Speaker Series: Valley of the Sun United Way

As we continue to bring in more and more nonprofit speakers, it has been wonderful to learn about these different missions and gain insights we may not have had before. Our latest speakers were Timna Guerchon and Chelsea Bowdren from the Valley of the Sun United Way.

Valley of the Sun United Way was founded in 1925 and has been working diligently to bring together donors, businesses, faith-based communities and more to improve the lives of those less fortunate in Maricopa County. While Maricopa County is an area with tremendous wealth, it is also an area of severe poverty.

Senior Engagement Manager, Timna Guerchon, explained that the core mission is to break the cycle of poverty and that means working in many different areas including education, food services, financial services, and more. Guerchon began her career in corporate America, but realized she wanted to work somewhere with a grander impact. That calling led her to United Way. Development Officer, Chelsea Bowdren, began in theater and that love for a sense of community drove her to work with nonprofits so she could help those in her own backyard.

Guercon and Bowdren explained that many of the families they work with are families of 4, making around $450 a week. For us, that fact emphasized the urgency of this problem. They pointed out that it’s one thing to donate, but that it’s also important to “go and visit your money”. By actually participating in the various events, volunteers and donors are able to see the true impact of their generosity. Luckily, Valley of the Sun United Way is constantly working on events and programs that anyone can contribute to.

One example was their recent “Stand Down” event for homeless veterans. Guercon explained that she is particularly proud of the growing number of veterans who attended that were homeless in the past, but are getting back on their feet. In terms of programs, there is an online tutoring program through Vello. Anyone is able to sign up and choose easy time slots to help a child learn to read. There are so many opportunities to do good with United Way and we are honored to be their partner.

To learn more about Valley of the Sun United Way, please visit https://www.vsuw.org/.

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