DLIB Marketing & Communications Director Dennis Harrington sat down with Rene to talk about his involvement with the Hamilton United Way. Rene has been a board member for a number of years he discusses why the United Way is so important in the community and ways that you (and your place of employment) can get involved.
Briefly explain your history and involvement with the United Way.
My history starts a number of years ago when I joined Dan Lawrie Insurance. I was asked to chair the annual United Way Giving Campaign, which takes place in November. The United Way is really proud that at Dan Lawrie there is over 85% participation in the Giving Campaign. The participants (DLIB employees) are giving to the United Way on a monthly basis and it is quite a success story.
Why did you choose to be involved with the United Way?
I view the United Way as an umbrella organization. The United Way identifies and works with individuals and organizations in the community that are pursing the same values and goals, and uses the money that is raised to support these organizations to have a greater impact in bettering the community.
What does the United Way do within the community?
The United Way is a focal point for many organizations within the community that want to raise money, and to also give to different branches with the community. For example, the United Way gives to the YMCA and Big Brothers and Sisters, which are two major organizations that do tremendous work within the community.
Does your role as a board member for the United Way specifically focus on the Hamilton area?
We have just gone through an amalgamation. Recently, I was involved in the decision to amalgamate the Burlington and Greater Hamilton United Way, with the Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville organizations. This amalgamation will allow us to have a greater impact and be able to bring greater resources to each of these communities.
What is your relationship between being a DLIB employee and a board member for the United Way?
For me personally, because I am in sales, one of the ways I can help the United Way is to identify organizations that might be inclined to run a monthly Giving Program through their employee base, similar to the one we have here at Dan Lawrie.
Why is the United Way important to the Hamilton community?
We all know of individuals within the Hamilton community that are struggling. One of the things that the United Way has done is identify six goals that they want to see accomplished within the community:
Instead of giving to the United Way, why not give directly to the individual organizations within the community?
It is important to understand that the United Way identifies certain organizations that have specific goals and holds those organizations accountable. When an individual donates to a good organization, it is very hard for the individual to hold them accountable. Therefore, by donating to the United Way the organizations that are getting the donation have been vetted and are dedicated to the goals that the United Way has set forward. This ensures that you know your donation will be used properly.
How can people support their local United Way?
If you are interested in getting involved with the United Way don’t hesitate to call them. Also, if you are interested in starting an employee contribution program call me, Rene Papin. I would be more than happy to get the resources to you so that you can get that started.
One final question. Is there a correlation between the Rotary Club pin that you are wearing and the United Way?
The biggest thing is that they both are service organizations, but one of the things I love about Rotary is their motto: “Service Before Self”. I think that if you are living that within the community it means that you are reaching out to others and helping them to have a better life. What I find unique is that the United Way really tries to do that. It’s an umbrella organization that goes into the community and finds organizations that can empower others. I currently sit on the board of the Burlington Rotary Club.