Shawn Bartelt is a busy lady. Whether she’s bouncing from sales meetings or to her teenager’s school activities, Shawn finds time to be present. She carries that same belief over to her philanthropy and community. We caught up with Shawn, United Way board member, to hear how she manages to do it all.
What inspires your volunteerism?
I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can give back. I think it’s very important. Really, I think that giving committed time is a tremendous gift. I started with mentoring at my kids’ schools with some young students from Haiti. Their mom worked a lot of hours, and they didn’t get to have a present adult as often as they needed. I spent time reading with them and got to see firsthand what a huge difference it makes. Their grades improved significantly and they were more involved in school.
What is a quote that you live by?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss
You served as campaign chair for the United Way 2012-13 campaign. What did you learn from that experience?
I learned a lot, but the main thing was how impactful doing the right things at the right times are. I think one of the great things about the way United Way operates is that the results are measurable. They’re not just throwing money at something and crossing fingers for a better outcome.
It was a tremendous experience to be able to be around a bunch of people who care about the same things, are passionate about making our community a better place, and provide resources for people to grow.
How does the community benefit from the United Way mission?
I look at the United Way like a mutual fund. As a donor, you know the dollars that you’re investing are going into multiple buckets, and being scrutinized to ensure they’re creating the biggest bang. United Way is taking a hard look at the investment in community programs and is making sure that the investment is moving the needle. United Way has a broad portfolio of programs, from hunger and homelessness to education. I like to know that my dollar is going to whichever bucket where support is needed the most.
Being on the inside as a board member, what do others not know about United Way?
I don’t think people realize how efficient United Way is, especially with managing the entire 2-1-1 system. People aren’t aware of how much rigor there is involved in selecting organizations that receive funding. And, finally, the scope. United Way impacts everything from infants to seniors… access to books and mentoring… and a lot in between.
What one word would you use to describe United Way’s impact on Central Florida?
Dynamic – I think it’s dynamic because United Way moves very quickly to address community needs that arise. For as large as it is, it’s nimble and able to move resources in new and creative ways to help Central Florida.