Candice Dempsey has been giving for a decade – and is just getting started. The UPS sales manager says her interaction with United Way began 15 years ago through a standard workplace campaign, but with each passing year, she has become more active as a volunteer and donor.
Dempsey has been a Humanitarian-level donor for nearly a decade. Humanitarian Society donor contributions (donations of $1,000 to $9,999) typically represent 25 percent of the campaign total each year. The generous support of Humanitarians joins the contributions of all donors to facilitate United Way’s work as a change agent to ensure kids succeed in school and healthy families and individuals achieve and maintain financial stability, all as a means of combating the effects of generational poverty.
“UPS is a major contributor to United Way; when I started working there 15 years ago, I signed up for the payroll deduction,” Dempsey said. “Over the years, I began volunteering at United Way events. When you see what they do, you see the impact.”
Children and education are specific passions for Dempsey. She volunteers at the annual United Way pancake flip, which in 2015 fed more than 10,000 students in 25 CMSD schools in the United Way Wraparound program. The strategy incorporates social services within low-performing “Investment Schools,” enabling teachers and principals to concentrate on academics, address the social needs of students to clear learning barriers, and engage families and community members in our children’s success.
“United Way’s efforts in education and children services align with my focus,” she said. “And as you get more involved, you see more of that need. You realize how important monetary and volunteer donations are.”
During the holiday season, Dempsey and her co-workers adopted a family for Christmas, providing not only presents and holiday cheer but something more fundamental: nine beds for the kids in the family, who were sleeping on the floor.
“When you see those kids’ faces, it means everything,” said Dempsey, who is raising four children with her wife. “That’s why you do it. And every time I get involved and see the impact on the recipients, that need to give and that passion to volunteer just grows.
That impact is particularly evident with children.
“We delivered the presents and beds on Christmas Eve, and saw these nine kids in this house, with the bare minimum, not clean,” she said. “And I wonder, ‘How do these kids have the self-esteem and confidence to get off the floor and get to school every day? How do they pay attention?’ And you can say what you want about the parents’ choices, but these kids are born into this, they have no choice. If we can impact one of those kids, just in that family, it can change everything.”
Dempsey said she knows there are countless choices for her time and donations, but she is committed to helping kids, and United Way is a primary driver for her.
“Until you get involved, you don’t know where your passion and compassion lie,” she said. “For me, its children and education, and that’s one of the most attractive things about United Way; it covers so many areas for kids, from trauma to school attendance