Host Jeremy C. Park talks with Adam Wilczek, Director of Endowment and Donor Engagement with United Way of Greater Nashville, who shares how and why he got involved as a volunteer with the United Way years ago and how his volunteerism led him to become a Board Member, Chairman of the Board, campaign chairman, and now a full-time member of the team. The United Way of Greater Nashville serves to unite the community and mobilize resources so that every child, individual and family thrives. During the interview, Adam talks about some of their key programs, the importance of raising money for nonprofits, the power of volunteerism, their FreeWill services, opportunities to get involved and much more.
- Served in the US Army – While in the Army spent 3 years in Anchorage Alaska and traveled to many areas in that state.
- Also spent 2 years in the Washington DC area.
- After leaving the military, spent 40 years in the medical professional liability industry, working to help physicians avoid being sued by improving patient relations skills.
- Worked with national medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and a number of national specialty societies, such as the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies.
- Lectured to many physician groups in the US, Canada and Europe.
- Business focus created many interesting opportunities, like getting to meet with high profile personnel, such as Ronald Regan, Colin Powell, and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
- Served in senior positions (Sr. VP. COO, etc.) in companies employing me.
Have been involved with the United Way since 1996:
- Served in many leadership positions, such as Board Member, Chairman of the Board and campaign chairman.
- Since 2018 has been involved in building a planned giving program.
- Until late 2019, worked with Williamson County UW. Now employed by the United Way of Greater Nashville, as the two UW’s merged and the combined organization is now known as the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.
Our organization – what we do and why we are important:
- Our mission – We unite the community and mobilize resources so that every child, individual and family thrives.
- Our vision – We envision a community where every person has an equal chance at a bright future.
- Our history – we will celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2022.
- Two main functions:
- Raise money to help fund nonprofits.
- Support volunteer activities
- By the numbers……in 2020 we:
- Brought together 34,000 donors
- From 309 workplaces in 5 counties
- Raising more than $16 Million is workplace giving, plus
- $5.1 Million raised for the Covid Response fund and $11 Million in grants and other funding
- Supported 200 partner agencies.
We raise money from a variety of sources, and support many nonprofits:
- Most of our donors are employees of companies with which we have a relationship:
- Companies run a “campaign” – an organized approach to solicit donations.
- Many companies’ campaigns have creative approaches, to get employees involved.
- For example, one company I worked with had a “Halloween” themed campaign, where employees dressed in costumes during the campaign. I ended up dressed as Ace Freely of KISS.
Some donors are high net worth individuals who can make substantial contributions.
- For example, during a meeting on contributions one high net worth donor wrote a check for $1 Million, placed it on the table and challenged others to do likewise.
- As another example, donors with highly appreciated stock can realize substantial benefit by donating the stock, thereby avoiding capital gains taxes.
Of note, the Tocqueville Society was founded here in Nashville by Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr.
- Composed of donors who contribute over $10,000 in annually to the United Way.
- We have over 460 members in the UW Greater Nashville family.
- There are now 23,000 Tocqueville members worldwide.
Many of our companies provide staff to support volunteer activities. These companies allow employees to volunteer on a variety of community improvement projects while still earning their salaries.
Equally important is the fact we coordinate a number of services, such as:
- VITA – tax preparation for limited income taxpayers.
- 211 – referral of persons in need to the proper agency.
Days of action – volunteer opportunities that highlight our work in the community, such as:
- Stuff the bus – collecting school supplies so that students in our communities have the supplies they need to be ready to learn.
- Give Thanks – collecting supplies and assembling “Give Thanks” boxes filled with food and gift cards that feed a family for the traditional Thanksgiving period.
- The Heart-to-Heart Luncheon – a luncheon which enables individual fundraising.
FreeWill services – facilitating the preparation of a last will and testament.
- Over 80% of people questioned in a recent survey said having a will was an important part of their personal financial plan, but less than 30% said they had one.
- Reasons given was cost (lawyer’s fees, etc.) and time.
- UW Worldwide has an agreement with a company, FreeWill, which provides software that facilitates creation of a legally valid will within about 30 minutes, and at no cost to the donor.
- The same company’s software also aids with other types of donations, such as contribution of highly appreciated stock and IRA rollovers.