This post contains updates made in October 2021.
Board of Directors member, Katina Asbell, shares why she believes in United Way of Greater Atlanta and why she decided to become a Legacy Leader.
What do you think is the most important thing United Way of Greater Atlanta does?
The United Way is collective impact at its best! With over 16,000 volunteers, relationships that span the corporate, faith based, government and other NGO entities across metro Atlanta the United Way is able to lead and direct positive and lasting change.
When did you start giving?
I have been giving to United Way for 8 years. I began giving when I was introduced to a group of donors who seemed so passionate about the United Way and its work the vibe was contagious. Even before I truly understood the amazing success and the breadth of services for which United Way is responsible, I began giving simply because people I trusted were giving and volunteering. I thought, “If the United Way is where other top leaders choose to put their philanthropic dollars then there must be solid and tangible results for them to continue to do so”. As I began to understand the United Way more intimately through volunteering at events with my children, volunteering on the TWLC cabinet and meeting the devoted staff, I knew this was an organization I wanted to support for as long as I am able. Through collective impact the United Way is able to discover and implement sustainable changes that positively effects the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens.
What inspires you most about the work of United Way of Greater Atlanta?
The homeless vet who now has a home. The child who has food for the summer. The pregnant mother who has access to health services. The survivor of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking who has received mental and physical health services plus job training and is now a successful legal assistant. The grandmother on limited income who called 2-1-1 for help with holiday gifts for her grandchildren. This is what inspires me to give. The single success stories that would not have been possible without the support of United Way. I have seen firsthand my donor dollars at work and realize the impact of what I give is multiplied 10x’s over because of the precise and thoughtful way the United Way invests on my behalf.
What prompted you to create your plans and include United Way?
Passion first and foremost. I believe in the work of the United Way, and I believe in the people guiding the work. Secondarily, it made financial sense. I am a Tocqueville leadership level donor which means I give $10,000 or more annually. With staff support and through United Way I researched a $250,000 life insurance policy annual premium. It so happened that the premium was about the same as my annual donation so the decision was made. I could donate the same amount annually for 5 years ($50,000) and at the end of that payment period have a fully funded life insurance policy for which United Way of Greater Atlanta is named the beneficiary. Upon my death United Way of Greater Atlanta will receive non-restricted funds of $250,000.
What do you hope your gift will accomplish?
I hope that my gift will be used to support new and innovative solutions. This is why I choose to place my policy distribution dollars into the Child Well Being fund and not to limit how they might be used. If COVID has taught us anything it is that we do not know what the future holds. Having non-restricted funds on hand has allowed United way of Greater Atlanta to pivot and help the City of Atlanta distribute Federal Relief dollars to thousands of community members who found themselves on the verge of homelessness. United Way also identified a gap between those who were receiving rental assistance and those who were being assisted with true homelessness. It came to light that there was a gap in the services available for those who fell “in between” these 2 spaces. Those who were in weekly rental motels had no options for support. Due to the fact United Way had unrestricted Child Well-Being funds on hand we were able to start the Motel to Home program and serve an even greater number of our metro area families in need. These programs and ideas did not exist in early 2020 but they do now. What will come after I pass away is anyone’s guess but at least United Way will have dollars with which to serve the community in that future moment and based on the urgent needs of the day.
What would be your advice to others considering becoming Legacy Leaders?
Run the numbers! Honestly, in most cases for leadership level donors under 60 who are committed to United Way of Greater Atlanta, this just makes good financial sense.