Written by Mary Beth Kauk
My Waco story begins two years ago, when my husband, Kasey, and I married. Kasey is a project engineer for Allergan and has been living in the Waco area for close to 10 years. We both love the Greater Waco community, so it was an easy decision for us to put roots down as a new family and make it our home.
After commuting for a year to my job with United Way of Central Texas in Temple, I was thrilled to learn a position had opened with United Way of Waco-McLennan County under leadership of the new Executive Director, Barbara Mosacchio. After meeting with Barbara and learning about the community’s vision for UWWMC growth, I was onboard to transfer to Waco as Director of Campaigns and Community Engagement. Kasey and I had plugged into the community personally, and I was eager to begin plugging into the community through my professional life – putting down real roots.
My first task on the job was to get to know McLennan County stakeholders and to learn about the culture, passions, and interests of the Greater Waco community. Through the process, I was continually inspired by the foundation of passion and love that flows through the veins of McLennan County. As I continued to get to know the local community through visits with donors, volunteers, and stakeholders, each had one thing in common: they had a heart for this community and truly wanted to create a better life for all people who live here.
United Way does this on a global scale, as the largest nonprofit organization in the world. Its goal is to advance the common good by creating a better opportunity for all people in all communities.
United Way of Waco-McLennan County is bringing together community stakeholders such as local government, NGOs, and business partners to build collective impact strategies that affect our community’s greatest needs in education, financial stability, health, and safety net services. We bring the community together, to create lasting systemic change. One way we do this is through our local United Way Annual Campaign.
Our local annual United Way Campaign raises money from the community to fund programs impacting McLennan County’s greatest needs. Workplace campaigns strengthen the connection between local companies and their employees to the local community. Many employees give through payroll deduction toward issues that matter to them and can have the peace of knowing money raised here, stays here.
Money raised through the annual campaign is put back into the community by funding quality local programs which address and impact the community’s needs in the areas of education, financial stability, health, and safety net services. The annual campaign truly creates a unique opportunity for collective community giving and impact throughout McLennan County.
We are also connecting our donors to the local community by coordinating individual and volunteer opportunities to the issues that matter to them. This creates a community experience that is meaningful to the donor, and one that is also making an impact on the lives of people in McLennan County by investing money, time, or talent.
One way we are doing this is by launching our volunteer portal, GET CONNECTED. GET CONNECTED is a free online system that will match volunteers with volunteer opportunities in the McLennan County community. Nonprofits, schools, and organizations will be able to use the system to post one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities and events. Users can search for volunteer opportunities based on their own interests and get connected to meaningful ways to give back.
Aside from creating opportunities for people to give and volunteer, I am continually being inspired by the passion and energy of this community, which has made my job even more fulfilling. Coming into work every day, I know that we are making a difference by positively affecting the lives of children, families, and individuals in McLennan County. It is a beautiful thing to see people come together for the greater good, for something that is bigger than themselves – to see people truly LIVING UNITED.