Connecting people in need with those who want to help

“With United Way, we can really make a difference in the lives of women right here in our community.”

As Anne Zacharias grew both personally and professionally, she learned the importance of giving back and developed a strong desire to do good for her community. Friends of hers, including her step-daughter Penny Zacharias, were involved in United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council and encouraged her to learn more.

“I decided to attend the Wine Tasting, and when I got there everyone I met was so incredibly passionate,” Anne remembered. “When I left there, I thought, ‘Wow, this is an organization I want to be involved with.’”

She joined the WLC after that and never looked back. She started volunteering through the committee and cooked a meal at a local women’s shelter, helped make calls for snow removal, and more. “Going to the shelter really stuck with me. I remember thinking a lot of the women there looked an awful lot like me. I was a single mom for a long time, and it profoundly impacted me that the people we were helping were not very different from me,” Anne said.

Just last year, however, Anne took a step back from her work with the WLC when her husband, Penny’s father, suffered a stroke. As he was recovering, Anne spent time supporting and helping him. But once he was healthy, Penny supported Anne in her return back to the WLC.

“Penny encouraged me to come back once Sam – my husband, her dad – was healthy again. We both recognized it was time for me to come back to WLC and she encouraged me to do it.,” Anne said.

Since coming back, Anne can see the difference, not just in herself, but in the community. “United Way is positioned to make a big impact here in our community. They are connected with people on both sides – the people with need and the people that want to help,” Anne said.

Anne hopes to see even more women give their time with United Way. She recently joined the WLC Engagement Committee, where she is working with other WLC members to recruit more women in the community to get involved with the committee.

“If you care about other women, there’s no better organization to become involved with,” Anne added.

To learn more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, contact Lynne Popash at in Allegheny County or Alyssa Cholodofsky at in Westmoreland County.