Janey Lester

Janey Lester

Giving to United Way

Earlier this fall, the United Way of Southeast Alaska launched its Annual Giving Campaign. Why is this important to know about and be involved in? Because data shows that one in three people will benefit from the United Way or a United Way partner agency in his or her lifetime. That means that someone in our families, in our circles of friends, in our workplace or even ourselves will be touched by the United Way in some form or fashion.

Giving is a personal choice in which a lot of thought goes into, as it should. We work hard for our income and want to know where we direct our giving to is reputable and can make a positive impact on someone’s life. United Way makes that easy. Since 1974 the United Way of Southeast has reached out a hand after identifying issues in the community and organizing a response. Over four decades the United Way has funded and coordinated multiple local organizations, supporting hundreds of local programs and thousands of Southeast Alaskans. Your giving has made that possible. Eighty percent of financial contributions come from the general population, people just like you.

Maybe you’ve already donated this year and if so, thank you! If you’re still on the fence, allow me to share my personal story:

The reason I have given for multiple years and will continue to always give started with the bank eight years ago in a small town in Texas. The annual campaign opened up and my management team encouraged us all to sign on and donate if we were able. I did just that, not knowing exactly what to expect, and searched “animal shelter.” Animals have always been my passion and figured I’d take a look around to see who was listed. Six thousand animal shelters resulted from my search. I narrowed that down a bit, viewed information around each organization and found one that truly stood out to me. It’s been eight years ago so I may need a fact check here, but I believe my first year donation was $1 a week. I was a newly-wed, new to my career, and living — some weeks — less than paycheck to paycheck. But $1 a week to a cause that truly spoke to my heart would never be missed from my paycheck. And that was that.

As I grew with the company so did my donation every year when our Annual Campaign was launched. Fast-forward four years, my husband and I took a vacation that landed us near the animal shelter I’d been giving to for so many years. I told him we had to stop and visit this place. The shelter was closed but as luck would have it, an employee was out walking a dog and ask if she could help me. I introduced myself and explained how, for years, I’d given through our United Way campaign and until now had never had the opportunity to visit and just wanted to see where those dollars had all gone. She lit up and said “oh my goodness Janey, yes! Let me give you a tour!” It was as if she knew me! The shelter, while small, was heartwarming to tour. She’d told me how they were able to put in new windows that year and make upgrades to the facility. As she told me about how they use the funds, there aren’t words to describe how touching it was to know, without even thinking about it every week, I was a part of these upgrades, feeding and keeping a roof over these homeless pets. While giving a dollar each week may seem daunting when bills are due and holidays are around the corner, I promise to each and every one of you, the impact that dollar has is more powerful in the hands of United Way than you could imagine.

Small adds up. That same $1 donation a week would add up to $52 a year and pay for nutritious meals for five individuals in a shelter here in Southeast Alaska. Five dollars a week would add up to $260 a year and cover the cost for two campers at scout camp or a safe environment for an individual experiencing domestic violence for an entire month. United Way offers the ability to direct your gift in the area you choose, you’re in control. You can choose from any of the 33 partner agencies or donate to any of the United Way’s three focus areas: Education, Income or Health.

Make this holiday season have a lasting impact year round with a payroll deduction you’re comfortable with or a onetime gift to United Way, a trusted organization that helps the community we all live in, work in and raise our families in.

Please call 907-463-5330 or visit www.UnitedWay SEAK.org for more information.

• Janey Lester is the Branch Manager of Wells Fargo Glacier Valley Store. She has been with Wells Fargo Bank for nearly eight years, five of those as a branch manager. Wells Fargo has partnered with United Way for years and she has been an advocate and donor during her tenure with Wells Fargo. She was an active volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Round Rock, Texas and loved the opportunity to give back and serve her community. She lived in Central Texas, the Hill Country and Austin area, for most of her life before she and her husband moved to Juneau in April.


• Janey Lester is the Branch Manager of Wells Fargo Glacier Valley Store. She has been with Wells Fargo Bank for nearly eight years, five of those as a branch manager. Wells Fargo has partnered with United Way for years and she has been an advocate and donor during her tenure with Wells Fargo. She was an active volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Round Rock, Texas and loved the opportunity to give back and serve her community. She lived in Central Texas, the Hill Country and Austin area, for most of her life before she and her husband moved to Juneau in April.


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