In addition to being committed to marketing that has an impact, I’ve also been committed to the greater Richmond community for many years. I’ve enjoyed sharing my skills and talents with a variety of organizations to make a difference. This time it’s different!

The United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg asked me to chair the 2013 Campaign, and I accepted. It’s a great honor, very humbling, and is requiring some skills and talents I just don’t have. For example, this coming Sunday the 1st of September I’ll be throwing out the first ball at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game. And I throw like a girl – in the worst possible context of that phrase.

One of the reasons I said yes to the United Way is because I’m fully aware of the impact they have on a community. The United Way is the one nonprofit that pulls annual indicators of our community needs, and then collects and distributes funds  to the organizations that are making a real difference in those metrics. The best way to make sure your money has the greatest effect in your community is to invest it in the United Way’s Community Fund – a non-restricted pool of money that’s given directly to those organizations who manage and monitor their metrics to show how they’re elevating those in our region who need help. We each have a limited amount of money we can invest in our communities, and it’s hard to determine how to make that money go the furthest. That’s the great thing about the United Way – they figure it out for us! (It’s like hiring a smart marketing firm for your business – let the experts do the work, and hold them accountable to show you results).

Another reason I said yes is because I know what it’s like to need help. When my sister and I were very young, our dad had 2 brain tumors which debilitated him physically and intellectually. He was out of work for a significant amount of time as he healed. My mother wasn’t able to work, take care of the 2 of us (aged 1 and 4 at the time) and help dad get back on his feet. As a family, we needed help beyond what our friends and relatives could provide. And thankfully, there were organizations that provided that extra help for us. Dad did get back to work for a couple of years, but died of lung cancer before he turned 41. There was mom again, with 2 children now 7 and 10, needing help.

So yea, I get it. We all need help every once in awhile – and some need more help than others. That’s OK, especially when there are organizations that provide that help in a meaningful way.

And I need help again – this time learning how to throw a baseball! (Remember, no dad around to teach us that kind of stuff). Luckily I have a patient and athletic husband who’s willing to keep me from embarrassing us all on Sunday. And luckily, our community has a United Way to help in ways none of us could individually.

I hope I’ll see you at the Diamond on Sunday. I hope I don’t throw like a girl. And I hope you’ll consider giving to the United Way Community Fund this year so those who need help can get it.

Easter 1974