A call for generosity: Why the need to give doesn’t end when the holidays do

By Bibiana (Bibie) Boerio, member of United Way’s Tocqueville Society and retired chief financial officer of Ford Motor Credit Company

I grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in a family that didn’t have much. But despite our own struggles, my parents always did what they could to help others. They taught me that it’s important to give back in any way you can, and I’ve been applying that lesson throughout most of my life.

I was fortunate to get a good education and work my way up to an executive role at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. It was there that I first started donating to United Way through Ford’s annual fundraising campaign. In 2002, I volunteered to lead the effort for Ford Motor Credit Company, where I was chief financial officer, and saw how effective and efficient the process was. I left that experience knowing that I wanted to do more for United Way.

When I eventually moved back to Latrobe, I joined United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Tocqueville Society, a dynamic group of local philanthropists. As someone who came from humble beginnings, I’m thankful for the ability to help organizations like United Way bring ongoing generosity to our area.

There’s always a need to give.

As I learned growing up, there’s a constant necessity to give back. The holiday season is a favorite time to donate or volunteer, but the challenges of our community don’t end when December does. United Way ensures that many of the pressing issues facing local residents are attended to throughout the year.

Over time, I’ve seen countless southwestern Pennsylvanians benefit from the services that United Way offers. I admire the organization’s tireless commitment to fighting for the well-being of our region. For those reasons and more, I believe that anyone who’s able to donate to United Way year-round should do so.

Through United Way, you can help struggling members of our community live a better life.

If you’re unsure about the impact of United Way’s work, here’s some encouraging information. In the past year, they assisted more than half a million people across southwestern Pennsylvania through programs focused on children, seniors, disabled persons, and financially disadvantaged families.

United Way also recently received its ninth straight four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s leading nonprofit evaluator. You can rest assured that the organization understands our area’s greatest needs and applies resources in the most effective way.

Because United Way’s efforts are so widespread, your donations will likely touch an issue that’s personal to you. For me, it’s senior citizens. I took care of my mother as she got older, but many seniors lack a support system to guide them through the process of aging. I’m grateful for United Way initiatives like Open Your Heart to a Senior that enable older generations to live independently and with dignity. I also respect that the organization empowers children through programs like Kindergarten Transition, which prepares kids and families for the transition from pre-K to kindergarten.

When you know that your contributions address matters that are important to you, giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences.

Your donations, however small, will go a long way.

One of United Way’s goals is to partner with local employers on workplace campaigns like the one I led at Ford. By teaming with United Way, companies can allow employees to give year-round through convenient payroll deductions. And even the smallest donations can have a far-reaching effect. If more people gave all year, regardless of the amount, organizations like United Way could do even more to serve our most vulnerable neighbors.

Learn how you can start a United Way campaign at your workplace, and about other ways to get involved with the organization.