Money for good causes doesn’t grow on trees. Or does it?
About 500 volunteer rakers will turn leaves into cash during the fourth annual Habitat for Humanity Rake-a-Thon. The goal is to raise $5,000 for Project 20, Habitat’s effort to build at least 20 homes a year in partnership with hard-working local families.
Habitat recruits "neighbors" who are happy to have their lawns raked by teams of volunteers. The neighbors make a donation in the amount of their choosing.
Thanks to an enthusiastic response from the community, Habitat has doubled the number of rakers and neighbors from last year. The growth of this unique fundraiser is a win for the neighbors, volunteers, and Project 20.
“Working with Habitat has not only been fulfilling, but also empowering,” says Jessica Chandrasekhar, a long-term Habitat volunteer. “It connects me with future Habitat homeowners and other volunteers, who are all working towards the common, ultimate goal of bettering the world around us. The Rake-a-Thon furthers this mission by raising awareness of who we are as an organization and of the community that we are trying to build.”
It’s too late to sign up for this year’s Rake-a-Thon, which takes place on Saturday Nov. 19. But Habitat offers many other volunteer opportunities throughout the year. To learn more, visit www.cvillehabitat.org/volunteer.
An Intern’s Life
It’s hard to believe the summer is over so quickly. Here I am at the end of my internship, feeling as though I have just gotten started with my journey at United Way–Thomas Jefferson Area. As the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This is exactly the case with my internship. Having the opportunity to work alongside some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and caring individuals I’ve met has made each day at the office such an enjoyable experience. Each member of the staff welcomed me graciously into the organization and offered me guidance and encouragement throughout my time.
For many years I have considered pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, but I have continued to have my qualms. This internship, however, has affirmed my aspirations toward a nonprofit career and has put my mind at ease. From the start, I was given the opportunity to integrate myself into the United Way’s work and to see how I could fit into the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit organization. The result has been a newfound confidence in the direction I want to head post-graduation. A large part of this confidence has come from the diversity and the satisfaction from the work. Before beginning my internship, I remember talking with Caroline, who told me that one of her favorite aspects of working at a nonprofit is that each day presents her with something new. Her wisdom on the subject proved true as I was assigned numerous tasks and projects on every part of the spectrum.
Often I was asked to research information regarding various subjects – some about programs across the nation that could be replicated here in Charlottesville, others about new technologies that would help our causes, and some concerning ways to improve the efficiency of existing programs at United Way. This provided me with a chance to learn about new subjects, improve my writing, and think critically about how to go from research to reality. Another part of my work was compiling information that was needed for this year’s annual report. Whether it was gathering photos, taking quotes from members of the Board of Directors, or writing brief profiles on featured community members, knowing that I was contributing to a major piece of United Way marketing was an awesome opportunity. Helping to manage the agencies and teams who were registering for the 2015 United Way Day of Caring was extremely rewarding. And, I got to be a guest on the Joe Thomas radio show twice!
Despite the wide range of assignments, I realize that I never truly considered them "work". Each has been a chance to hone my skills or an opportunity to grow and learn while making a difference in the community. The diversity of the job and the daily sense of satisfaction are perhaps the most attractive aspects of nonprofit work - every day is like a fresh start.
There is so much to say about the amazing work United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area does for the local community. I don't think that I could say enough positive things to convey how truly remarkable an impact the United Way has on individual lives here in the area. All I can really say is thank you all for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful organization that works so hard to make this community a better place - I am greatly appreciative.
-Posted by Devon Stribling, United Way intern
United Way Day of Caring Registration Deadline is Next Week!
Are you looking for a way to get your company or group involved in the community? Or, does your nonprofit need volunteers to help complete projects?
The United Way Day of Caring is for you! This amazing community-wide volunteer service day puts 2,000 volunteers to work in almost 200 projects hosted by local nonprofits and schools. The Day of Caring is coming up on September 16, 2015. Registration for volunteer teams and service projects ends on July 24, so sign up today to get involved in this huge community event!
Volunteer Teams - for Companies, Clubs or Other Groups
"I am so tired... and so happy! We got so much done today." That's typical feedback from an exhausted Day of Caring volunteer. Get involved by forming a team! You'll have a wonderful day with your colleagues while making a real difference for a local nonprofit or school.
To sign up a team, simply email
with your team name, team leader name, team leader email address and an estimated number of volunteers for your team. Note to UVA Teams; please also indicate if your team is from the Academic or Health Systems side.
Nonprofit and Schools
Don't miss out on this opportunity to have energetic, eager, and SKILLED volunteers come into your organization on Setpember 16 to design a database, paint a room, plant a garden, teach your clients how to use social media, assemble a mailing - or whatever you need. There are so many ways to plug volunteers into your organization for a half day or full day project to make a lasting impact! Our nearly 2,000 volunteers have numerous skills and interests, so BE CREATIVE when you plan your projects.
Don't miss this chance to be part of something BIG! Register your team or project today, and no later than July 24.
On Saturday, May 9, 2015, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will collect food donations left at the mailboxes of generous citizens to provide assistance to the millions of Americans struggling with hunger. In our greater Charlottesville community, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive benefits the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
Locally, the Letter Carriers partner with the United Way and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Volunteers from the Civil Air Patrol Monticello Composite Squadron will spend long hours sorting the food.
This week I’ve been hanging out with Michael McKee, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, as we’ve been promoting the Drive. He told me, “Stamp Out Hunger is one of the most important food drives of the year because it generates a rich supply of nutritious food at a time when food donations are typically at their lowest. And, school is nearly out for summer, and that means that families with children who rely on school breakfasts and lunches will be in even greater need. We need a strong response to Stamp Out Hunger so that we can stock our shelves for June.”
Wonder what foods are great to donate to the food drive? Here are a few non-perishable food items requested by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank:
Canned Fruits & Veggies
No glass, please!
“They’re not like we were!”
“They pay attention to their phones, not to people.”
“They only care about themselves!”
Not Emily! Emily just turned 7 years old (Happy Birthday!!), and, like most kids, had a
birthday party with friends. Like most kids, she thought that she might get a few presents. But Emily decided that she already had plenty of things, and knew that so many other kids don’t get enough to eat, or have a bed of their own to sleep in.
So, instead of presents, Emily asked her friends to make a donation to the United Way. Her mom, Amanda, is on our board and has obviously set a great example of service to others for her daughter.
They may be different from us when we were kids, but isn’t every generation? These kids today are more kind and generous than ever! We could all learn a lesson in generosity from Emily.
Thank you, Emily.
Don't think you will have your taxes filed by April 18th?
Five Things to Know if You Need More Time to File Your Taxes.
That dreaded deadline is upon us! If you know two days won’t get you where you want to be with your tax filing, the IRS offers an automatic six month extension. Courtesy of the IRS, here are five things to know about filing an extension:
1. Use IRS Free File to file an extension. You can use IRS Free File to e-file your extension request for free. Free File is only available through IRS.gov. You must e-file the request by midnight on April 18. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free
2. Use Form 4868. You can also request an extension by filling out Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must mail this form to the IRS by April 18. Form 4868 is available on IRS.gov/forms at any time.
3. More time to file is not more time to pay. An extension to file will give you until October 15 to file your taxes. It does not give you more time to pay your taxes. You still must estimate and pay what you owe by April 18 to avoid a late filing penalty. You will be charged interest on any tax that you do not pay on time. You may also owe a penalty if you pay your tax late.
4. Use IRS Direct Pay. The safe, fast and easy way to pay your tax is with IRS Direct Pay. Visit IRS.gov/directpay to use this free and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account. You also have other electronic payment options. IRS will automatically process your extension when you pay electronically. You can pay online or by phone. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Electronic-Payment-Options-Home-Page
5. IRS helps if you can’t pay all you owe. If you can’t pay all the tax you owe, the IRS offers you payment options. In most cases, you can apply for an installment agreement with the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov. You may also file Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. If you can’t make payments because of a financial hardship, the IRS will work with you.
More questions: Visit these IRS You-Tube videos for more information:
Welcome to Free File – English
Click here for more information on the United Way’s free tax preparation program.
There is a saying that goes something like: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day.” That is how I feel about my nine years with United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area. When you are passionate about the cause, and work with bright, fun, committed people who you respect, then life is indeed very good.
I fully expected to stay in this job I love for many more years, but a looming empty nest and my husband’s long commute to Lexington every day changed the equation. Beginning February 9, I will be the Assistant Director for Programs and Conferences at VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics. In tying up nine years of work here, I’ve had time to reflect on what a special experience it has been.
For me, our United Way is the amazing staff and very engaged board members I’ve worked with every day. It is also the many, many relationships we have in this community with people who work at other nonprofits, schools and businesses. This organization is never satisfied with the status quo, and is constantly trying to find the most efficient, effective and practical ways to address many needs in this community. That is what makes it so dynamic – we embrace change and are always looking forward.
Charlottesville is blessed to have so many caring and committed people working in the nonprofit sector, and I am proud to have been associated with an organization that accomplishes so much by collaborating with so many people. I cherish the many relationships I have made through our deep roots in this community.
I am going to miss my United Way family. My own sons have grown up volunteering here – from helping with our office clean up days and dump runs with our pickup truck, to happily driving golf carts all day when we held our golf tournament. Our office is the definition of a family friendly employer – we have had 4 “office babies” come to work with their mothers during my time here. “Family first” is the motto that takes much stress away when dealing with ailing parents or sick kids.
I’m pretty proud to have led our United Way Day of Caring this past year, and also of the ongoing legacy of our Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair, which started as my Leadership Charlottesville team project six years ago. We’ve done so many fun things over my years here – including a one–time appearance in the Dogwood Festival Parade as the United Way Segway Drill Team! I love planning and running special events like these, which is why I was attracted to my new position at VMI.
If you find yourself in Lexington, look me up. If you are a history buff, it is a great place to visit – the town, VMI and Washington and Lee are all steeped in history. I would love to show you around!
It has been a wonderful ride!