“No good deed goes unpunished,” joked Bob Chauvin when asked about leading the United Way’s annual campaign for a second straight year.
Chauvin has been a United Way board member for eight years and is excited that his legacy of service will include two years as Campaign Chair. “Honestly, this will give me a chance to provide an excellent training experience to future Campaign leaders,” he says.
The United Way Annual Campaign is a multi-faceted endeavor. “One of the most important roles the United Way plays is supporting community agencies that help people meet basic needs, and the Annual Campaign is critical for our fundraising efforts to meet the growing demand,” says Chauvin.
A key part of that effort includes identifying and organizing fundraising initiatives at workplaces. “One of my goals is to get 10 – 12 new companies involved this year, especially in Athol, which has recently become part of our service territory,” says Chauvin.
He is also hoping to expand the United Way’s digital communications to build awareness of the organization’s mission and impact.
“Everyone has heard of the United Way but I don’t think people know how we have diversified our focus in ways that enable them to contribute – both their resources and their time – to support our overall mission, or specific programs and initiatives that really matter to them,” he says.
As examples, Chauvin cites the success of United Way programs like Combat Hunger. Launched in 2013 in partnership with Outreach, Inc., the initiative has already resulted in more than 850,000 meals being packaged for needy families. “We’re going to break one million this year!” he exclaims excitedly.
Also near and dear to Chauvin’s heart is the United Way’s Youth Venture program, which provides micro-grants to teams of middle and high school students who want to develop a business or launch a socially impactful program in their school or community. “Any time you invest in kids, you’re investing in a better future – for them, and the community,” he says, more than a little proud that per capita, North Central Massachusetts has the largest contingent of Youth Venture teams of any United Way region in the U.S.
This past year, the United Way took investing in kids to a new level by helping to fund free literacy programs for hundreds of children from pre-school through 3rd grade. “Programs like these not only touch people’s hearts and make them feel good about the impact they are having on kids now, they also help to make a long term impact on our community and reduce the need for Basic Support funds – not that this need is going away any time soon.”
One other key component of the United Way’s Annual Campaign that Chauvin loves is the Day of Caring, which will take place this year on Friday, September 21, 2018. With participation from schools, businesses, and individuals throughout the area, Chauvin guesstimates that the organization benefits from “ten years of physical labor” in a single day. “If you haven’t been a part of it before, don’t miss it this year,” he says. “You’ll go home tired, but you’ll love how you feel!”
The United Way of North Central Massachusetts serves the communities of Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Ayer, Devens, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hubbardston, Leominster, Littleton, Pepperell, Lunenburg, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Shirley, Templeton, Townsend, Westminster and Winchendon.