By: Juli Metzger—
Muncie, IN—Jeff Lang remembers sitting in the audience at Cornerstone Center for the Arts for last year’s wrap-up rally of the 2017 fundraising campaign for United Way of Delaware County.
Casey Stanley, known for the production value he brings to any stage, used a drum roll to announce the campaign had exceeded the goal but not his expectations. Lang remembers leaning to his wife, Beth, and saying “boy, I wouldn’t want to follow that guy.”
But life has a way of putting you where you need to be when you’re needed most.
Lang, a longtime area community leader, is the 2018 Campaign Chair for the United Way of Delaware County. Lang stepped in after Ball State University Miller College of Business Dean Jennifer Bott, who had accepted the role last year, left for a job at the Western Michigan University.
Lang follows Stanley, who helped raise nearly $1.5 million.
“I feel there’s so much momentum that we can only build upon that,” said Lang, newly retired as Chief Financial Officer at the Ball State University Foundation.
Lang is a longtime community leader, heavily connected through his civic engagement. He is a board member and past chair of the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County; he is formerly a director of Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity and formerly director and treasurer of the Maxon Charitable Foundation. He has served as chairman of the board for the Muncie Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ivy Tech Community College, Region 6; and a former director and treasurer of the Delaware County Advancement Corporation.
The United Way may be the community’s single most important fundraising campaign, effecting more organizations and more citizens than all the others combined. Since 1925, the Delaware County community has given more than $275 million, in today’s dollars, to provide a lifeline to its neighbors in need. For families fighting to keep their heads above water – and make a better life for their children, high-quality childcare and preventative healthcare may seem like costly services far out of reach. But with help from donors and our 29 locally funded programs, these families will be provided with the resources they need to ensure rich learning environments, daily meals, and adequate healthcare for themselves and their children.
According to UWDC, nearly half of households in the county are either living in poverty or are one unplanned financial event away from it. This year’s campaign follows the momentum of campaigns before it to provide a wide variety of resources to working families. Early childhood education remains the principal goal of UWDC, which translates into future economic growth and a strong workforce.
“We made great strides last year,” Lang said, “but significant work remains ahead.”
While raising dollars, UWDC also is identifying the next generation of community philanthropists,” said Jenni Marsh, CEO of United Way of Delaware County.
“I am grateful to our community leaders using their time and talents to help us stand up and combat barriers contributing to generational poverty,” she said. “We have a plan that empowers us to Live United in working toward a prosperous future for Delaware County. To tackle something so big and important, we need our entire community’s support to help our children, and their families in need. These working families face obstacles in reaching health, education, and financial stability. They need access to additional resources—therefore we need your help.”
About United Way of Delaware County
United Way of Delaware County, Indiana engages the community to improve lives by focusing resources on education, health, and financial stability. The nonprofit fights to create lasting change in community conditions. As the sponsoring organization for the community’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, United Way works to help children read at or above grade level by the end of their third-grade year. It is during this critical time that children transition from learning how to read, into readers who learn from what they have read. United Way strategically invests in local programs that provide services that contribute to children’s success with reading and ultimately aim to end generational poverty in Delaware County. Learn more at invitedtoliveunited.org.