It takes only a short conversation with Jane Garrard to recognize that she thinks in numbers. It’s understandable, given that she’s an accounting major who went on to become a C.P.A. and now a CFO. Managing the books isn’t something people usually associate with philanthropy, but that accounting perspective is one of the things that led to Garrard’s support of Heart of Florida United Way.
How long have you been involved with Heart of Florida United Way?
I moved to Florida from Dallas in 2002, so I’ve been a donor since then. But when you say personally involved, I was asked to co-chair Tupperware’s workplace campaign about six years ago. Tupperware encourages that as both a way to bring out leadership skills that can influence people and to help others understand the importance of giving.
What inspired you to get involved?
Part of Tupperware’s corporate culture is for all its officers to serve on nonprofit boards. I’ve been a member at large of the Women’s Leadership Council since 2008. I joined the board of United Way in 2010, and in 2011 I joined the finance committee. I also joined the host committee for the 2011 Chef’s Gala and served as the behind-the-scenes vice chair of the 2012 and 2013 Chef’s Gala.
What has that progression been like?
It’s been great, I’ve interacted with a lot of smart people who are as interested in building the community as I am. Joining the board also gave me a better understanding of the Investing in Results campaign. Because I’m a financial person, it’s been a pleasure to learn about and then share that United Way has really strong operating controls and financial controls. They manage administrative expenses as a percentage of giving and that’s impressive.
How does United Way fit into Tupperware’s philanthropy?
I can say that the United Way workplace campaign is the only one of its magnitude within our corporate culture. Everyone knows it’s happening and everyone knows we put dollars behind it. When it comes to charitable giving, it’s the second largest effort we have on campus.
What are your personal thoughts on donating versus volunteering?
Right now, I’m a better money giver than time giver, and that’s due to a busy schedule. But as I approach retirement I think about volunteering and I hope to give more time when I retire because I think you get more personal satisfaction from volunteering time, and that’s why I would like more time to do it.
Are you finding a lot of differences between Orlando and Dallas when it comes to the community and its level of involvement?
Orlando is very different from Dallas, but for me, in a very positive way. I spent five years in Dallas and I found it to be a big concrete city. Tupperware acquired the company I worked for in Dallas and transferred me here. I didn’t have near the number of opportunities to be involved in the community or organizations in Dallas that I have here, I think the size of Orlando is part of that. I find that the smaller size provides more opportunity. But I also think that more doors have opened as I have grown professionally because when you’re a CEO or a CFO, you’re more attractive as a board member.
If you met someone who didn’t understand what United Way is about, what would you say to get them on board?
Not only are they good stewards of the money, the whole Investing in Results strategic focus makes sure people understand where the money is going and that it is being carefully measured for impact. I find that unique and exciting. I also think they have a high quality management team.