March 12, 2020
Emerging Leaders Society Spotlight: Co-chairs Katelyn Pushard and Kristin Grant answer 5 questions
1. What has been your most impactful giving experience?
Katelyn: My most impactful giving experience was volunteering in a buddy program for adults with disabilities in my first year in college. The experience was so powerful for me that I ended up changing majors and schools in order to focus my education on helping people with special needs.
Kristin: By far, the experience of delivering the donations raised from the ELS drives at the campaign kickoff/wrap-up events has been overwhelming. Both seeing how many folks in our community want to give of both their dollars, and of physical goods, at the level in which they do, is pretty touching, but even more so, seeing the reaction of the benefitting organizations makes it even more meaningful. I will never forget the first drive ELS conducted for Bridging the Gap, and seeing the community respond in full-force, filling two vehicles worth of items. None of us were fully prepared for that level of support from the community.
2. How are you teaching philanthropy to your community?
Katelyn: I am teaching philanthropy to my community by example. I have been donating for as long as I have been working in this community. I think we always wish we could give more but I always try to do as much as I can to support others while also still being able to support myself and my family. I also run the employee campaign each year at my organization and do my best to inspire others to give to the cause as well. A little bit from a lot of people equals a huge impact on our community. Lastly, I try to teach my children about giving back as early as possible, so that they understand the importance of helping those in need.
Kristin: As a Kennebec Savings Bank employee, philanthropy and community giving is a major staple in what makes our organization great. With that, I personally try to teach philanthropy by doing, as in, volunteering whenever and wherever I can, and showing the younger members of our community that it is never too early to start giving back to the communities in which we live and work.
3. What is the most important aspect of the Emerging Leaders Society?
Katelyn: I think the most important aspect the Emerging Leaders Society is providing the opportunity to give back to our community in more than one way. We might not be able to make an enormous monetary contribution, but we can combine that with volunteering our time and learning about community needs.
Kristin: The most important aspect of the Emerging Leaders Society is really the connections that you make with other likeminded people in the Kennebec Valley region. It is a welcoming group of “next-generation” leaders in the philanthropic sphere of our community, and it offers a laid-back environment to connect with others as well as do something good for our community.
4. Why did you join United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society?
Katelyn: I joined United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society because I have always been a supporter of the mission and wanted a way to be able to do more than what I was able to do monetarily.
Kristin: Having been a part of the Kennebec Valley community for the majority of my life, I joined the United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society to make more connections in my community, and find new ways to give of my time and my dollars to help those in need wherever and whenever possible.
5. In 5 years, what specific issue do you hope will be reduced or resolved due to your involvement in the community?
Katelyn: In 5 years, I am not sure that I will be able to reduce or resolve any specific issues in the community. I do hope that I can make a difference for multiple individuals or families, that I can make their life a little bit easier or better because of an extra dollar I gave or an extra minute I spent trying to help them out.
Kristin: In five years, I would love to see better, more affordable options for childcare, child homelessness, and food insecurity in the school systems. The children should not have to worry about where they are going to sleep that night, or where their next meal is coming from, they should just be allowed to be kids!
Bonus Question: What do you love about living in the Kennebec Valley?
Katelyn: I absolutely love living in the Kennebec Valley because it really feels like one big family. We all know one another one way or another. J We either are literally related to, know someone related to, went to school with, used to work with, etc. We can always find the connection, the familiar. More than that, we all understand the idea of helping your neighbor on a deeper level. We not only lend a hand when asked but most actually seek out those that might need some assistance. We know that we are one bad circumstance from being in someone else’s shoes. We offer what we can while passing no judgment and maintaining all pride. I always remind my children how very fortunate we are to live in such a special place.
Kristin: I love living in the Kennebec Valley because you really get the best of all worlds. You have the tight-knit community feel, while still having quick access to beaches, shopping, restaurants, and everything else you need!
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