It takes a lot of elbow grease to raise $1.9 million.
Just ask Christy Newman, who is chairing United Way of Blount County’s Loaned Executives committee.
As Newman explains, the Loaned Executives of United Way are the backbone of the organization’s fundraising efforts in the workplace each fall.
“A Loaned Executive is someone who is loaned from a company here in Blount County by their supervisor or their boss, to help out with the United Way campaign,” Newman said. “These 19 volunteers are truly dedicated to the campaign.”
Newman noted that Loaned Executives provide support in various capacities, such as picking up and delivering supplies, facilitating the scheduling of speakers, keeping in constant contact with their accounts, and even directly assisting companies and organizations with United Way campaigns.
Newman said, “They’re giving of their time, and they’re giving of their expertise to companies that are new or veterans to the United Way campaign, offering a different perspective that can go a long way.
“A Loaned Executive may bring a piece of what they’ve done at their company and share that with one of their accounts, and it may just be the spark that’s needed to take the company from a mediocre campaign to an outstanding campaign for United Way.”
Jennifer Wackerhagen, Vice President of Resource Development, said that the work of the Loaned Executives is critical to the United Way campaign.
“We raise 65 percent of our campaign through the workplace, and without the Loaned Executives’ help, it would be virtually impossible to raise that money,” Wackerhagen said.
Wackerhagen noted that, with United Way of Blount County having such a small staff of only seven employees, the Loaned Executives are the driving force behind the organization’s workplace campaigns.
“With over 150 accounts, we depend on the Loaned Executives to keep track of their campaigns - when they’re starting, when they’re ending, which campaigns need help. Without our Loaned Executives, I’m not sure what we’d do,” Wackerhagen said.
For Loaned Executive Samantha Goddard, volunteering is her way of giving back to an organization that helped her through one of the toughest times in her life.
Twelve years ago, Goddard was in an abusive relationship, and she and her 9-year-old daughter sought refuge at a United Way-funded domestic violence shelter.
“We walked away with the clothes on our backs. We had to,” Goddard said. “If we hadn’t taken care right then and there, I knew my life was in danger.”
Goddard said that anyone can be in an abusive relationship - from the stay-at-home mom to the business executive.
“At the time I was managing a restaurant, and no one in the world would have ever known that I was being abused,” Goddard said. “I was very strong in my professional life; going home, it was hell.”
Through United Way-funded programs, Goddard said she was able to get the counseling and support she needed to get back on her own two feet.
“For United Way to have these programs and give this support to women in these situations is all-important because without that support network, I don’t know where these women would be,” Goddard said. “I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t had the opportunity to build myself back up.
“It’s my job to go ahead and help these agencies that helped me. I feel like it’s an obligation of love for me.”
Goddard said that serving as a loaned executive is a great way for her to give back.
“I may not be able to do much, and I don’t have a lot of money,” Goddard said. “But at least I can give a little of my time to help these agencies.”
Newman added that, through these agencies, she has personally witnessed the change United Way makes in Blount County.
“I see the results of their programs, and I know that adults are getting their GED’s and entering the workforce, boys and girls have a place to go after school that’s safe to do their homework, to have interaction with other kids, and to have some physical activity,” Newman said. “There are countless reasons these organizations need to thrive in our community.”
United Way of Blount County supports programs that address health, education, and self-sufficiency. For more information or to give to United Way, visit liveunitedblount.org or call 865-982-2251.