Throughout our lives, there are people who take the time to help us. Those people change the course of our lives for the better, bringing joy and love in even the darkest times.

In doing so, these amazing people leave a small piece of themselves with us; it’s these combined pieces that make us who we are.

This has certainly been true in my life—along the way I’ve had friends, family members, coaches, teachers, and coworkers who’ve helped shape the woman I am today.

In thinking of how United Way of Rhode Island has influenced the lives of so many, over such a long period, I’m reminded of a quote by George Burton Adams, former president of the American Historical Association. He wrote:

There is no such thing as being self-made. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken a word of encouragement, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.

This simple truth, along with the realization that everyone needs help sometimes, is at the foundation of everything we do.

It’s visible when our staff, volunteers, and community partners pour their hearts into helping children fall in love with reading during our annual Children’s Book Drive. It’s why United Way’s 2-1-1 in Rhode Island, our state-wide social services line, helped 200,000 Rhode Islanders last year alone.

It’s shown every time our donors use MyFundTM, our innovative philanthropy platform, to make a gift to any 501c3 in the country. And it’s celebrated when those donors direct their donations to our Community Impact Fund, where 100% of their gifts go exactly where they intended—to help Rhode Islanders.

I’m proud to lead an agency with such a long history and strong connection with communities across the state. It’s not that this close relationship allows us to leave a small piece of ourselves in each person we help, but that each person we help leaves a small piece of themselves in us.

Changing the lives of Rhode Islanders, together.

Cortney Nicolato
President and CEO,
United Way of Rhode Island