Find and Support Your Local United Way

Author: Mei Cobb

Mei Cobb

Mei Cobb

Mei Cobb is Director, Volunteer & Employee Engagement at United Way Worldwide headquartered outside of Washington, DC.   United Way is a global network with a presence in 41 countries and has 1800 local organizations.  United Way advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. Prior to her work at United Way, Mei served as Senior Vice President for the Points of Light Foundation, founded in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush.  Mei led all programming and was in charge of Infrastructure Development & Delivery Systems.  During her fifteen year tenure with the Foundation, her responsibilities included the development of and partnership with the 350 local affiliates of the Volunteer Center National Network.  In addition, her portfolio included corporate volunteering, youth and family volunteering, international and disaster volunteering.  Mei is also a partner with VIP GlobalNet and an international consultant and trainer on volunteering.  She is a strong advocate for the leadership role Volunteer Centers play to help impact serious social problems in local communities throughout the world.  She has consulted, designed and conducted training in 21 countries on 6 continents.  She most recently worked with the Emirates Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. Earlier in her career, Mei was Vice President, Volunteer Services at the United Way of San Diego County and worked at the United Way of Escambia County and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

For a Good Life: Volunteer!

07/30/14


What’s a great way to help ensure healthy, active, and independent living throughout your life? Volunteering. Contributing to your family, peers and community by volunteering is important at every age. When individuals volunteer, they not only help their community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of greater longevity, higher levels of functioning or lower rates of depression.

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Mandela Day:  A Day to Remember and Volunteer around the World

07/18/14


July 18 is the birthday of the late Nelson Mandela.  Across the globe, he will be remembered for his sacrifices for and leadership in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and his commitment to service.  Volunteers celebrate this legacy on “Mandela Day”, which was created in 2009 to inspire people to serve as he did and as he urged others to do. This year the call to serve on July 18 has inspired over 1,000 activities in 126 countries.  While the activities are as diverse as the volunteers, many of them will focus on this year’s theme of food security.

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Tapping in to Next Generation Volunteers and Leaders

07/10/14


Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. What can we do to improve education in our communities? Pledging to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor is one way to help children and youth achieve their potential. Another is to tap into the energy of motivated teenagers and help them understand how to contribute to early grade education.

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Passion for a Cause: Millennials Want to Work and Volunteer Together

07/07/14


Employers take note. One-third of millennials surveyed said that their companies’ volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job, 39 percent said that it influenced their decision to interview, and 55 percent said that such policies played into their decision to accept an offer.

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How United Way Spells VOLUNTEER in Romania

07/03/14


Last month hundreds of United Ways across the U.S. and the world brought thousands of volunteers together in a worldwide Day of Action on June 21. 

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VISTAs Rally Volunteers to Support Summer Learning

07/01/14


United Way has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service to bring the talent and commitment of AmeriCorps VISTAs to United Way to help students across the country succeed in low-performing schools. Here’s the first of many updates about their great work.

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Good News on Day of Action: United Way Sees Volunteering on the Rise

06/21/14


June 21 is the 7th annual United Way Day of Action, a day when people across the globe volunteer with United Way to make their corner of the world a better place for all.

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Volunteers Teach and Learn to Help Improve Financial Stability

06/13/14


United Way Day of Action brings volunteers together throughout the world to help shore up the building blocks of a good life: Education, Income, and Health. Day of Action underscores that we are all connected and interdependent. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, when people are healthy. More

Day of Action Mobilizes Volunteers to… Be Active

06/10/14


What better way to volunteer – and to work toward helping people live healthier lives -- than to be active on Day of Action? More

Volunteering, Service and Democracy

05/19/14


Volunteers have shaped the U.S. since its founding and continue to contribute to its protection and prosperity. Benjamin Franklin believed that citizen service was essential to our democracy and founded our country’s first volunteer fire agency. Clara Barton led volunteers to help the wounded in the Civil War and later created the American Red Cross. Jane Addams’ settlement house movement led to significant social reforms for the urban poor.

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Volunteer and Celebrate Older Americans

05/16/14


Did you know that older adults are at a much higher risk of unintentional injury than the rest of the population? You can help seniors live more stable and healthier lives by volunteering with United Way throughout the year but especially in May, which is Older Americans Month. More

What Kind of Social Change Agent Are You?

05/12/14


When it comes to advancing the common good, are you a Purposeful Participant, a Social Change Spectator, or something else altogether? And if you work with volunteers, would you like to know more about Ultracommitted Change-Makers and others who are likely to get involved with your cause? More

Volunteer to Thank Teachers

05/05/14


Whether your teachers sparked an interest in something that turned into your career, inspired a lifelong love of reading, or encouraged you when you faltered, teachers deserve our appreciation every day. Here are a few ideas for saying thank you to teachers that you and other volunteers could consider doing during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9, 2014.

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Volunteers Can Bring “Tears of Joy” During Tax Season

04/14/14


Preparing tax returns can be stressful, but for a special group of people, tax season is a joyful time of year. Free tax-preparation programs for eligible people rely on volunteers from January through “Tax Day” to help maximize tax benefits and incentives for families who could use a boost. More

Kids Volunteer to Change the World

04/10/14


You don't need to wait until you grow up to change the world. Children and teens are creating change every day by volunteering. On Global Youth Service Day, April 11-13, 2014, 800+ partners—United Ways, schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, volunteer and national service programs, government agencies, and other individuals—are coming together to activate young people to improve their communities.  More

United Way Celebrates National Volunteer Week

04/07/14


Volunteers are an essential part of United Way’s work to advance the common good. During National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, we celebrate hundreds of thousands of United Way volunteers across the U.S. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteering and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership. More

A Volunteer Reflects on Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi

04/03/14


In this final Alternative Spring Break blog post, Iowa State's Nick Kettelkamp shares his experience volunteering at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, MS. More

A Volunteer Reflects on Alternative Spring Break

04/02/14


Molly Schlagel, a junior at Purdue University, recounts her experience as a volunteer with United Way of South Mississippi, during this year's Alternative Spring Break. More

Con Voluntarios, Sí Se Puede. With Volunteers, It Can Be Done.

03/31/14


Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union and fought for the rights of voiceless and disenfranchised working men and women. U.S. cities and counties have declared March 31 a holiday in honor of this great American, and Cesar Chavez Day is an official state holiday in Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break - Day 3

03/21/14


Purdue University's Kara Collier shares her experience as a volunteer during Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi, Mississippi. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break – Day 2

03/20/14


Learn more about the power of United Way’s Alternative Spring Break in Biloxi, Mississippi from Stacey Kraucunas. Stacey is nineteen and from Connecticut. This is her story. More

Reflections from Alternative Spring Break - Biloxi, MS

03/19/14


Nearly two-dozen college students are in South Mississippi this week as part of United Way’s Alternative Spring Break Program. They came to provide families and individuals with opportunities for a better life, here is a story from one of the participants. More

The Volunteer Spirit in the Digital Age

03/18/14


When disaster strikes, people want to help. Whether they are near or far from the disaster site people want to do what they can. Many times there isn’t anything that can be done when you are far away. But that’s changing. More

Spring Break Alternatives: Have Fun While Giving Back

03/13/14


In some parts of the U.S., “spring break” conjures up images of swim suit-clad college students enjoying warm weather and getting away from it all. More and more students, however, are trading in their swim suits for tool belts and finding that giving back during spring break is just as fun. They have discovered United Way’s Alternative Spring Break. More

Celebrate International Women’s Day

03/08/14


International Women's Day (IWD), which has been observed since the early 1900s, is celebrated annually on March 8. This year, thousands of events are planned to inspire women, celebrate their achievements and identify ways to help create more women leaders. More

Looking on the Bright Side of the New Volunteering Data

03/06/14


While it is troubling that a new report indicates that Americans are volunteering less than they have in over a decade, it is reassuring that United Way’s most recent volunteer data show that we have experienced a 10-year growth in volunteers. More

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Join United Way to Read Across America

03/02/14


“You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." So said Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. It is clever phrasing for such an important task. Reading to children is one of the best things we can do to help them get on and stay on a path to a good life. More

Engaging Employee Volunteers

02/26/14


Civic engagement is on the rise in corporate America, according to the results of the 2013 The Civic 50 survey. More businesses are giving employees the opportunity to volunteer with community organizations and finding that it simultaneously increases their bottom line and employee satisfaction. More

Share the Love – Through Volunteering

02/10/14


This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week with Valentine’s Day on the 14th.  It’s a time to “share the love” and to step up our random acts of kindness.   I am all for candy, flowers, notes and cards, but I really love how United Way finds other ways to bring joy into people’s lives now and throughout the year.

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Meet Me in St. Louis – or Anywhere—to Volunteer

02/04/14


Millions of Americans came together around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in a day of service to honor the memory of Dr. King. United Way of Greater St. Louis, with support from Points of Light and the Corporation for National and Community Service, launched a series of activities both to honor Dr. King and to inspire a new commitment to serve among the citizens of St. Louis.

Photo courtesy of Saint Louis University Libraries 

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Cheer for the Winning Team

01/31/14


Whether you’re going for the Broncos or Seahawks, love the game itself or just tune in for the commercials, the Super Bowl is an amazing event. An estimated 100 million people will watch the game this year. But I already know the winning team. More

January is National Mentoring Month

01/13/14


January is National Mentoring Month, but any time is a good time to remember an adult who made a difference in your life.  When you were younger, did a teacher, a coach, or another adult give you confidence to succeed? Or perhaps, once you started working, was it a colleague who took an interest in your success? Take a moment to thank them, especially on January 16, 2014, which is Thank Your Mentor Day.

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National United Way Program Creating Impact through Volunteers

01/09/14


United Way issues the call early and often to everyone to “Volunteer” to promote education, income and health. United Way’s Education AmeriCorps VISTA Project is one example of how we also work with national partners and at the local level to make measurable progress in improving lives through volunteers that we train and support. More

Make a Resolution to Volunteer

12/30/13


Thinking about making resolutions for 2014? We all know that many people resolve to improve themselves (e.g., lose weight, eat better), so I was surprised to learn that a University of Scranton study found that one of the most common resolutions is “help others in their dreams.” More

Family Volunteering – Now and Throughout the Year

12/18/13


Some family holiday traditions include serving meals to the needy, donating and distributing gifts and other kinds of volunteering. Volunteering is a great way for families to spend more time together during the holidays and throughout the year. More

Exploring Volunteering and Youth Development 7,000 Miles from Home

12/09/13


Recently I participated in the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development’s first ever Philanthropy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The summit brought together philanthropic, corporate and government representatives to learn from each other and debate how to better channel our collective resources to advance the common good. More

Celebrate International Volunteer Day

12/05/13


December 5th is International Volunteer Day. Established in 1985 by the United Nations, International Volunteer Day is a chance to celebrate and thank volunteers worldwide, and increase awareness of the value of volunteers. More

Volunteering During the Holidays

11/21/13


The holiday season is here – and with it are opportunities to spend time with family, take days off from work and, often, a greater sense of wanting to help those in need. So the holidays should be a great time to volunteer, right? More

Volunteer to Make A Difference

10/27/13


For more than 20 years, USA WEEKEND Magazine has sponsored Make A Difference Day. Scheduled on Saturday, October 26, 2013, millions of volunteers from around the world will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others. More

Volunteer to be Prepared

09/19/13


September is National Preparedness Month in the United States. National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. FEMA's Ready Campaign offers a wealth of information to help all of us prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters like hurricanes and other major storms, and potential terrorist attacks. More

On 9/11, Even the Smallest Act of Service

09/11/13


"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11," said President Barack Obama on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

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What Are Employee Volunteer Programs?

08/26/13


It can be tough to plan a volunteer effort that benefits your employees. But, with the right partner, finding and executing meaningful volunteer opportunities that help achieve strategic business goals is easier than one might think. More

How to Find Places to Volunteer

08/16/13


Use these six steps to find the right volunteer opportunity. More

Five Great Reasons for High School Students to Volunteer

08/09/13


Is your teen looking for something to do this summer? Introduce them to community volunteer work. Whether they team up with friends or volunteer solo, they’ll gain new skills they can use in the future, learn more about what they enjoy doing and build stronger communities in the process. More

Mandela Day Inspires Volunteers throughout the World

07/18/13


Nelson Mandela once said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead." More

Can Volunteering Help You with Your Job Search?

07/15/13


An email came across the other day with a subject line that read “Can Volunteering Help You with Your Job Search?” I knew that we all learn new skills through volunteering and certainly the connections we make can help lead us to future employment. But what I took as common knowledge hadn’t ever been proven, until now. More

7 Days to SERVE

06/10/13


Calling Corporate America! Looking for a way to energize employees and give back to your communities? Consider a day, or even a week, of employee volunteering. More

Happy National Volunteer Week!

04/22/13


National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate our friends, neighbors and colleagues who give of their time and talent to advance the common good. More

Volunteering – the Secret to a Long Life?

02/18/13


At age 96, Fred Egley is not your average volunteer. In addition to spearheading two World War II memorials in Norfolk, Nebraska, Fred has been an active volunteer with his church, from fundraising to painting the exterior when he was in his 80s. More

What are you doing for others?  Volunteer on the National Day of Service

01/18/13


As we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we recall his words, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" More

The 10th Annual Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award

12/05/12


The Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) of Atlanta recently announced the winner of the 2012 Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award at the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Decatur Book Festival. This festival is the largest independent book festival in the country. More

What Would Gandhi Say?

10/01/12


October 2nd is a national holiday in India commemorating the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. It may have another designation soon, as Indian business, government and nonprofit leaders recently signed a petition to President Pranab Mukherjee to establish October 2nd as "National Volunteering Day".  These leaders recognize that India’s future depends on volunteers, whose time, minds and muscles can speed the pace of development in their country of more than one billion people.

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Let’s Play

09/27/12


“Education.” Many of us automatically think “school” when we hear that word. But learning happens everywhere, especially for young children. And in our effort to cut the number of high school drop outs in half, United Way supports early childhood learning in diverse ways: through reading programs, book drives of course, but also in parks and on playgrounds. More

On 9/11, Do a Good Deed

09/10/12


The National Day of Service & Remembrance is observed on 9/11 each year. Last year more than 30 million people volunteered or found other ways to connect with their communities and loved ones on 9/11 Day. More

Labor Days of Action with United Way

08/31/12


In the United States, we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September to recognize the economic and social contributions of working men and women. This Labor Day, I’d like to recognize two groups of union members who are volunteering in support of United Way initiatives. More

High School Hoops Stars Give Back

07/24/12


On Friday, July 13th 2012 United Way had the pleasure of coordinating a service project for a great group of high school basketball players. The 10 young men were in the Washington, DC area to take part in Nike’s Global Challenge, an international tournament featuring the best high school players from around the world. More

Any Day is Volunteer Day

07/19/12


Nelson Mandela Day

July 18 is Nelson Mandela Day – when we’re asked to spend 67 minutes in service in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of fighting for human rights. The concept is the same as United Way’s Day of Action (June 21) and International Volunteer Day (December 5) and many other days United Ways participate in: choose a meaningful day and issue a call to volunteer on that day.

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Life Changing Anniversaries

07/18/12


As I write this we’re expecting our 6th day of 100 degrees or warmer this summer – part of a nationwide heat wave. Appropriately enough, NBC Nightly News recently reported on the 110th anniversary of the air conditioner and how it “changed our lives forever.” More

Thanks, Dad (and other men who care about kids)!

06/15/12


Father’s Day is coming up. No doubt lots of kids will be going on a special outing with their dad, or creating gifts, or even giving their father the old stand-by gift, a necktie. But since so many children don’t have the means to celebrate like this with their fathers, United Way of Northern New Jersey hosts an annual gift drive. More

The Gift of Graduation

06/01/12


For lots of families like mine, it is graduation season. This can be such a joyful time for the students and their families alike. I am so proud and grateful that my son is graduating from high school and looking forward to attending college. I also am grateful that my son had not only my husband and me to help him work hard to succeed in school, but also wonderful teachers, coaches, and other adult mentors. More

A Week for the Strong

04/17/12


It’s National Volunteer Week in the U.S., April 15-21, 2012. This special week, established in 1974, is a time to celebrate, honor and thank millions of volunteers across the country for giving their time and talent to help so many. Volunteering is what makes our country strong. More

In Celebration of Women

03/08/12


Did you know that today is International Women’s Day and an official holiday in 27 countries? While we don’t officially observe International Women’s Day in the U.S., we do observe the achievements of women during the entire month of March, which is designated as Women’s History Month both here and in the United Kingdom. More

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Happy Reading Everyone!

02/20/12


"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." From The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. March 2nd marks the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Could there be a better day to celebrate the joys of childhood reading? And can you think of a better way to celebrate than to read to a child on that day?

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Books and Encouragement

01/30/12


The Library of Congress recently named Walter Dean Myers its new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The position was created to raise awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of their lives. More

A Tax Season to Look Forward to

12/21/11


Wouldn’t it be great to help families receive the tax benefits they are due? Many United Ways across the country offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a successful, proven strategy that mobilizes and trains volunteers to provide free tax service to working individuals and their families. VITA assists taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet by saving them the cost of tax preparation and helping them claim all tax credits for which they are eligible. More

The 12 Days of …….Caring!

12/13/11


Looking for ways to give back to your community this holiday season but don't know how? Having trouble finding the perfect holiday volunteer opportunity? This list of 12 Days of Caring was adapted from a list created by the Student Community Involvement Team at United Way of Larimer County Student Community Involvement Team at United Way of Larimer County as a way to encourage people to make giving back a part of their daily routine.  
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United Way Worldwide Day of Action

12/05/11


Today, December 5th is United Way Worldwide Day of Action and was launched to galvanize volunteers and organizations worldwide around education, financial stability and health issues.  It connects the international network and aligns with the United Nations’ International Volunteer Day, which also occurs on December 5th each year.

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How is volunteering impacting different societies around the world?

11/27/11


How is volunteering impacting different societies around the world?  What do we have in common with them? Find out the answer to this question and more on December 5 when the State of the World's Volunteerism report is launched.

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Holidays Mean Time with Family ? and Time to Volunteer!

11/22/11


Family volunteering teaches positive values to children and can help create a new generation of dedicated volunteers and engaged citizens. More

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Stay Young and Healthy, Volunteer

11/22/11


Research shows volunteering provides not only social benefits, but individual health benefits too. More

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Autumn brings change, be part of the change

11/17/11


Fall is in the air and it's a great time to volunteer by yourself or with your family. Here's a few things to help you get started! More