April 19, 2021
United Way raises money for local nonprofits doing amazing work in Whatcom County, but we don’t to it alone. We’ve got an entire community of supporters who tirelessly give, advocate and volunteer to make positive change possible.
Today we want to introduce you Natalie Boatman, a longtime donor, cheerleader, and friend of United Way.
Fun fact about Natalie: She’s never tasted bacon. Or eaten meat for that matter. Natalie runs primarily on plants, which might help explain why she’s so grounded in community.
We’ve known Natalie for a long time and can safely say she’s one of those people you just want to be around. She’ll laugh at your corny jokes (see above), jump in whenever you need help, and even offer to share her last chocolate bar. A dual Swiss/American citizen, she is always up for adventure and will drop everything to talk travel. If you’re feeling down, she’ll happily offer some pet therapy time with her adorable doggies. Always positive, always helpful, always quick with a smile… that’s Natalie in a nutshell.
When we asked Natalie to share her United Way story, of course she said yes. :)
Here’s what she had to say:
I first learned about United Way through my employer, WECU, some 13+ years ago. I was one of the many faces sitting in a United Way rally listening to the presentation and I distinctly remember thinking I was glad there was an organization like United Way in our community. I didn’t fully understand all the amazing things United Way does until I became more involved years later.
Once I really understood what United Way does and how they impact our community, I became an even bigger advocate. Now I will talk about United Way whenever there is an opportunity so that I can share with others the amazing things I have learned.
Because of United Way’s fundraising power, they are able to help so many smaller nonprofits locally who might not have the same fundraising capabilities. By doing this, United Way frees up time for their partner agencies to do what they do best, help our community strive for a better future!
I’ve always loved this about their work and make sure to point it out whenever I’m talking to someone about United Way. It’s a piece that so many people don’t realize and yet the impact is tremendous.
I give to United Way because of the work they do right here in Whatcom County. The money I donate to United Way stays right here in my community and helps the nonprofits in my back yard. By giving directly to United Way, I know that there is financial oversight to where those funds are being used and that they are addressing the most critical needs our community is facing.
I have served on numerous Community Impact Panels and seeing that process and knowing what goes into allocating funds helped solidify why I give. When I’m explaining it to people, I generally say “United Way is like a big bucket all the money goes into, and 100% of those dollars stay in Whatcom County, funneling out to partner agencies and programs based on recommendations made by community volunteers.” It’s a really unique model. Donations are raised in the community, by the community, and for the community— and community members determine how those dollars get invested in local programs.
Your donations stay local and there is community oversight to how YOUR donated dollars are spent! This process is vital and I am beyond honored to have been able to participate for about eight years. Prior to volunteering for United Way, I had no idea so many amazing nonprofits worked in our community. Not only do they work for their clients, but they work together as a network to help each person with whatever obstacles they are facing.
It’s pretty simple. Natalie is the kind of person who would give you the LIVE UNITED shirt off her back. Truth be told, she’s probably wearing another one underneath. That’s how committed and resourceful she is. Natalie has come through for us time and time again, and we love having her as part of our United Way family.
As if she doesn't make us smile enough already, Natalie recently wrote a super happy email when she found out her recent online pet purchases had resulted in $40 coming to United Way through her Amazon Smile account. Did Natalie get a cute puppy and help the community at the same time? Heck yes, she did. It's just how she rolls.