stage. However, her heart never left the city she’s called home her whole life. Now, firmly planted in Muncie with a young family, she’s giving back again as part of United Way of Delaware County’s 2017 Campaign leadership team.
For decades, Boyce Systems has focused its philanthropic efforts on United Way of Delaware County, and the company’s employees have always gone above and beyond in their participation. Each year, more than 80% of Boyce’s employees have participated in charitable giving, with up to 96% participation in recent years.
For WaTasha Barnes, Executive Director of the YWCA of Muncie, United Way is personal.
"As an advocate, community leader, and executive director for a nonprofit supported by United Way, I see firsthand the impact the organization has in our community," said Barnes. "The work United Way does, particularly in social services, is essential. Without the assistance of UWDC, many programs and organizations would be limited in the services that they are able to provide."
First Merchants Bank of Muncie has a rich history in supporting United Way of Delaware County’s campaign efforts. For several decades, associates from the bank have held leadership roles as volunteers and Loaned Executives for UWDC. The company has regularly participated in corporate giving and has contributed six Campaign Chairs to United Way’s fundraising efforts through the years.
Wilisha Scaife's personal experiences are reflected in the work she does every day. As the Program Coordinator for Muncie P3 (MP3), a local program run through Longfellow Elementary School, her days are filled with helping children achieve their goals.
Today, nearly half of Delaware County households live in poverty or are just one crisis away from it. It is a vicious generational cycle, but families in our community are working hard to break free from it. These families face obstacles in reaching their health, education, and financial goals. They need access to additional resources, and United Way of Delaware County is fortunate to have dedicated local leaders who want to make this happen.
Mike Lunsford, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Lunsford, has spent his 30-year career engaged in Delaware County—the community where he has chosen to raise his family, practice his faith, and grow his business. For him, giving back is an investment.
Twenty-nine-year-old Chris Conley wants his children to have a better life than he's had. Chris dropped out of high school on the first day of his senior year. He married young then divorced. Today, he's a single parent to Briley and Brickley.
I believe that we all have a moral obligation to give back with grace and without judgment. This is why it feels better to give than receive. In the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
It is a harsh reality in Delaware County: nearly half the households live in poverty or are one crisis away from it. It’s often a vicious generational cycle. Working families face obstacles in reaching health, education, and financial stability. Some who hold full-time or even multiple jobs still fall short of meeting their basic needs.
I firmly believe that children should not have to worry about what their next meal will be. That should be a given. What they wear, where they sleep, and how their parents care for them should never be their concern.
Casey Stanley, a lifelong Muncie resident, was named the 2017 campaign chair for United Way of Delaware County, the first time in the organization's 92-year history to appoint a third-generation chair.
This wasn't supposed to be how life would go. Meredith Demaree expected to marry her sailor beau, have the typical family unit, and live happily ever.But life happened, as it does for so many, and she found herself back in her hometown, a single mom, looking for a job that would support her and her two young children.
Chris Caldwell has devoted hundreds of hours, his name, and his hard work to the mission of United Way of Delaware County, currently serving as board chair, and helping this year’s campaign by leading the pacesetter campaign strategy.