aAngela Williams’ first year as President and CEO of United Way Worldwide has been a challenge. Rising inflation, increased demand for charitable services due to the war in Ukraine, and the need to rebuild society’s trust in her organization.
As the first black leader of the United Way Worldwide, a former Air Force attorney and former head of Easter Shields, she’s taking an organization once known for its blockbuster workplace fundraiser into the next era. I feel ready to lead to
“For me to be the first or only woman or black woman in my life to be in the situation of breaking and breaking through not just the glass ceiling, but the concrete ceiling as I call it, she deserves fairer service.” We are ready to deliver on our promise,” Williams said. He said.
She plans to bring this unique American institution’s focus back to the community, listening to help shape solutions to individual problems with the help of United Way’s vast resources. In 2020, the organization gave her over $168 million in grants.
Williams kept a low profile during her first year, opting for a listening tour of United Way affiliates around the world, revisiting the organization’s commitments and priorities.
“My vision for United Way Worldwide is to create equitable solutions in our communities,” said Williams, adding that people experiencing problems should speak up to help solve them. rice field.
United Way’s national 211 callline, which connects people to services, has seen an uptick in requests in recent months, with people needing access to food, paying utility bills and rent, and finding housing, she said. said.
“There is a real sense of urgency,” Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press. We must unite because there is a great need.”
Williams acquired United Way Worldwide after accusing three former employees of condoning a culture of sexism and cheating and retaliating for speaking out.
An external investigation commissioned by the organization in February 2021 found no evidence of “viable harassment, discrimination or retaliation.” Three of her women who filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were not contacted by the law firm investigating them at the time, she told The Associated Press. His CEO of the organization, Brian Gallagher, resigned shortly after.
During World War II, local United Ways tightened its grip on workplace giving by allowing employees to automatically donate a portion of their paychecks to the organization. United Way then redistributes the pooled funds to local welfare nonprofits such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army.
This model was initially aimed at a large number of voters. It consolidated philanthropic requests directed at businesses and created a new group of middle-class donors who felt positive about donating to organizations that helped others where they lived. .
But since the 1970s, forces have emerged to challenge United Way’s dominance as a workplace giving and distributor of large sums of money. The decline of large manufacturing employers and the shift to service industries has begun to change the nature of work. This decline was exacerbated by growing social movements for civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental protection. For example, we created a new community that a donor identified and wanted to support.
Emily Berman, professor of sociology at Loyola University Chicago, said: I wrote a book about organization.
To accommodate, local United Ways, which pay their dues to United Ways Worldwide but are incorporated as separate non-profits, are looking to reduce overhead costs, and many are turning to numerous non-profits. Rather than donating small amounts, we have chosen to fund a small number of key partners.
According to Laurie Pearlberg, who studies community foundations at Indiana University’s Lily Family School of Philanthropy, affiliates look to governments and foundations for funding, while other groups set up endowments to create long-term benefits. I tried to solicit more donations from loyal donors and create a donation circle around the identity group. .
“United Way is currently being stormed by a series of connecting events that impact its role in the community, revenue generation, and ultimately perceptions of legitimacy,” Pearlberg said.
The havoc Williams stepped into also included a large cash outlay initiated under her predecessor as part of a partnership with Salesforce to create a software product, Philanthropy Cloud. United Way Worldwide’s tax returns show she paid more than $40 million to the company and related contractors between 2017 and her 2020.
The software, which United Way Worldwide had exclusive rights to resell, allows employees to donate their paychecks to any charity (not just United Way) and find volunteer opportunities. Conflicts with other programs.
Asked if the investment was worth the cost, Williams said it was a good start, but that technology is a means to an end, not a solution in itself.
“My team and I are committed to making many investments as part of a larger effort to get the ship right and ensure that United Way Worldwide remains sustainable and impactful for years to come. is in the process of re-evaluating Talia Beatty Alexandria (Virginia), MDT/AP