Learn more about one of our most dedicated volunteers and Board Vice Chair, Pat Deignan!
Some of United Way of East Central Iowa’s (UWECI) most dedicated volunteers—the Board of Directors—spend a good amount of time behind-the-scenes; working on pushing forward our mission and purpose, providing insight and guidance, and helping us better engage and support our community.
For our second spotlight, we meet Pat Deignan. Pat is UWECI’s FY20 Board Vice Chair. His passion for United Way began more than 30 years ago with his first placement on United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Agency Review Committee; A committee charged with evaluating, reviewing and the ongoing quality assurance of nonprofit partners.
How did you first get involved with United Way?
I was introduced to United Way in 1985 when I started with First Wisconsin National Bank in Milwaukee, WI. I was given a pledge card at my orientation and told to fill it out. So, I did! I’ve been giving money to United Way ever since.
When I was on the Agency Review committee, it quickly taught me about the unique role United Way plays in partnering with local agencies making a difference and about the important work United Way does to ensure resources are wisely used.
Unique to my work here at UWECI, I was on early committee work as UWECI leadership began moving toward a community impact model. Striving to the root cause of a problem and make a difference where it is needed most in our community and can have the greatest impact has been especially rewarding.
Why did you decide to get more involved with United Way over the years?
I strongly believe in the mission of United Way and what it does to collectively support our partners and the quality of life in our community. We all need to do our part.
What are your aspirations for the next year as the Board of Directors Chair?
With a new President and CEO coming onboard in the next few months, I believe it is important for me to help ensure he/she has the resources and support he or she needs to continue to:
1. Deepen relationships with our agency partners,
2. Start growing our annual workplace campaign,
3. And engage the community in a collective conversation about the kind and breadth of services that will lead to the best outcomes for our community.
What is your favorite part about being on the Board?
I love seeing all the great work our agency partners are doing in the community and assisting them in fulfilling their mission.
What causes are you most passionate about? What are your favorite ways to give back to the community?
I’ve always been passionate about mentoring youth and providing role models for young people. I love seeing life skills learned by taking part in sports or arts programing. I particularly love what participation in the arts -- visual, performance based, or simply exposure and art appreciation -- can do to broaden a young mind as to what’s possible in their life. One of the most powerful experiences is seeing young people discovering their “voice” in a choir, on a stage, or in a classroom.
How would you convince your 25-year-old self to get more involved in the community?
You’ll never regret what you learn, meeting the people you do, or how it makes you feel to just give some time and energy to a cause that is beyond yourself.
What would you say is your motto or a quote you like to live by?
When I was 15 years old, I put a copy of Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in The Arena” quote on my mirror in my room. I’ve tried to live that message of jumping in and being a part of rather than an observer to what needs to be done ever since.