May 5, 2018 | Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
By Sarah Self-Walbrick
The annual Lubbock Area United Way campaign kicks off each fall with the goal of raising millions of dollars to support the agency’s 23 community partners and help more than 100,000 people.
In 2017, the campaign raised over $6.1 million. Jon Stephens, the 2017 campaign chairman and Lubbock market president at SouthWest Bank, said at the campaign kickoff luncheon in August that the goal was ambitious, but achievable, and necessary to help causes in the community.
The Lubbock Area United Way aids various needs including affordable child care, crisis situations, character development, adult literacy, job training and youth and mentoring, among others.
“These are serious and pressing problems,” Stephens said. “Our challenge as a community is to meet these needs and give our neighbors hope. That’s what the United Way and its community partners do day in and day out.”
In three months, with the help of businesses, organizations and individuals, the campaign goal was exceeded by thousands of dollars.
One important group that helps during the campaign is the Loaned Executive Program. The group is comprised of individuals recruited each year from local corporations and small businesses, according to the Lubbock Area United Way website. Participating organizations loan a representative during the fall to assist and encourage other campaigns.
Seth Schulz, assistant vice president at PlainsCapital Bank, was the 2017 loaned executive chairman. Schulz participated in the loaned executive program for five years, culminating to being the leader of the group.
Through his years in the program, Schulz said he learned more about the community and those who are ready to help.
“Having the opportunity to be a Loaned Executive is truly a blessing,” Schulz said. “With the Lubbock Area United Way being as broad-reaching as it is, it gives you the opportunity to give back and help address many needs in our community. You also have the added benefit of being able to network and meet many great people in our area that have a heart to help, give and make a difference.”
The joy of being involved and making a difference was the most satisfying part of the volunteering experience, Schulz said.
Kyle Jacobson, director of government relations at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, was a first-year loaned executive in 2017. He said the chamber tries to have someone on the team each year, and he was honored to be last year’s representative.
As a young professional in Lubbock, Jacobson said participating in the program was a new experience that showed him more of the city.
“My eyes were opened to some of the struggles that people in Lubbock face, but more importantly the progress that’s being made with resources like the United Way to help people in need,” Jacobson said. “If someone has a heart to serve but doesn’t know where to start, being a loaned executive can provide you with information about local organizations that might help point you in the right direction.”
Jacobson said being a loaned executive helped him find ways to get more involved in the Lubbock community and do his part.
“It provided me with a deeper sense of connection and responsibility to help those in need whenever I’m able to,” Jacobson said.
Shannon Sudduth, media relations at Lubbock Christian University, said she had previously volunteered with some of the Lubbock Area United Way’s partner agencies, the Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters, but that serving as a loaned executive exposed her to other nonprofits and causes.
Seeing the progress of the business campaigns Sudduth helped with was one of the most rewarding aspects of being a loaned executive, she said.
“Seeing your assigned company’s campaigns grow 50 to 100 percent from the previous year is very inspiring, making you want to work even harder the next year to raise more money for the 23 agencies,” Sudduth said. “As an LE, you are educated about how diligent the United Way of Lubbock works at determining how to allocate the money raised for the agencies, and you get to see first-hand that the money is being allocated to.”
All three loaned executives described the volunteer experience as rewarding and encouraged any one who wants to participate as a representative from their business to do so.
The annual Lubbock Area United Way campaign launches in August of each year and concludes in November. To get involved with the organization, visit liveunitedlubbock.org.