One of the repercussions of the pandemic has been higher unemployment levels and a greater number of people in need of assistance. For many service agencies and institutions, volunteers have become even more invaluable in serving the mission of meeting those needs. In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair spoke with Madeline Garcia from the United Way of Washtenaw County Volunteer Center about volunteerism in a most unusual year.
WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area. And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services. It is a community voice. It is 'Washtenaw United.'
ABOUT MADELINE GARCIA:
Madeline Garcia is a Senior Development Associate at United Way of Washtenaw County. In her role, she helps raise funds for the community, connects young professionals through the Emerging Philanthropists, and writes grants for United Way programs. Previously, Madeline worked full time as a cosmetologist and still does part-time. She graduated high school with a cosmetology license and worked as a cosmetologist while attending Spring Arbor University earning a degree in Business Administration. Madeline is happy to now be in a role where she can help make change in her community.
Our Volunteer Center was launched in Fall of 2014 to engage more community members in service to Washtenaw County nonprofits. We are leveraging volunteer engagement to increase impact through VolunteerWashtenaw.org, the largest local listing of volunteer and in-kind needs, and through other platforms to match volunteers with community needs, such as Catchafire.
The center connects people that want to volunteer, as individuals or as part of a large group with local nonprofits that rely on volunteers to help achieve their mission. Matchings services are provided at no cost to community members and nonprofits.
Prior to its launch, the Volunteer Centers of Michigan reported that Washtenaw County was the only metropolitan area in the State of Michigan that was not served by a Volunteer Center. Its launch was bolstered by findings from a survey of 92 local nonprofit agency directors, 95% of whom considered volunteers to be important and critical to their work. Only 4% of those surveyed said they have all the volunteers they need.
“United Way of Washtenaw County strives to not only fund nonprofit programs to affect change, but to also find big-picture solutions to the problems facing people in our community.” shared Pam Smith, President of UWWC. “We are uniquely positioned to launch a volunteer center to impact positive change, create a solution that fills a documented gap in community services, and provide a service with a great opportunity for a positive return on investment.”
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