From the Board Chair: New Year’s Resolutions with the Valley of the Sun United Way
Written by Valley of the Sun United Way
Published on Jan 16, 2020
Written by Board Chair Jennifer Holsman Tetreault
At the start of each New Year, most of us pause to reflect on the prior year and make plans for the next.
As I enter into my first full calendar year as Board Chair, I took a moment to reflect on the critical impact and role of Valley of the Sun United Way and what we aspire to be in 2020 (and beyond). I also spent time thinking about how I want my personal actions to impact the organization and our community. And, with that, I’m thrilled to share my Valley of the Sun United Way…New Year Resolutions.
I often review our organizations “Manifesto” posted by our Women United Steering Committee. It is so moving, and there are portions of this piece that in particular that really resonate with me:
"We are philanthropists, volunteers, and leaders within our community.”
"We are problem-solvers, hand-raisers, and game-changers.”
"We lead the charge and inspire change.”
"We have gone after some of our community’s toughest challenges: Poverty and Food Insecurity.”
"We work with the United Way and our community partners to turn potential solutions into action.”
"It’s not easy, but [we do] not give up. Ever.”
"[We face] our future fearlessly, with determination, no matter the obstacles that come our way.”
Say, what?! I want to be a part of THIS! This effort. This movement. This organization taking action. This Team. And, yes, I have been connected to this organization for a long time, in so many ways, but at this most pivotal moment in time – I feel more connected and inspired that ever before.
2020 is my time to be a problem-solver, hand-raiser, and game-changer like never before. This had become my pledge, my promise and my commitment to our community:
- I am fully engaged and in complete support of our United Way staff to accomplish the five key 2020 Priorities approved by our Board of Directors. To that end, I will continue to work diligently to make strategic, informed, and thoughtful decisions to advance Valley of the Sun United Way – our communities United Way.
- My husband and I have become Tocqueville Society members, an individual or couple who gives the gift of $10,000 or more annually to United Way. And, I am working with others who have stepped up to do the same as we raise the visibility of this important donor circle and build a larger community of critical investors.
- I will continue to serve as a Co-Chair for our Women United
Luncheon, one of my favorite events of the year! We raise significant funds needed to support our ending poverty and hunger related initiatives for children with an impact on entire families as a result.
- We are continuing to have important community discussions and seek feedback from all Valley of the Sun United Way stakeholders in identifying our “strategic priorities” for 2020 and beyond. These gathering sessions, starting in February, will be robust, open, community discussions. I am anxious to be a part of that process and work with our CEO, Carla Vargas Jasa, and our Board, to make the most of this important time together.
- I will continue investing my personal time volunteering, with a weekly Vello tutoring session to help young schoolchildren be stronger readers, and join Project Connect and WeekEnd Hunger Backpack events as often as possible. I love strategy – but getting my hands dirty and seeing our work first hand has impacted me greatly – I won’t ever let that go. Our kids love it, too!
- Advancing and advocating for the 2020 Public Policy Agenda for the organization is a must – I will be there to help lead and guide and ensure that we have a diverse voice in all that we do.
- I will be “learning more” through talking with experts, seeing programs and services in action, and asking questions that will help us consider the vision for both Valley of the Sun United Way and our community.
- I have always enjoyed and am passionate about speaking as an ambassador for Valley of the Sun United Way and will also continue building community partnerships. Teamwork makes the dream work!
- Further building a diverse and socially responsible Board and staff, that is advancing our work, is a key priority for us.
- My husband and I include family philanthropy as a part of how we raise our children – it’s who we are. We have a great desire to see that our family learns more about philanthropy, how to be a change agent, a hand-raiser, and investor in the organization. When the kids wanted to do the $5 donation challenge at the end of 2019, we thought, “Ok, it’s sinking in – and it’s beautiful!” Our small actions make a BIG difference!
- Finally, we’ve already begun to plan for a great 95th Anniversary and I can’t wait to FULLY celebrate the deep history of the Valley of the Sun United Way during 2020.
I am so grateful to be a part of the Valley of the Sun United Way Team and am personally and professionally totally invested on our collective success.
If you should ever want to say hello, share an idea for the organization, reflect on a past experience or ask a question about our work, please feel that you can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are our communities United Way – and that means that you and your voice count.
2020 is going to be a great year for learning, growing, and celebration. I cannot wait to see my resolutions come to light as I continue to #LIVEUNITED.