Cindy Cox is a devoted United Way volunteer, resident of our community and member of Women in Philanthropy.
Cindy’s commitment to the Midlands is evident by the amount of involvement she has had in United Way of the Midlands since joining Women in Philanthropy (WIP) about 15 years ago.
Women in Philanthropy, the Midlands’ first women’s leadership initiative, established as a giving circle focused on leadership development, education, advocacy and networking.
After she moved to Columbia, a colleague invited her to a WIP event. Although she was familiar with United Way because she had been donating for many years through a workplace campaign, WIP gave her an opportunity to be more informed about United Way’s community partners and involved directly in WIP’s grant-making process.
One of Cindy’s favorite experiences with the United Way is volunteering with The Cooperative Ministry's VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, which she has been doing for four years.
VITA is a program that saves thousands of local low-income families lots of money by offering free filing by IRS-certified volunteers and helps them claim state and federal income tax refunds and federal Earned Income Tax Credits. In addition to the individual benefits to families, this program has a community wide impact by bringing millions of dollars back into the Midlands.
“It feels good to be able to help people put money in their pockets,” Cindy said. “I enjoy volunteering with this program because you can see the direct benefit in helping others.”
Cindy is retired now but thinks back to when she was starting her career. She was frequently asked where she saw herself in five years, 10 years.
“My advice is don’t try to map out your career,” she said. “Learn as much as you can from each job, take on additional responsibility as a way to broaden your knowledge and notice when something sparks your interest.”
Her experience has been that opportunities you can never imagine will present themselves.
“Your mission is to be ready to take advantage when opportunities become available,” she said. “Also, do not feel guilty about taking time for yourself.”
She heard something many years ago, that resonated with her. Can women have it all? Yes, but not necessarily all at the same time. Over the course of your life, you can have it all (whatever that means to you).
Fun fact: She loves traveling, reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gamecocks Women’s basketball and puttering.