By Katie Sobiech
The Young Leader’s Society (YLS) falls under the umbrella of the United Way of Summit County (UWSC). You could call it their “baby”, as it is for a younger crowd, ages 40 and under.
The YLS was established in 1996 “To recognize young leaders who value the importance of philanthropy and who believe in and support the work of United Way. This group exemplifies the best Summit County has to offer in the form of young women and men who share their spirit and resources for the betterment of our community” the YLS website http://www.uwsummit.org states.
YLS provides a great way to get involved and have a positive impact in the community through financial support and volunteer activities.
What it Looks Like
“It’s an affinity group for United Way donors at the leadership level,” Jennifer Eckhoff, Director of Resource Development at the UWSC and Staff Liaison to YLS, said.
YLS donors support the United Way Campaign, which funds local non-profit programs to improve the city.
There are different giving options and the price point changes depending on one’s age.
Top Shelf Citizens
“It’s so impressive and says so much about our community that we have a really wonderful group of young professionals here in Akron and the surrounding communities,” Eckhoff said.
There are currently 120 members enrolled.
“You realize that people are just getting started in their careers and that they have the capacity to give and realize how important it is to give back to the community and support these programs. We really have an amazing group of young professionals that want to invest in Summit County and make it a better community for all of us,” she continued.
What it Involves
Levels of activity in the program depend on each individual’s preference.
“It depends on how involved the individual wants to be. We offer various events throughout the year that members can attend. We do social activities, we have volunteer projects. One of our big ones is our ‘Day of Action’,” Eckhoff said.
“It’s a day in June every year where we gather people from across the community to go out and volunteer. We have a lot of different companies and groups that sign up and everyone goes out on the same day to do projects across the Summit County community,” she continued.
The entire YLS group goes to the same non-profit center to volunteer as a group on that day.
“It really depends on what the member is interested in and what the committee is interested in doing that year,” Eckhoff explained.
Seeing is Believing
They also do “Seeing is Believing” tours throughout the year.
“We get together as a group and tour an agency that is supported with United Way funding. It’s a chance to meet the people at that organization, see the programs that are impacted by the funding and why they’re so important to the community. It’s great for members to see the end result- where the money is going and what it is accomplishing,” Eckhoff said.
“It’s also great for prospective members to get involved to see if this is something they would choose to do. (They get to see) where the money goes and what kind of things it could do,” she continued.
Philanthropist of the Year
One of their biggest projects at the moment is their Young Philanthropist of the Year award.
“The award is going to recognize a young professional in Akron based on their financial support of the United Way and their commitment to organizations throughout the community,” Eckhoff explained.
“We just opened up the nominations for that, so if there’s anyone you know to make a nomination you can get that information on our website. That’s our big focus at the moment,” she continued.
They are also looking for new members. Many of their events are open to prospects just wanting to get an idea of what they do.
“We’re always looking to educate more people about what great things are going on in the community and we’re always happy to get new people involved,” Eckhoff said.
To find out more about the YLS please visit http://www.uwsummit.org for more info.