United Way

High school students Tessie Guerrero and Marcos Alvarez work together to clean up MLK Jr Boulevard on Saturday morning. The community service event was sponsored by United Way for a Greater Austin and State Representative Dawnna Dukes. 

Photo Credit: Gabriella Belzer | Daily Texan Staff

Hundreds of volunteers gathered at J.J. Seabrook Park on Saturday to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in this year’s cleanup of East MLK Boulevard.

More than 300 people helped rid MLK Boulevard of litter from Airport Boulevard to Springhill Road in the 14th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Clean Up, sponsored by United Way for Greater Austin. The number of volunteers exceeded the 250 recruits expected to be brought in by Hands On Central Texas, the volunteer program of United Way. 

Among the volunteers was Mariela Rubio, government and social work senior. Rubio said she believes the beautification project is a great way to honor Dr. King by giving back to the community and city.

“Not only do we spread a positive message on his behalf, but we are also able to influence our community to join in making a difference,” Rubio said. “It is always nice to see people donate their time and effort to serve their community.” 

Community involvement was one of the vital goals presented by the United Way for Greater Austin for this year’s service project.

“Our vision is for Greater Austin to be a resilient, innovative, philanthropic, creative and thriving community for all,” said Debbie Bresette, the president of United Way for Greater Austin. “What is happening here today supports that vision. I think Dr. King would be proud of Austin and the direction we’re headed.”

Fourteen years ago, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, initiated this event to promote Dr. King’s message of service. 

“This event encourages the conceptual beliefs of Dr. King,” Dukes said. “Dr. King was a catalyst for change in the community, and this service is one of the greatest honors we can provide.” 

Dukes said the annual cleanup and MLK holiday call for all citizens to work together strengthens the community.

“I’m so grateful to see all of these empowered volunteers here today, dedicating their time and energy to honor Dr. King’s vision – a ‘Beloved Community.’”

Making a difference in the community is important to Austin resident Carley Leasure. Leasure and her mother joined the three-hour beautification effort.

“This event provides the opportunity to participate in a great cause and give back to the community,” Leasure said.

Printed on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 as: Hundreds help clean up to honor MLK's legacy 

United Way CEO Brian Gallagher speaks at the Texas Union Theater Tuesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

Students crowded into the Texas Union Theatre Tuesday to listen as Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way, spoke about the importance of mobilizing people and strengthening communities.

United Way is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities and focusing on big issues such as health, education and income, said Chris Schulze, co-chair for the VIP Distinguished Speaker Series. Currently, United Way has 1,800 local affiliates and is represented in 44 countries and territories.

Schulze said the Undergraduate Business Council puts together the VIP Distinguished Speaker Series to host about seven influential business leaders from around the world every year to give students the chance to learn what opportunities and career paths are out there and give them the ambition to make it up the corporate ladder one day.

“There’s a lot of [business students] that do want to go into nonprofit,” Schulze said. “Having Brian Gallagher here to talk about the nonprofit industry as a whole and your corporate and social responsibility as a businessperson, even if you do go into the corporate world, helps you to have it at the back of your mind about always trying to give back.”

When asked if he would recommend nonprofit as a career path for business students, Gallagher said the current generation is lucky because modern day businesses create social entrepreneurship and community value, whereas business in the past lacked community involvement. He said if what someone wants to do is change the human condition in whatever scale, they need only choose the vehicle, whether it be business, government or nonprofit.

“I do what I do because I’ve been doing it my whole life,” said Gallagher. “I want to be a part of changing people’s lives, and I want to do it at scale.”

Gallagher said that one of the biggest innovations United Way is aiming to implement is getting people mobilized and involved in social change.

“If we really are a global community, which obviously I believe we are, then like any strong community you can’t leave the relationship management just to business and just to government. You have to have civil society in it, and you need organizations like ours and others to talk about the future of unities and countries and the world because when we do our job right we’re speaking for individuals,” Gallagher said. “We’re speaking for citizens and that’s important.”

Printed on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 as: Nonprofit jobs interest business majors