Living United Around The World: Reflections From Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide

Over the past few weeks, major events rocked our communities.  The tragedy in Orlando.  The United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union.  These events, which dominated the news, seem to indicate that our society is becoming more fragmented – and less united.

In such an environment, our work is more important than ever.  Here at the United Way, we measure our success not by profit margin, but by lives improved.  Not by stock price, but by the number of connections we forge.  We fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.

During my recent travels, I took heart in United Way’s ability to mobilize resources and develop the building blocks of strong communities.  In the United Kingdom, I visited a school where our team in Liverpool opened a new reading center for children.  I met with United Way leaders about building a stronger regional network.  And I spoke at a conference of business and thought leaders where I witnessed non-profit managers approach our staff to build new, long-lasting partnerships with us.

Forging partnerships and mobilizing the best resources is fundamental to who we are at United Way.  I saw it again when I went to Medellin, Colombia to attend our Corporate Summit on Early Childhood Development in Latin America and a World Economic Forum meeting on Latin America.  Our Early Childhood summit brought together leaders from the corporate, non-profit and governmental arenas to address one of society’s biggest opportunities: ensuring our children have the tools they need to lead healthy, productive lives.

Many of our initiatives extend across borders.  That’s the beauty of United Way.  We are a worldwide organization with local expertise.  So whether I am in China or Chicago, I look for new opportunities to help United Ways build their networks and find shareable solutions.  And while global events constantly remind us of the challenges we face, I am confident there is no better organization – and no better team – than United Way to strengthen the ties that bind us.

After weeks of travel, it will be great to spend the July 4th holiday weekend back in the U.S. with my family.  I do so knowing that the stakes for our work are high, but also feeling invigorated by the people I’ve met and the progress I’ve seen on the road.

This weekend, whether you are celebrating Independence Day in the U.S., Canada Day in Canada, or simply ready for a few days off in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or Africa, have a safe and enjoyable time.  And thank you for all you do for United Way and for our goal of building strong, healthy communities.

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