“It’s not a hand out, it is a change of life.”
That is what Michael Steward said after he and a team of his fellow Loaned Executives and Sponsored Representatives took part in a United Way volunteer tradition – touring different nonprofit agencies in the network of care to get an “insider’s view” of how donations to United Way’s fundraising drive help improve lives across the Mid-South every day.
Just last week, Loaned Executives from FedEx toured three United Way partner agencies: Memphis Oral School for the Deaf, Youth Villages and SRVS (Shelby Residential & Vocational Services). These United Way volunteers wanted to find out more about these particular agencies and how they help in our community.
The group saw the importance of the agencies’ work and heard first-hand testimonies from children, seniors and people with disabilities who benefit from programs funded by donations to United Way.
The Loaned Executives and Sponsored Representatives were guided on their tours by nonprofit professionals to make sure their visit did not interfere with agency work. The group wished to thank Christy Ransom with Memphis Oral School for the Deaf, Peter Abel with Youth Villages and Diana Fedinec with SRVS.
“We plan to visit more agencies. Seeing the work in person gives us a stronger desire to give. I was always a giver, but it was more of an automatic reflex,” Steward said.
Since learning more about United Way’s network of partner agencies, Steward has decided to increase his payroll deduction donations this year to Leadership Giver levels.
“When I go to different companies where employees are giving to the United Way fundraising drive, I tell them to contact United Way agencies and see if their workgroup can schedule a tour to see what is done with the donations. I’ve made that a part of my speech because when you’re on a tour, you see how your money is working. When you visit the agencies, you learn that some people who went through the programs as clients are now working for the agencies, helping others in need. When you give, it is not a hand out, it is a change of life. United Way is helping these programs, and people going through the programs are coming out as better people. That is what is so beautiful about United Way. It is uplifting,” Steward said.