Blog

United Way, Dan Pallotta and the Power of Big Ideas

August 8, 2016

By JIM MULLEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, UNITED WAY OF SUMMIT COUNTY

This month, we at United Way are thrilled to be hosting author, activist and entrepreneur Dan Pallotta at our annual Knight Breakfast on August 17. Dan has worked to advance important causes – from fighting hunger to curing AIDS – ever since he was a student at Harvard. He has authored three books and numerous articles, and in 2013 he gave an excellent TED Talk – one of the most viewed of all time.

Ultimately, Dan’s message is about innovation – about how even one idea can transform the way we improve the lives of others. It’s about reimagining the way we think about how nonprofits are run, to find better, more effective ways to serve our communities.

If you’ve paid attention to what we at United Way have been talking about for the past several months, that probably sounds familiar. You’ve heard us talk about refocusing United Way’s efforts so that we can make a stronger impact on Summit County. You’ve heard us talk about leveraging every donation to maximize the change we will create in our community. But that’s only part of the story.

We want to leverage more than just donor contributions; we also want to leverage the power of ideas. And that’s very important, because advancing the greater good requires the efforts of many people working together. It requires teamwork, but it requires big, bold ideas as well.

That’s why I am lucky to be surrounded by the talented and passionate members of United Way’s volunteer board leadership and staff. Their ideas and their hard work have transformed United Way in just a short time, and already, they are having a powerful effect on our community.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Dan’s talk next week, and I hope that his insights will invigorate the already fruitful exchange that is pushing this institution and this city forward. And for the many of you who may not be able to attend, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts, your passions and your ideas with us. 

We are all lucky to be part of a community that is brimming with new ideas. Akron is a city that is both proud of its past and optimistic about its future. We are a community that recognizes the need for innovation, not only in our factories, our research labs and our schools, but also in the way we fight to improve the lives of everyone who calls this extraordinary city their home.