BRIDGING GAPS: The Work of a Poverty Fighter

MEET CHERYL MACKEY, THE WOMAN FIGHTING POVERTY FROM EVERY ANGLE.

“Growing up in Philadelphia I always had a sense that United Way was integral in helping communities locally. So, when I was asked to be a part of a giving campaign at my first job after grad school, it was a no-brainer. Back then, when you made your commitment, you would receive a United Way clip-on button. This showed everyone that you gave. I remember being so proud to wear my button.

Years later I was reintroduced to United Way while serving as a Program Director of Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF). UESF is a longtime Community Partner of United Way, providing housing stability to families with children enrolled in the School District of Philadelphia. Our missions aligned in the fight against poverty and the relationship between the two organizations felt like a true partnership. There was mutual respect and a dedication to ensure that as a Community Partner, we had all the resources at our disposal to provide UESF families with the support they needed to succeed.

While I cherished my time with UESF and felt incredibly proud of the work we accomplished, I was ready for a change. In 2020, United Way offered me an opportunity to take on a different role in the war on poverty. Now, as Lead in the Financial Empowerment pillar, I get the chance to learn and connect with organizations that are meeting needs in ways I have not thought of. I get to build community between agencies that may otherwise not have worked together, bridging gaps in the network of support. And together, we are investing in solutions for housing stability, living wage, asset building, and financial literacy so everyone has the chance to thrive.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know about United Way. But after years of working alongside, and now within the organization, I have a whole new appreciation for the work being done here. I know when I work alone, I can be productive and make a difference. But when I add one person, my impact does not just double – it increases exponentially. Imagine what happens when we all work together, there is power in unity.”

 


Follow along with our year-long #StrongerTogetherSeries as we feature insights and personal stories of the very people and bodies of work that have made us 100-years strong.

Join Us