by: Alicia Wilson, 2019 Campaign Co-Chair, United Way of Central Maryland and Vice President for Economic Development, the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System
2019 was quite a year for me, with my latest roles with Johns Hopkins and United Way of Central Maryland. As one of the chairs of this year’s United Way Campaign, I wanted to share my personal Why United Way story with you.
My story starts not with Why United Way but Why Law. In 1998, I started as a Law Links Intern with the Public Justice Center, kicking off a love for the law and encouraging my plans for law school. I organized legal pleadings and discovery files. I processed evidence. I even served as a tenant advocate in court proceedings. I saw the tireless work of those around me, as we used legal tools to challenge poverty and racial inequity in Maryland and beyond.
But, I also saw how frequently we were in court – with no time for raising the dollars vital to keeping a nonprofit alive. As an intern, I also sorted the mail and saw the checks we received from United Way – that’s where it clicked. United Way was what allowed us to spend all those hours with tenants that needed us, while still being able to keep the lights on in our office. I saw the vital role United Way plays in our community, and it was a large reason why I was so excited to chair their campaign.
As chair, I’ve loved learning firsthand about today’s United Way. They are still that trusted and efficient fundraising resource I remembered from my first internship, supporting the work of wonderful nonprofits in our region. But, they have also taken an active role in programming, creating successful impact strategies like their Family Stability Program that has helped almost 2,300 families avoid homelessness.
Whether you choose to give to United Way or another nonprofit close to your heart, each and every dollar truly does add up, and together, we can continue to ignite change for our city.