ABOVE: Volunteers for the United Way of Williamson County pack Thanksgiving dinner supplies in cars and trucks for delivery during their Full Tummies, Warm Hearts drive this past Thanksgiving week. // FILE
United Ways of Metropolitan Nashville and Williamson County are exploring opportunities — including a potential merger — to come together and better serve the community.
The Boards of Trustees for both organizations have voted to convene during the coming months and discuss how the two organizations could potentially combine to increase fundraising and enhance programs that will serve the growing needs of the community.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the two largest United Ways serving Middle Tennessee to share expertise, leverage strengths and increase fundraising,” said Jim Schmitz, Chair of the Board of Trustees for United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. “This is about evolving our business model, with a focus on growth and long-term
United Way is a nonprofit that serves as an “umbrella” organization that raises money for community health and social services nonprofits. United Way of Metropolitan Nashville raised $15,482,553 last year, and United Way of Williamson County took in $4,504,667. Most of the money comes from individuals and corporate partners. Special initiatives, such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, is grant funded, in that case by grants from the Internal Revenue Service and Fifth Third Bank.
“Our main goal is to make sure we serve our donors, our partner agencies, and the people they serve,” United Way of Williamson County Vice President Cheryl Stewart said.
Stewart noted that the work-live patterns cross the county line, with more than 28,000 Williamson Countians commuting into Davidson County and nearly 27,000 Davidson residents working in Williamson.
“Lots of people already think of us as one,” she said.
According to Board Chair for United Way of Williamson County Kelly Roy Meyers, this is “a chance for two strong organizations with excellent leadership to work together and create even more meaningful, lasting change for our region. We see this as a really exciting, positive opportunity for Williamson County and the greater Nashville area.”
Darren Gottschalk, VP and General Manager of Enterprise Holdings, added “We fully support the collaborative conversations of United Way of Williamson County and United Way of Metropolitan Nashville that are geared toward becoming one stronger United Way. We believe in the importance of giving back and supporting our
communities. This will further enhance our partnership with United Way.”
The two Boards will consult with leadership from the two organizations as well as key community members to discuss the terms and conditions for a potential merger, with an eye on July 1, 2019 as the effective date for any changes. Stewart said the structure of the board or boards and the leadership will be part of those discussions.
United Way of Metropolitan Nashville currently serves Davidson and Cheatham counties and will also serve Robertson County beginning January 1.