Impact: Meet the Campaign Chair
Steve Yatauro is the Chair of the 2017 United Way Community Campaign. He has been spending a lot of hours preparing the the Herculean fundraising effort by attending planning meetings, going on Seeing is Believing tours, and doing Days of Caring. Steve has a lot of passion for the work of United Way and its partner agencies, passion that stretches back over 25 years.
Raised in the small community of Indialantic, Florida, Steve got an early dose of community involvement from his parents. His dad, an electronics technician who worked with the space program, was on the advisory council of the Salvation Army and both parents were deeply involved in their church. Living just south of Cape Canaveral, Steve had a front row seat during the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions of the 1970s and 1980s.
“I remember vividly watching some of the early launches,” he shared during a recent appearance on IMPACT, the weekly radio show hosted on 91.1 The Bridge. “We would watch it take off from the pad from our living room. If it was a night launch, it was spectacular.”
Steve’s inaugural exposure to United Way happened on the first few days of his working life in the oil and gas industry in the Houston, Texas area. He was asked if he might be able to help on a Day of Caring project at a local agency. Not long after that, he ended up on a Seeing Is Believing tour.
“The United Way impacted me 28 years ago very profoundly,” he said. “It has been a very big part of what I do, where I live and work.”
Steve has volunteered with United Way in every community that he has worked.
“That first Day of Caring I did was my first opportunity to not only feel like I was doing something that benefited a local agency, but also to interface with some of the people who had benefited from the work of the agencies,” said Steve. “The gratitude they showed was amazing.”
On a recent Seeing Is Believing tour, Steve and a small group from Syncrude visited Canadian Mental Health Association, The Children’s Centre and the Centre of Hope.
“In each of three agencies we visited we learned so much,” he said. “Just when you think you know a lot about our agencies and what they do, you go to one of these events and you find out even more.”
This particular tour was special. The two staff members who participated arrived back to the office with moving stories of how the visits had a significant impact.
“We were all in this really phenomenal medical facility at the Centre of Hope when Amanda (Holloway, Executive Director) shared with us a story about one of the clients,” he shared. “I’ve been on many Seeing Is Believing tours in 28 years. I can honestly say that this was the first time I was moved to tears.”
The magic that happens on Seeing Is Believing tours is something that we’ve talked a lot about in my three years with United Way. We have tried different ways of replicating the impact, but nothing beats the real thing.
“If it was only possible to capture the experiences of the Seeing Is Believing tour and the impact you feel,” reflected Steve, “and somehow, with a magic wand, spread that over the community, we would not be worried about any funding or campaign goals or totals. It becomes not so much about am I going to give, but how much can I give.”
The 2017 Community Campaign is going to feature several new approaches to raising money and awareness. One of those is the Red Menu Campaign, which will involve a variety of local restaurants offering special food and drink options that include a give back to the United Way. Stu Wigle from Earl’s is the honourary chair of the initiative.
“Here’s another example of someone who went on a Seeing Is Believing tour with his team,” said Steve. “It transformed his thinking about United Way and the work of our agencies.”
Another new initiative rolling out late this summer will be the 100 Faces of United Way campaign, daily profiles of donors, volunteers, staff, clients and workplace campaign chairs. The folks who champion United Way in the workplace are extra special to Steve in his role of Campaign Chair.
“All of these individuals have full-time jobs, yet they find it in themselves to take extra time to raise awareness in various workplaces,” he said. “They all share a passion and they have a can-do attitude. They are driven by that sense of how they can be a part of helping the community.”
After over a quarter century of involvement in United Way, Steve Yatauro is more passionate about the work of meeting community needs than ever before.
“Being an engineer, I’ve always been one to be very efficient and effective with the money I give,” said Steve. “I’ve always felt that the United Way does that exceptionally well. They meet the community’s greatest needs in the most efficient and effective way. The magnifying effect is tremendous.”
The 2017 Community Campaign officially begins on September 7th and will run until November 16th.
IMPACT is a collaboration of The United Way of Fort McMurray, FuseSocial, Shaw TV Fort McMurray and 91.1 The Bridge. It is heard on Tuesdays at 10:30 am. It is rebroadcast on Shaw Cable 10.