Year after year, the Birmingham Metro Area is ranked among the most charitable
in the nation, with more than 89% of 2017 tax returns reflecting deductions for donations to charity. To 2019 United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) Campaign Chairman Jeff Stone, this commitment to giving is essential to the very concept of community.
“Philanthropy drives community,” he told Rotaract Club of Birmingham back in September. “It connects people to each other.”
Stone went on to say that philanthropy makes communities stronger and strong communities are good for business. And he would know. In addition to chairing our campaign, he’s Executive Vice President of Brasfield and Gorrie and has been actively engaged with UWCA for more than four decades. His past involvement includes having served as a Visiting Allocations Team (VAT) member, Chairman of the Tocqueville Society and member of the Tocqueville Board of Directors, member of the Campaign Cabinet and board member of various partner agencies. Stone ties all of that together with his job. He believes a successful career and philanthropy go hand-in-hand – and that philanthropy is a great way to set yourself apart in the eyes of the leadership in your company.
“Take it from me as a business leader: company leaders notice your involvement,” Stone said to the young professionals of the Rotaract Club. He called on them to get involved now, rather than waiting until later in their career. This is a founding tenet of UWCA’s Young Philanthropists Society, or YPS.
Current YPS Co-Chair and former VAT member Kevin Cook noted the importance of philanthropy in professional development as well.
“Getting involved in the community helps you become a ‘fixer,’” Cook said. “At the end of the day, problems are problems, and you just have to figure out a way to solve them. The beauty of United Way is that you’re getting that experience while also giving back to the community.”
Former YPS Co-Chair and VAT member Jemison Jones echoed this sentiment by pointing out the potential for networking with like-minded individuals while also exploring causes you’re passionate about. Jones advises, however, that passion is key. “If you’re passionate about it, you won’t feel obligated to do it,” Jones said. “It’s something you’ll enjoy doing, and you’ll make even more of a difference.”
Learn more about YPS by clicking here and discover the difference that philanthropy can make in your own life at any age, as well as the lives of others and the community as a whole. Giving never gets old!