Volunteer Spotlight: Mike Umphres
Last month, we launched Volunteer Spotlight to celebrate the efforts of our passionate volunteers! Each year, when our giving campaigns wrap-up, about 70 volunteers gather to discuss critical community needs and how to best allocate donations to United Way partner programs. These volunteer citizens comprise the Community Investments Panel, and they have been meeting since mid-February to evaluate the impact of United Way funding.
Mike Umphres has volunteered with Community Investments for 8 years. One of his favorite things to do around town is tour the countryside on his motorcycle. Mike has lived from Southern California to the upper Midwest, but considers Williamson County home. When Pam Bryant (our President & CEO) asked Mike to join the panel, he jumped on board “to help our community help our brothers and sisters in need.”
The following Q&A provides insight into his volunteer experience.
What part of the Community Investments process do you enjoy the most?
Visiting the partner agencies and learning about their programs and hearing about all of their successes.
Once you began volunteering with United Way, what were you surprised to learn?
How much work by so many volunteers went into the allocation of funds. But, the review process is well organized and less complex than an outsider might expect. In short, it is an easy thing to do. In a relatively small amount of personal and/or work time, one can make a significant positive and lasting impact on their community.
What aspects of the Community Investments process are challenging?
Having to reduce funding allocations due to smaller pools of money available.
What is one thing you would like everyone to know about Community Investments?
The work of this Citizens Review Panel is critical to United Way programs. In my opinion, United Way programs can only meet the needs of the community when unbiased, informed, caring citizens are involved in the assessment of the agencies receiving funding.
You’re welcome to join our Community Investments Panel. Please call 615-771-2312 to discuss the opportunity with a United Way team member.