United Way's Jayne Thoma, Fil Carini, Mary Lou Young, and Amy Lindner are joined by Site Superindendent Dan Gibbs at the future site of the Johnson Controls Volunteer Center.
March 14, 2018
Written by Katie Kuhn, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
Volunteers transform communities. In 2018, United Way will undergo its own transformation, expanding the capacity of thousands of volunteers to have a real impact on the community with the Johnson Controls Volunteer Center.
The Center, to be located on the ground floor of United Way’s current Schlitz Park location, will expand upon existing volunteer efforts to focus on additional ways for corporations, families, and individuals to give back to their community (renderings shared below).
“The grand opening of the new Center will be just in time for the kickoff of our 2018 Community Campaign,” says Jayne Thoma, vice president of volunteer engagement at United Way. “This new epicenter of community engagement and volunteerism will help us expand our services in response to the growing demand we have seen the past two years and create greater awareness of the importance of giving time and talent to change lives.”
Johnson Controls has made a generous donation of $1 million dollars over three years to ensure the center becomes a state-of-the-art community hub where volunteers can get connected to issues they care about and make a lasting impact on the community.
“We believe in the transformative power of volunteerism—not only for the community being served, but for the volunteers themselves,” says Grady Crosby, vice president public affairs and chief diversity officer at Johnson Controls. “When we strategically work together with good will and without regard for who gets the credit, we can change the trajectory of lives. “
Real Estate Development firm Irgens is generously providing pro-bono design and construction administration services for the center.
“United Way is our favorite philanthropic organization,” says CEO and Manager Mark Irgens. “The entire Irgens team appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the Johnson Controls Volunteer Center project, which will help ensure the future success of United Way and its mission.”
When volunteers enter the Center, they will be immersed in a bright, vibrant space featuring conference spaces for large projects, huddle rooms for group meetings, and kiosks to find future opportunities to give back.
In the Center’s first year, United Way’s Volunteer Engagement team will host a number of signature volunteer events, including a meet ALICE informational event, winter recess food kit packing, financial empowerment seminar, and 2-1-1 awareness day. Additionally, United Way partner agencies will be invited in for trainings around volunteer engagement topics.
One other exciting feature of the center will be “Mary Lou’s Closet,” named for Mary Lou Young, the current United Way CEO, to celebrate her upcoming retirement and recognize her legacy of service and passion to serve local youth. Year-round supply drives will be held to gather basic need items for children in local schools, like winter clothing, health and hygiene items, healthy food, and school supplies.
Most importantly, the Johnson Controls Volunteer Center will create increased capacity to address the community’s most pressing challenges, deeper and more strategic community partnerships and, ultimately, greater opportunity for long-term change.
For ongoing updates, follow United Way on Facebook and Twitter.
Can’t wait for the Volunteer Center to open? Volunteer today!