United Way

“As a member of the Board of Directors and a donor I really get a feel for what United Way does. We make sure that the donations that we receive get maximized in the local community,” said Dick Kates, volunteer systems coordinator. 

The United Way of Montgomery, Radford, and Floyd seeks to strengthen the New River Valley community by providing funding support, resources, and programs that serve local health and human service charities. These charities and United Way directly impact the critical needs of local families, children, and individuals as they strive to advance the common good of the community by uniting local people and resources to improve lives.

In 2012, 60 Virginia Tech employees donated more than $18,000 directly to the New River Valley chapter of the American Red Cross through the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC).

Participating in community building activities, community information and referral, and volunteer recruitment/matching activities is also a crucial part of what they do. The three areas of impact that they focus on are strengthening families, self-sufficiency, and health and crisis intervention.

This organization reviews community needs on an annual basis and assesses if they are addressing those needs. They have a Citizen Review Community that annually reviews member agencies and determines where funding is needed by assessing short and long term impacts for the community.

“United Way locally has a big hat. We see ourselves as more than a money-handler,” said Kates.

This citizen review defines their organization and is the heart and soul of United Way.

“This committee goes out and takes a deep look at the organizations that receive funds. They do what donors don’t have the time to do, on their behalf,” said Kates.

His job is to match volunteers through the VolunteerNRV website, which is the most widely used method for placing volunteers.

 Although he administers a software system, he stresses, “I try to get people involved in a way that is not automated.”

Working with partner agencies is a key part of what this organization does, and they are sought out because of the broad range of community issues that they encounter and gather data on annually.

Kate’s favorite part of working with United Way is the person to person networking.

“As the President of Montgomery County Human Relations Council as well, I see how the two are so integrated. We try to help organizations and people know who else is doing what. Nobody else is succeeding at that, and we are doing a great job at it,” says Kates.

Their board continually seeks added value as they contribute to the community above and beyond the value of the funds raised.

Please consider donating to any of the 1,300 charities participating in this year’s Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. The online CVC Pledge System enables salaried Virginia Tech employees to make fast, easy, and secure donations via payroll deduction. All donations are tax deductible, as allowed by law.

Written by Nadia Groome, a junior majoring in communications at Virginia Tech.