A Conversation with Richard Weis 2000 Greene County
United Way Campaign Chair
Richard Weis, Senior Vice President at the Elano Corporation, and Chairman of the 2000 Greene County United Way Campaign, discusses his views on United Way, the campaign and how the health and human services organization is making an impact in Greene County.

Q1: How did you become involved in the United Way Campaign?

A1: I have been a believer and active supporter of the United Way for over 30 years. In 1999, I served as a volunteer for the Greene County Campaign and simply became immersed in the process. I enjoyed the opportunity to help enhance the quality of life in the community and agreed to lead the effort this year.

Q2: Why do you donate to the United Way?

A2: I donate to the United Way because I believe it is the most effective way to support the community I work in. I've seen many of the agencies in action and I am convinced that my contributions make a positive impact on the lives of many individuals.

Q3: As a business professional, how would you describe the financial integrity of the United Way?

A3: As a business professional, I believe that financial integrity is the heart and sole of the Campaign. Our communities have a host of volunteers who spend their own personal time to review and evaluate the agencies seeking support. These volunteers keep overhead costs low and standards high. The funds that are raised stay right here in our community funding programs that have real results.

Q4: As the 2000 Greene County Chair, what is your primary goal for this year's United Way Campaign?

A4: Our primary goal for this year's campaign is to increase involvement and respect for their United Way Campaign and the agencies it supports. If more people could directly see the positive things these agencies bring to our community, they would become even more supportive and willingly contribute their time and money to the campaign.

Q5: How do you believe United Way impacts our community?

A5: The United Way is an integral part of our community. It's simply a way of demonstrating that people in this community care for one another.

Q6: In what ways has the United Way improved our community?

A6: The United Way has improved our community by establishing a consistent process that allows us to work with government, businesses, and other human service organizations to leverage local resources and multiply the positive impact of every dollar contributed. If each of the agencies had to solicit support or depend on the government it simply would not happen and our community would suffer the consequences.

Q7: What challenges do you see for the United Way and the Greene County community?

A7: The challenge for the United Way and Greene County community is to take the process to the next higher gear. We have been in a progressive mode; however, there is still an obvious opportunity to increase the results of the campaign.

Q8: how do you think United Way is prepared to handle those challenges?

A8: I am a big believer in building on the positives. We already have an active, energetic host of volunteers for this year's campaign. We will depend on those volunteers to "spread the word" and broaden the support for the campaign with their time and their money.

Q9: Why do you think it is important for the business sector to support United Way?

A9: The business sector certainly plays a vital role in the campaign and within the United Way process. There are over 1000 viable businesses within this county and many of them strongly support the campaign. As an example, the Elano Corporation, at which I am employed, has a long history of supporting the United Way. Elano employees recognize the goals of the agencies and support the areas of concern in our community. Who can argue with these objectives? They simply are a natural part of a thriving community. The areas of concern in Greene County are: · Nurturing children for life-long achievement · Empowering residents to improve their community. · Living healthier, coping with illnesses and preventing disease · Meeting basic needs and building skills to earn a living · Strengthening and sustaining positive family relationships · Maintaining independence for the elderly and disabled Once you read and think about these objectives, you say to yourself "this is what life and community is all about!" The United Way works to have a positive impact in all of these areas.

Q10: What are your thoughts on Outcome Based Funding and making agency's accountable for the success of their programs, and why is it so important to our community?

A10: Outcome Based Funding is a positive way of assuring pro-active results. An example that come to mind is the Daybreak Agency that used to measure success based on the number of runaway or homeless teens who spent the night at the shelter. Now they measure their success by the number of kids who find a permanent, stable home.

Q11: What is the most important thing you believe a donor needs to know about his or her gift to the United Way?

A11: The most important thing a donor needs to know about his or her gift is that by making a contribution, they are demonstrating that they care for one another and they recognize the importance of improving the quality of life within their community.

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