BizTimes: United Way is such a recognizable name, but for those who may not know much about your organization, tell us about your work.
Amy Lindner: In simple terms, United Way has one goal and that is to help people live better lives. Every year, thousands of generous organizations and individuals donate to our community campaign, and these donations fund 200+ programs at 100+ local nonprofits. These programs support the health, education, and financial stability of people in our local community. All of the programs that United Way invests in are measurable and held to high standards.
BizTimes: We know that philanthropy is an important part of any local business. How does the work of United Way fit into the work of the business community?
Lindner: We know that younger generations are seeking out community-minded companies not only to buy from, but also to work for. They have made this a clear generational priority. Our data show us that 79% of the workforce prefer to work for a socially responsible company. Companies that run a United Way campaign elevate themselves in the community and have employees who feel part of something bigger. In addition to having a way to give, employees have a chance to learn more about services that are offered to those in need and to get directly involved by volunteering throughout the year.
BizTimes: Recently you expanded the focus of your work by elevating key community initiatives. Why is this important?
Lindner: For anyone who knows our United Way, they know that we are not afraid of big challenges. We don’t shy away from problems that many people think are impossible to solve. We know that these issues are important to our community, and we know that we have the ability to bring the right people together to do something about them. For example, we are going to end family homelessness by the end of 2023. We are also focused on reducing barriers to finding a good job, as well as focusing on racial equity and social justice, just to name a few.
BizTimes: As the President & CEO of United Way, what are some of the things you are proud of?
Lindner: I’m extremely proud that people trust our United Way. Donors expect us to be good stewards of their money, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We work very hard to earn their trust. I’m proud of the work we do every day, and I’m extremely proud of the way we respond to immediate needs in our community. This was evident with the onset of the pandemic. When local nonprofits were in need, we delivered supplies and support for services so they could continue their work. When the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy occurred, we quickly mobilized and co-created the United for Waukesha Community Fund. We saw over $6 million in donations from all 50 states and countries all over the world. There is so much that I am proud of.
225 W. Vine Street • Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 263-8100 • UnitedWayGMWC.org