Oklahoma native and volunteer extraordinaire Lisa Brumley has been a central Arkansas resident since 1992. She joined Arvest Private Banking as vice president, senior private banker in 2014, and it was there she first became involved with United Way via an employee contribution program.
Over the years, her involvement gradually increased, and now, as a board member for the local Heart of Arkansas United Way branch, Brumley finds herself head of the steering committee for the organization’s new Women United initiative.
Of all the good causes out there, what drew you to United Way?
What I like best about United Way is the partnerships they form with local agencies to address problems that no one agency can solve alone. United Way works alongside many partners to fight for the education, financial stability and health of every person in our community. You are right, there are many good causes out there, but United Way circles several of the biggest problems and invites others to join in, which is what makes them unique.
What was the inspiration for the Women United initiative and what are its goals?
Women United is a new initiative to central Arkansas, but there are more than 165 Women United groups in six countries with more than 70,000 members. Collectively, since 2002, these women have raised more than $1.5 billion to invest back into their local communities. We want to be a part of this movement. We have a vision to build this same powerful group of leaders in our community. We want to provide opportunities for women who currently invest as well as new investors to do more, to share their time and talents, to connect and champion, to network and just plain work for a better community for all of our citizens.
What is the value of women uniting behind a worthy cause?
A galvanized, passionate group of women working together on any chosen society issue can’t help but create impact. I know from personal experience that when committed women circle a challenge, things get done. Our Women United group will be choosing the challenge we want to tackle together. From just the women I’ve talked to already, I know that we are excited, not only to create this new group, but to create a powerful wave of positive change for our United Way and this community.
What do you find rewarding about working with United Way?
I think any time you pour time, energy and financial resources into a project and you see clear return on your investment you feel rewarded. With the Heart of Arkansas United Way, your return is that the kids in our community have more opportunities for a strong education foundation through the programs we support. Likewise, families are more financially stable, self-sufficient and healthier because of the investments United Way has made in meaningful solutions. My passion has grown with my involvement because I’ve seen lives changed.
Why is United Way's work important?
Heart of Arkansas has recently realigned its priorities for funding into three key areas: We are focusing specifically on education, financial stability and health for every person in our community. These three areas are fundamental and interconnected to build a strong foundation for success. Our United Way enters into partnerships with some of the best organizations in our region that are working in these vital areas, too. Heart of Arkansas United Way seeks partnerships that create lasting, positive change when dealing with some of the most pressing needs in our communities.
Do you have a favorite success story from your involvement with the organization?
This year, for the first time, I served on the Heart of Arkansas United Way Community Investment Committee. I was on the sub-committee that reviews the grant requests for financial stability programs. I had the unique opportunity to go on site visits to see these programs in action and often saw the clients that were receiving services. I was humbled by how the programs asked for such modest amounts of money to do the tremendous work they do. The dedication of the staff struck me at every visit. To see the passion they have for the hard work they do and the care and respect they give to their clients was amazing. I walked away from each visit knowing that in a small way (through both my personal gift and my volunteerism), that I was helping make that work a reality.