Northern Arizona University is helping create the next generation of philanthropic pioneers by establishing a Student Chapter of the United Way at NAU.
The student founders of the organization are part of the university’s new Non-Profit Certificate program, where they are learning what it takes to manage a non-profit.
The leaders of the group have been volunteers for other organizations in the past – from Guatemalan orphanages to wildlife conservation groups – and are enthusiastic about establishing a student chapter to work hand-in-hand with United Way of Northern Arizona.
“I knew a lot about the organization and felt that starting this chapter would be an amazing way to give back to the Flagstaff community,” said Mia Somenek, a business major who is president of the new group. “There are so many students willing to volunteer their time and I believe this chapter will give them the ability to do so.”
The group chose to host a student chapter of the United Way because of its broad mission to support efforts to improve education, financial stability, and health in the community, said Kayla Winters, a finance major and the philanthropy chair for the group.
“It doesn’t just support one cause or organization,” she said. “It has many partners that I’ll have the opportunity to work with.”
Among the projects, the Student United Way is working on are movie nights at a local elementary school, projects with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Flagstaff and fundraising for one of United Way of Northern Arizona’s signature programs, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. DPIL provides a free book every month to children from birth to age 5 to cultivate a love of reading.
The student founders said they would not have been able to launch the group without the guidance and support of the UWNA.