Making a tangible, local impact

“It’s beyond just wanting to help – it’s making a real difference.”

When Debbie Stockdale started with Schneider Downs & Co., Inc. just four years ago, she didn’t have much knowledge of the needs throughout her community. While she volunteered and donated to her church and local animal shelters, she had so much to learn about people right in her neighborhood who needed support.

Debbie met Mary Richter, long-time member of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council and former WLC co-chair, who invited her to attend the WLC Wine Tasting and told her about United Way. “I attended the Wine Tasting and met so many incredible women in just one evening,” Debbie remembered.

She decided to join the Council and began attending more and more events and volunteer opportunities. Through these activities, she began to see the tangible impact United Way has on the community and learned about the needs of local women.

“Growing up, we weren’t rich by any means, but we always had food on the table and access to a good education. It started to sink in how many women are not as fortunate as I am,” Debbie explained. “I want to help other women. As I get older, I am more aware of  how many women have fallen on hard times, despite how hard they have worked.”

Recently, Debbie helped plan a Day of Caring activity at Schneider Downs where coworkers participated in fundraising activities, such as ‘jeans day,’ a 50/50 raffle, and a happy hour event. The goal was to raise money to buy supplies to fill dignity bags for local homeless women. They raised $1,100, allowing them to purchase shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other necessities for 200 bags.

“It was so great to see my colleagues step up in this way. On the WLC Day of Caring (Wed., Sept. 27), 30 coworkers volunteered to help us pack the bags,” Debbie said. “We left personal messages for the recipients in every single bag to help encourage them. It was such a rewarding day.”

Debbie encourages more women to get involved with United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council. “The more I learn about United Way, the more important the work becomes. Now I see the impact we can make if we work together,” Debbie said.

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.