Molly Allwein, originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, came to Pittsburgh to get her master’s degree and loved the city so much, she made it her home. Molly is a licensed social worker who works for her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. She is the Director of Continuing and Professional Education and is responsible for all educational programs that are not for current students. Molly designs training and engages licensed helping professionals through continuing education and professional micro-credentialing programs. She also reviews and approves training programs for community nonprofits to gain accreditation for social work continuing education. She serves on HEARTH’s Young Professionals board (An organization that assists families to become independent and economically self-sufficient through transitional housing as well as with many supportive services, resources, and case management) and also serves on the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work Alumni Advisory Board.
Molly’s passion for social work comes from her own life experiences. Her parents went through a difficult divorce and she ultimately lived in a single-parent, low-income home. “I felt a lot of the struggles of not having adequate finances in our family. I think that immediately gave me compassion and empathy as a younger person and the desire to help give back to others,” says Molly. And, it has propelled her involvement in Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) as a young professional.
Molly became involved with United Way of Southwestern PA as part of Together Leading, a United Way program that allowed WLC members to financially sponsor a young woman, enabling them to access all WLC membership benefits. After completing the two-year program, Molly made her own donation to join WLC directly. “I see United Way as the grassroots organization of the region. They’re the first call for many folks who are in some of the worst situations of their lives. United Way is an empathetic and knowledgeable organization serving those who need immediate assistance, especially the thousands of women in our region who receive the help they need to get back on their feet. With WLC, whether through my donations or through volunteering, I am honored and able to be a part of the magic of supporting other women in need.”
Molly also believes that donating is only a small part of the charge. “Being able to actually volunteer and spend my time supporting United Way initiatives is equally important. It’s also something I’m called to do through my ethical code as a social worker. So that’s one of the things that really appeals to me about United Way – they ask for your physical presence in the community as well as financial donations. As a social worker and good community member, that’s part of what I feel I should be doing anyway and United Way provides a perfect avenue for it.” Molly has served as a social media ambassador at the WLC Wine Event and lent her time to United Way’s Build-A-Bike and Games for Good initiatives supporting area youth.
Molly encourages her peers not to wait. The WLC Step-Up Plan helps young professionals build up to the $1,000 annual gift, so it’s easier to get involved. “I love that our United Way is one of the top United Ways in the country for membership and engagement. I feel like that’s appropriate for our region; we’re a giving community. And, I hope that we continue to find more opportunities through United Way for all kinds of additional giving and engagement.”
To learn more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, contact Lynne Popash at email@example.com in Allegheny County or Terri Dominick at Terri.Dominick@unitedwayswpa.org in Westmoreland & Fayette County or Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org in Butler & Armstrong County.